The idea of forming a Hot Stove League in Leland belongs to long-time educator and athletic supporter, Nelson Best. "This is something I had thought about for several years before I ran it by the right people who share the same passion for baseball as I do," Best said. "My only regret is that we didn't begin earlier."
Playing and coaching sports most of his life, Best wanted to do something to give back to the kids and the community of Leland. He knew that Leland was a hot bed for baseball, and was the ideal place to fulfill his dream.
Best was born and raised in Grantham, North Carolina. He played baseball at Louisburg College before transferring to East Carolina where he played until an automobile accident prematurely ended his college career. After he recovered, he played semi-pro baseball until he was 38 years old. Best then coached high school baseball and basketball for 15 years, moving between Leland High School, Greenville Rose and other parts of the state.
In 1969 he became the principal at Leland High School, where he remained until the schools consolidated. He then became the principal at North Brunswick for seven years, until he was appointed the first Athletic Director for Brunswick County. Best remained in this position for 15 years until his retirement.