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CHS baseball practice infield a memorial to Garrett Dabbs

Posted: April 10, 2017 2:41 p.m.
Updated: April 11, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

PAT AND JAY DABBS display the plaque for the Garrett Dabbs Practice Field, known as “The Garrett,” after their late son, former Camden High School (CHS) baseball standout, Garrett Dabbs. CHS Head Baseball Coach Denny Beckley (far left) made the presentation during last month’s Dogfest. Other members of the Dabbs family joining in for the ceremony were Garrett Dabbs’ nephews, Owen Dabbs and Ryan Dabbs, along with their parents, Stephanie Dabbs and her husband and Garrett’s brother, Chadd; outgoing CHS head football coach and athletic director Jimmy Neal; and incoming CHS coach and AD, Brian Rimpf.

For Garrett Dabbs, there was no such thing as a bad day at the ballpark; it was just a matter of some being better than others.

For two years, Dabbs was among those at the center of Camden High’s 1988 and 1989 AAA state baseball championship teams as the Bulldogs’ starting catcher.

In 1991, while playing a game of pick-up basketball at Francis Marion University, Dabbs suffered a fatal heart attack. His passing sent shock waves throughout the Kershaw County baseball and, community, in general, and his funeral drew a crowd of hundreds of mourners which spilled outside the church’s vestibule. 

Dabbs’ enthusiasm for the game he loved was infectious and he soon became one of the leaders for head coach Dennis Reeder’s back-to-back state championship teams. As a senior in 1989, Dabbs was voted as the team’s most valuable player.

In the summer months, Dabbs was also a member of the Kershaw County Post 17 American Legion squad. In 1989, he helped the Clyde Wade-coached squad into the second round of the state tournament before the locals lost to Sumter.

During Dabbs’ playing career, Camden High and Post 17 played their games at the old American Legion Park which was located beside Zemp Stadium. He never played a game on American Legion Park in Camden, which is now home to the Bulldogs and the 17ers but those current and future players who will play there will now get their chance to try and become the player and person which Dabbs was.  

At Camden High’s Dogfest, held on March 25, an on-field ceremony was held dedicating the new practice infield located a few steps from the game field.

On that day, the Garrett Dabbs Practice Field, now called “The Garrett”, was christened. The site was made possible thanks to a generous donation from the Dabbs family.

A plaque, which bears a likeness of Dabbs, will be permanently displayed on the outside wall of the concession stand. The plaque reads, “There is only one goal in life. That is to be the BEST! What else is there? Having a goal is called Dognacity.”

The words are those written by Garrett Dabbs while at Camden High and “Dognacity” is underline and is in Dabbs’ handwriting as are his initial and baseball uniform number 8.

Dabbs’ parents, Pat and Jay Dabbs of Camden, were presented with a copy of the plaque as members of the Dabbs family, including Garrett Dabbs’ nephew Owen, a catcher for the Bulldogs’ B team who wears number 8, joined in as part of the special ceremony.

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