LAPORTE — He racked up 144 wins during his long major league career that included pitching in an All-Star game and winning a World Series ring.

He also played two seasons in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons and starred on the hardwood at the University of Notre Dame before dedicating himself strictly to baseball.

Ron Reed, who now lives outside Atlanta, is coming back to LaPorte as a guest speaker for an Oct. 13 luncheon hosted by the Greater LaPorte Chamber of Commerce.

''He was thrilled with the idea,'' said Todd McWhirter, a member of the chamber who came up with the idea and contacted Reed himself.

''He was just one of the nicest guys you could ever talk to,'' said McWhirter.

McWhirter had never spoken to Reed previously but was well aware of his local legend status while growing up in this diehard baseball community with eight high school baseball state championships under its belt.

Reed was a 6-foot-6 junior when Ken Schreiber took over the program in 1960.

Schreiber retired in 1997 with 1,010 wins, still the most for any Indiana high school baseball coach.

He called Reed a "perfect gentleman" and an "outstanding personality" who played shortstop for Schreiber when he wasn't on the mound.

Schreiber said he would have likely picked up one or two more state titles had there been a tournament when Reed was playing for him.

Indiana didn't have a baseball tournament in high school baseball until 1967, which Schreiber's team won.

"People ask often did you make Ron Reed or did Ron Reed make you. He was just a force at that time," he said.

Schreiber, now 82, said he often got together with Reed when he came back home after graduating but it's been years since both of them have last spoken.

Tickets for the Oct. 31 luncheon at Best Western, 444 Pine Lake Ave., are $31 apiece. Registration begins at 11 a.m.

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