A group of sports enthusiasts in Tacoma, including Mayor Marilyn Strickland, is urging Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to approve a request to name a city street in honor of the late broadcaster Clay Huntington, who passed away on June 1 at the age of 89. The proposal calls for designating a section of South Cheyenne Street from the corner of South 19th Street near the Heidelberg Davis Complex to the entrance of Cheney Stadium. If approved by the Landmarks Commission, the request would then be forwarded to Tacoma City Council for final consideration.
Huntington was born in 1922 and began his broadcasting career in Tacoma in 1941. He covered local sports and went on to own four stations carrying the KLAY call letters, according to KLAY’s Web site. The current station, KLAY-1180 AM, has operated in Tacoma for 20 years and broadcasts Tacoma Rainiers baseball games. Huntington was a sports writer for the Tacoma Times, a founder of the Tacoma Athletic Commission, and helped establish the Washington State Sports Hall of Fame and the Tacoma-Pierce County Sports Hall of Fame. In 1957, he created “Friends of Kids Baseball” to build what would become the Heidelberg Park sports complex for youth baseball. In 1960, he partnered with Ben B. Cheney to build a new stadium for the Tacoma Giants professional baseball team. Today, the stadium is home to the Tacoma Rainiers Triple-A baseball team.
On July 5, Doug McArthur and Tony Anderson wrote a letter to Mayor Marilyn Strickland on behalf of the Tacoma Athletic Commission. “Since there are no homes whatsoever on that stretch of Cheyenne it would seem to us that it would not create any opposition whatsoever and it certainly would be a most appropriate location to honor Huntington for his remarkable dedication to both amateur and professional baseball,” wrote McArthur and Anderson. “How appropriate if the road leading into both facilities would become Clay Huntington Way! We trust that you would share our enthusiasm and rightfully recognize a man who truly cared for the very people for whom those two sports venues exist.”
On Oct. 24, Mayor Strickland wrote a letter to the Landmarks Commission supporting the request. “His first love was baseball and his enthusiasm for the game led to two of the most significant projects in the city’s history near South 19th and Tyler,” wrote Strickland. “There is no question that Heidelberg would never have been a facility for youth and adult amateur teams if not for Huntington’s support and there is no arguing his role in returning professional baseball to our City.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission is scheduled to be briefed on the plan during its meeting on Weds., Dec. 14. at 5 p.m. in the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St., Room 248.