FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS — Former Fairview Heights Post 978 American Legion baseball player Cody Schanuel and longtime O'Fallon American Legion manager Matt Seipp were honored Tuesday in a ceremonies before the Belleville-Fairview Heights game at Moody Park.
Schanuel battled cancer and died at age 20 on New Year's Eve. He played in the Fairview Heights Legion program for five years, helping win a Junior Legion state championship in 2009 and the Senior Legion team win the 2010 Fifth Division title.
Schanuel will eventually be honored with a plaque at the entrance to the home dugout at the field. The plaque design was unveiled by parents Scott and Lynette Schanuel on the field before the game.
Fairview Heights manager Craig Steiner also announced that Cody Schanuel will be the inaugural member of the new Post 978 Legion Baseball Hall of Fame.
"Cody would be so humbled by the attention tonight, but also deeply appreciative of all the recognition and kind words from all of his second family in baseball," Scott Schanuel said.
Schanuel's family was joined on the field by many of his former Legion and high school teammates. Former teammate Alex Benjamin and Fairview Heights Legion coach Jeff Birk both talked about how much the former catcher meant to the many teams he played on.
"He was an outstanding catcher, but was willing to pitch, play the infield or fill in the outfield, do whatever he could to fill in for the team," Birk said. "He loved playing baseball and being with his friends."
Seipp died after injuries sustained in an accident last month. The O'Fallon High teacher and owner of Seipp Lawn Care in O'Fallon was 33.
He is survived by his wife, Jodie, and an infant son, Drew. Seipp was honored with a moment of silence during pregame ceremonies.
Seipp was the O'Fallon Senior Legion manager for several years and the program was among the most successful in District 22. He also was an assistant coach in the O'Fallon High baseball program from 2003-05 and also played for the Panthers as well as in college at Illinois State University.