James Hoyt Wilhelm was one of 11 children born to tenant farmers in Huntersville and began his baseball career in the Lake Norman area. Wilhelm served in the US Army during World War II and was awarded the Purple Heart. Nicknamed “Old Sarge” because of his military service, Wilhelm played his professional career with shrapnel in his back as a result of battle injuries. In 1985, he became the first relief pitcher elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Town’s Parks and Recreation Department dedicated a statue to him in 2008, which can be seen in the Huntersville Athletic Park.