Reds recognize “‘Bev’ and ‘Bumps’ Hoffman Day”June 26, 2021
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
JASPER — Just a few days after welcoming the Jasper Wildcats back home after their state title, Ruxer Field played host to another special celebration for the Jasper Reds (5-0) on Saturday afternoon. The Reds recognized “‘Bev and ‘Bumps’ Hoffman Day” during their doubleheader against the Indianapolis Heat.
The event honored Beverly and Maurice “Bumps” Hoffman, the aunt and uncle of Reds manager Bill Alles and Reds business manager Bob Alles. Beverly, who served as the first president for Psi Iota Xi Sorority in Jasper, assumed several roles across various political scenes and died in January. “Bumps” played for the Reds in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s.
Bill and Bob commemorated Beverly’s celebration of life on Friday at KlubHaus 61 in Jasper. In lieu of flowers, all monetary donations went to the Reds.
Jane Burgess and Pat Heath, daughters of Beverly and Bumps, joined the Reds during their memorable day.
“It’s really a lot of fun,” Burgess said. “It brings back so many memories. When I grew up, there was no wall there. There was no dugout. There was a fence with a long, narrow bench for players to sit on. My dad was a really great hitter. I would stick my hand in, touch his shoulder and say, ‘Great hit.’”
Heath traveled to Jasper from Weatherford, Texas, while Burgess came from Hoover, Alabama. Burgess enjoyed the chance to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before both teams took the field.
“I wish I would have done a little better,” Burgess said with a laugh. “It was great fun.”
While he played first base for the Reds, Bumps was known to crush powerful home runs into the pool past right field. His long drives captivated fans far and wide.
“He loved the game,” Bob said. “He talked a lot about hitting. I wish I would have talked to him more, looking back on it.”
Bumps’ gravestone is located within St. Joseph Cemetery, just beyond the third-base line at Ruxer. He died in 1978, but his legacy lives on through the Reds.
“He was a very special man,” Bill said. “He was a heck of a baseball player.”
Although Bumps was known for his bat’s mighty pop, Bill also highlighted his slick defensive prowess.
“He was a good defensive first baseman, too,” Bill said. “He could find his way around the base. He was a very good all-around player.”
Bumps would have been proud of Jasper’s formidable offense on Saturday. The Reds ripped the ball around the diamond during their 12-0 run-rule in Game 1 and 13-8 victory in Game 2.
As she peered out past left field in between games, Burgess regaled fond memories of her memorable weekends at the ballpark.
“Being here is like being home,” she said.
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