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Hall County strikes out. Phil Niekro’s name misspelled at Flowery Branch park
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New signs at Alberta Banks Park misspelled the name of Atlanta Braves pitching legend Phil Niekro. Hall County officials say the sign has been fixed and Niekro's name is now spelled correctly. - photo by Conner Evans

Hall County dropped the ball.

A contractor for the county misspelled the name of Atlanta Braves legend and Hall-of-Famer Phil Niekro while installing new signs at Alberta Banks Park.

Brian Stewart, a spokesperson for the county, said a team from Miller EG Design of Acworth had corrected the mistake Monday afternoon. County officials were notified of the misspelling over the weekend, Stewart said. 

“We’ve been very happy with them throughout this signage process,” he said. “It just sounds like it was an honest mistake within the construction of the sign.”

The county is installing new signs at parks and other government buildings across the county, including Alberta Banks Park, home to the Phil Niekro Field of Dreams. Workers finished installing the new signs late last week, and they made an error by writing “Neikro” on two signs. 

Flowery Branch residents David and Donna Watkins walk in Alberta Banks Park every day, they said, and they balked when they saw the new signs over the weekend. But they weren’t sure of the mistake until it was posted on the Flowery Branch Community Facebook page. 

“We just thought, these are really nice,” David Watkins said. “We liked the way they beautified everything up. … But I kept thinking, ‘There’s something wrong about it. Well, does Phil spell his name like that?’” 

The Phil Niekro Field of Dreams was completed in 2008, containing a youth-sized ball field and a playground accessible to children with disabilities. The knuckleballer Niekro was one of the original contributors to the project and lived in Flowery Branch for many years before he died in 2020 at 81. 

Niekro pitched for the Braves from 1964-1983, starting when the franchise was still in Milwaukee. He won 316 games during his 24-year career and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997. 

The signs are part of a recently approved $1 million project the Hall County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved on March 24. The new signs are funded through SPLOST funds, the county’s capital project fund and the landfill budget. SPLOST is a special purpose local option sales tax, most recently approved by voters in a 2019 referendum.