In recognition of his many years of service to the Downtown Optimist Club of Meridian and in particular for his dedicated work as our club secretary and treasurer, the DTOC recently awarded Don McNair a plaque as a small token of our appreciation. President Eddy Chaney presented the award to Don at our regular Tuesday Meeting on December 13th, 2011. Don plans to retire from an active role in the DTOC, but has graciously offered to assist with any of our events and even plans to join us from time to time for lunch.
Don McNair is a Meridian native and was a local businessman with F.W. Williams and USF&G for 30 years. He joined the Optimist Club in May, 1962 and served in various roles as a baseball coach and Youth League President at Randall Field. He was awarded Optimist International Life Membership status in 1975 in recognition of his dependable support as a “Friend Of Youth”.
Later, Don became a charter member of the North Hills Optimist Club, formed to expand youth baseball at Hardin Field in North Meridian. He was a co-founder of Rookie League Baseball in Meridian and served as a coach and club President during the 1980’s.In 1999, Don returned to full time Optimist action in the Downtown Optimist Club and became Secretary/Treasurer in 2004. He served in this role until his retirement in December, 2011.
Don’s father, Donald Eric McNair (1909-1949) was a noted professional baseball player (shortstop) who was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall Of Fame in 1963. Eric McNair played with the Memphis Chicks and Knoxville Smokies from 1928 until 1929 when he joined the Philadelphia Athletics.
He played with the Athletics until 1935, played in the 1930 and 1931 World Series’ and in 1932 McNair led the American League with 47 Doubles in 1932. McNair played for the Boston Red Sox (1936-1938), the Chicago Cubs (1939-1940) and the Detroit Tigers (1941-1942).
In 1932, Eric McNair played in an All-Star exhibition game in Japan where two of his teammates were Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.