The West Salem high school baseball field received a new name honoring West Salem grad and former Major League Baseball player Damian Miller.
Damian Miller graduated from West Salem High School in 1987. He went on to play baseball at Viterbo University until he was drafted by the Minnesota Twins. After playing for 10 years in the majors, Miller finished his career as a Milwaukee Brewer. He played in an All-Star game, won a World Series and now has a baseball field named after him.
If there is someone who knows Damian Miller, it's his former coach. Chuck Ihle has managed at this field for over 25 years.
"He's just a super guy, he's a super teacher," Miller said.
Ihle coached Miller for his final two seasons at West Salem and still smiles today at the type of player Miller was.
"He was a hard worker, persevere and didn't want to have any notoriety. He just went out to do his job and worked hard for us. He set a great example for his teammates," Ihle said.
Ihle said Damian Miller Field isn't named for the former ball player, it's named for the person Miller continues to be.
"He'll set a great example for the kids to follow in this stadium too," he said.
"There (are) just two things. I want these kids to play the game with respect and play the game with a purpose," Miller said.
Miller said it's an honor and incredibly humbling to see his name on his alma mater's field.
"You can't really explain it in words. It's just a good feeling. When you look up there and see that and for the people to experience it and be apart of it because they were apart of it when I grew up here," Miller said.
"This naming the field isn't for Damian Miller, this is for all the kids that come after him and look up at the sign and say, 'Hey I can do this,'" Ihle said.
We asked Miller what his favorite memory of playing at West Salem was and he said he didn't have a favorite, but he'll never forget playing against Onalaska in a playoff game. He hit a home run to take the lead and then came in to close the game as pitcher and gave up a home run to lose the game.