Vintage Base Ball Players Honor Fallen Blue Angels Pilot Capt. Jeff Kuss

Posted at 6:37 PM, Aug 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-21 20:11:58-04

Vintage base ball players from around Middle Tennessee gathered in Franklin to honor America's favorite pastime and Captain Jeff Kuss, the fallen Blue Angels pilot.

Before baseball became the sport we know it to be today, it was spelled with two words, "base ball," and played with no mitts, no sliding, and no spitting. Plus, the ball was allowed to bounce once prior to catching a fly ball, along with many different rules from the sport we know today. 

In the pregame of the Stewart's Creek Scouts game on Sunday, the team took a moment to honor Captain Jeff Kuss, who crashed his Blue Angels jet while practicing for the Smyrna Air Show. 

The jet crashed into a field at the Sam Davis House, a field that was used by the Stewart's Creek Scouts for their vintage base ball games. 

"Where the plane crashed and skidded, it actually hit right around third base," Dylan "Tick-Tock" Platz, a player for Stewart's Creek Scouts and Smyrna native, said, adding that when the crash happened, it filled the hearts of the community with shock and sadness. "The Blue Angels mean a lot to the town of Smyrna." 

Jeff "Skeeter" Wells, another player for the Stewart's Creek Scouts, said that as of August, crews were still at the wreckage, cleaning up the crash. "The United States Navy has a cleanup crew out there, trying to mitigate all of the damage and also cleanup from the devastation." 

Wells said prior to the base ball game during the ceremony that Sunday's game wasn't about sadness or grief, but about remembering a man who served his country.

"Ever since that tragic occurrence, we cannot take the field without thinking of the sacrifice of Captain Jeff Kuss," Wells said prior to the players holding a moment of silence in Kuss' memory.

"We honor him everyday we play the game," Wells explained. "Everyday members of our military are putting their lives on the line for our country so we can have moments like this." 

The Stewart's Creek Scouts have planned to return to their home field at the Sam Davis Home next year, where they will plan to continue to honor Captain Jeff Kuss.