The Brethorst Burma Lennox Legion Post 174 baseball team is taking this season to pay tribute to the late Arlin Rops, a beloved figure in American Legion baseball. Arlin, who passed away in October 2021, was known for his unwavering passion and love for the sport. The Legion, along with Arlin’s family members, gathered on Saturday evening, June 17, prior to the Legion baseball game to honor his memory.
In attendance were Arlin’s wife Judy, sons Steve and Tom, and other family members. Unfortunately, their son Ben was unable to be present. The entire Rops family has been deeply involved in the Lennox Legion baseball scene, with all three sons having played for the team.
Arlin dedicated over 40 years of his life to the Legion. During the 1980s, he served as the Post Athletic Officer, leaving a significant impact on the organization. Arlin’s meticulous nature was evident when he presented his baseball finance report during Legion meetings. He could account for every penny spent and earned during the summer season, showcasing his dedication to the sport.
Arlin’s contributions extended beyond administrative duties. He served as the Head Groundskeeper for three State B Legion Baseball Tournaments held in Lennox in 1997, 2010, and 2019. In 1997, the State Legion required the designation of a head groundskeeper, and Arlin was the obvious choice. With his characteristic grin and enthusiasm, Arlin gladly accepted the responsibility. At the time, groundskeeping was a manual labor-intensive task, but Arlin, always ahead of his time, devised a solution. He repurposed an old garden tractor, attaching a brush from a push broom to its back. To make things even more convenient, he added a hand lift mechanism to raise the broom when needed. Arlin’s innovation and resourcefulness transformed the Lennox’s baseball park’s maintenance practices. Additionally, he always had a dedicated group of volunteers who eagerly assisted him whenever he needed help. Throughout his three-year tenure as head groundskeeper, Arlin and his team consistently delivered exceptional results.
Arlin was not just a dedicated staff member; he was a devoted fan and supporter of Legion baseball. He would often help collect entrance fees at the games, and if he wasn’t occupied with other responsibilities, he could be found seated in his lawn chair down the right field line. On some occasions, he would even park his pickup truck just outside the fence and stand on it, eagerly watching the game unfold.
To honor Arlin’s memory, the Lennox Legion baseball community has found a heartwarming way to pay tribute. All five Legion-sponsored teams are donning caps embroidered with the initials “AR.” This small but significant gesture symbolizes their respect and remembrance of Arlin. It is a testament to the lasting impact he had on the Post 174 baseball program.
The members of Lennox Legion Post 174 sincerely hope that Arlin, watching over them from above, approves of this touching tribute. His memory lives on in the hearts of the players, staff, and supporters, inspiring them to carry his legacy forward.