Rector Sports Legend, Frets, Named to HOF

Thursday, August 6, 2015
Paul Wiley Frets, member of the Rector High School Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2015.(courtesy photo)

Paul Wiley Frets is a member of the outstanding class of 2015 Rector High School Sports Hall of Fame inductees.

Frets was a standout athlete during his time spent at Rector High School, graduating in 1953. Frets made strides in basketball, baseball and track that made him a legendary athlete.

Frets lettered in basketball all three years he played hoops at RHS under the instruction of coaches Les McKeel and Rue Mack.

In his greatest basketball game, he scored 30 points against Marmaduke. It was a time in which most statistics were not recorded. He was selected for the All-County team his senior year.

Frets also stood out in his track appearances. At a district meet in Jonesboro, he won first place in the long jump with 19 feet, 11 and three-quarter inches. He also placed in the 440 and 220 relays.

Frets is best known for his accomplishments in baseball, a sport in which he continued to make headlines years after leaving RHS. In high school, he played for Rector's American Legion as a left-handed pitcher under the instruction of Lee Seay.

He lettered at Arkansas State University during the 1953-54 school year, coached by J.A. "Ike" Tomlinson. Frets was the team's leading pitcher with five wins, two losses and two saves. He had an earned run average of 1.76. During the 1954-55 season at ASU, Frets notched five wins with an earned run average of 1.93. He struck out 34 in 38 innings.

Frets signed with the Kansas City Athletics baseball club for the Class C farm team, a minor league squad based in Pocatello, Idaho. He later progressed to Mattoon, Ill. Six weeks in Frets was drafted into the Army; while in training he injured his knee and was honorably discharged.

In the summer of 1955 Paul was able to pitch and he played with Rector's Cardinals. Frets later was a member of the NEA All-Star team, the Jonesboro Sky Chiefs. In his final game with the Sky Chiefs, Frets struck out the last three batters in order with 11 pitches, winning the game.

In 1959, he led the Rector Cardinals to a state semi-pro baseball championship, pitching the entire title game against Texarkana, and winning 3-1. Three games were played that day, and Frets' pitching crushed Weiner in the first game 11-1. In the second game Frets' teammate Jess Bucy pitched against Manila, beating them 8-3. During the 11-1 game against Texarkana, the opposing team scored a run in the first inning, and Frets shut them out with for eight innings with outstanding pitching. He allowed six hits. Teammate Bucy said, "I played with Paul and I know that he was an outstanding pitcher, and I was very pleased to be playing with him."

Frets attended college at Arkansas State University, where he pursued a bachelor's degree in art education. "When I married Jerry (the former Jerry Glaub of Rector), education came to be important to me for our future," Frets said. After earning his bachelor's degree, he returned to Rector to teach elementary art and then moved to Kennett to teach high school art until 1964. After Kennett, he went back to school at the University of Missouri, where he finished his master's degree in art.

In 1960 Frets took a teaching position at Radford University in Virginia, where he taught drawing, painting and print making. While at Redford he received a full Mellon Fellowship to take classes at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. The university gave Frets a leave of absence to pursue a doctorate, which he completed before returning to Radford.

He retired in 1996 and has enjoyed painting, sailing and working in the yard. He spends time showing his art at exhibits across the nation in places such as Florida, North Carolina and Washington D.C. Most recently he was a part of the "Then and Now" abstract art exhibit at the Flint Institute of Arts in Michigan.

Rector locals can enjoy some of Frets' art by visiting the Rector Public Library today.

Frets is joined by Joe Perry Pruett, the 1966 basketball team and the late Owen "Bucket" Mosley in the induction class of 2015. The induction ceremony will be part of the annual Hall of Fame program at the Rector High School gym. For more information, persons may contact Owen Mosley at (870) 935-4039.

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