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Last year, a group in Warner Robins decided they wanted to honor some of their own.

They put together a city Hall of Fame and inducted people they felt made a lasting mark on the city's history.

They're doing it again Saturday night. This time they will award six people with the accolade.

One of them is Claude Lewis.

Most people who walk into Houston County State Court don't know they're encountering a legend.

When they see Lewis, they see a bailiff. He's an 87-year-old gentleman, often providing directions to the tax collector and checking handbags for contraband.

Visitors to the court don't know Lewis achieved international recognition as the founding father of t-ball.

Lewis said, "If I had patented it, I'd have owned the courthouse."

He conjured up the idea in 1958. That was the year he was hired on as Warner Robins Recreation Director.

A few moms told him they wanted their younger kids, 5 and 6 year olds, to play a sport.

His idea, he said, was, "Let 'em hit off a tee and use a tennis ball, and they wont get hurt."

The game was a hit. First locally, then nationally, then around the globe.

Lewis said, "I got a letter from Germany and Japan and from Israel."

He set-up t-ball programs in those countries.

Lewis' fame once earned him an invitation for a game on the White House lawn.

He said, "I threw out the first pitch."

Still, his favorite memories took place during those 30 years as head of the city's recreation department. That's why this Hall of Fame induction means so much.

Lewis said, "I feel being honored by my peers here in Warner Robins is better than being honored anywhere in the world."

He'll be celebrated by the children, most of them with grandchildren now, who he taught to play sports.

Just when he thinks everyone else forgot his contribution, some unexpected remembers.

Friday, while 13WMAZ was visiting Lewis for this story, a lady came in asking for Lewis' autograph.

She said, "I was told you invented t-ball." Lewis replied, "Yes ma'am. I did."

The lady wanted the autograph for her 13-year-old grandson, Addison, who she said loves all things related to sports.

Lewis was obliged to sign the piece of paper. He told the woman, "You tell him I said I wish him good luck, forever."

The five other Hall of Fame inductees for 2013 are Reverend Willie Johnson, Charles Singleton, C.B. "Boss" Watson, William Wisse and Eddie Wiggins.

The ceremony and banquet are Saturday night, starting at 6:30 p.m., at the Museum of Aviation.

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