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NBC Feature: Dian Overaker

While Hap Dumont may have dreamt up the National Baseball Congress and the idea of a national tournament, one Wichita woman is credited in part with keeping the tournament going for so many years. 

Dian Overaker worked as an administrator for the tournament, hired by Dumont himself after the two, as well as Dumont’s wife, Ann, and Overaker’s husband, Bob, became close friends. 

“She had a personal relationship with the Dumonts, and she started working down there, and I think it just started as a part-time job and it turned into a full-time job, and she ended up staying there for 30 years,” Overaker’s son, Kent, said. 

Overaker started working with the NBC World Series in 1970, just one year later Dumont passed away, leaving a lot of uncertainty around the tournament. Many credit Overaker for keeping the tournament alive, through her personal relationships with affiliated teams, her resiliency and her willingness to share her opinion.  

“What I thought was a real unique thing that [Dian] did, and maybe a real important part of continuing the tournament, it wasn’t just a business thing, where you come here and we make money off your team, she had a personal relationship with these men and women,” Kent said. “She cared about people, it was just part of her.” 

During the tournament Overaker would be in her office at the stadium from early morning until midnight or later, on standby, just in case. 

“A lot of times she wouldn’t go out and watch any ballgames, she was in the office until midnight doing stuff. She was just real dedicated,” Kent said. “I spent a lot of time down there, and believe me, a lot of good memories.” 

Overaker was drawn to baseball long before she met the Dumonts. Overaker earned a degree in journalism from the University of Indiana, and covered sports for the University’s newspaper, where she became the first female sports editor in the state. It’s how she crossed paths with Bob, as he was a sportswriter for the South Bend Tribune a few hours away – home of rivals Notre Dame. The two went back and forth over the AP wire about the respective universities until Bob took the trip to Bloomington, and as Kent puts it, the rest is history. Bob eventually became a sportswriter and eventual sports editor of the then Eagle and Beacon newspaper, bringing the Overakers to Wichita. 

“It was a big thrill,” Overaker said in a Wichita Eagle piece from 2000, the year she was inducted into the NBC World Series Hall of Fame, “Baseball is a man’s world. It felt like I belonged.”

February is National Girls & Women in Sports Month, and this month we are featuring a few of the women who have made an impact on the NBC World Series. Overaker is one of three women who has been inducted into the NBC World Series Hall of Fame, along with Melinda Rich (2007) and Betty Abbott (2009).

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