On June 26, I received the Ray Donahoe Award for many years of distinguished devotion to the children of Cedar Grove Baseball. I am truly grateful for being chosen for an award that remembers such a wonderful person.
It was twenty-plus years ago that Ray, Al Totten, and Mike Walsh handed me a bag of equipment, a dozen baseballs and a scorebook and announced that I was the new coach of the Astros. Well, the years have passed and I like to reflect back on some of my favorite moments. Drafting Joe Glynn just because he was my paper boy and then having him come back to coach the team when his playing days were complete. Joe had one of the best offensive games in a championship match. He hit two bases loaded triples, but it was his steal of home that has been one of my favorite moments on the field. I was in my third year of coaching and still did not have signs to communicate my ideas. Heck I just finally learned how to keep the scorebook. So I was using vocal signs. This time I called over Michael Breen and told him to have Joe steal home. Michael ran from first base where I was coaching, around the back-stop and over to third base to tell Joe to steal home. Joe looked over and I nodded yes. Joe took off with the pitch and slid safely in to home. It was the only correct call my brother Tiger ever made as an umpire in his career at Cedar Grove Baseball. We lost that game 8 to 7 and Joe was responsible for all 7 runs.
Then there was the best defensive play I had ever seen in a championship game and it was made by Charlie Connors. Charlie was playing third and saw the batter squaring to bunt. He charged in to home plate and got there so quickly that he could of taken the bat and laid down the bunt himself. His aggressive play resulted in the ball coming of the bat and into his glove. He then fired to first to complete a double play.
Mike Galvin pitched the best game ever in a championship series. Michael was nervous because he could not get to sleep the night before. I told him this is good news he will not be over-throwing the baseball when he pitches. Mike went on to throw a no hitter and win the championship.
My favorite player for the longest time was Molly Dunford. But she has been replaced in recent years by Johno Dalton. I witnessed Johno extend the longest homerun consecutive game hitting streak over the last five years to watch Johno continue his amazing feat.
I cannot say enough to all who have taken the time to participate as players and coaches over the years, but I would like to thank two gentlemen who have made Cedar Grove baseball happen the last decade and a half: Tom Leahy and Bill Clougher. These two men deserve a hand for their efforts and could use a few more helping hands too. They keep the league and its traditions of Collins day, twelve year-old trip, and Ray Donahoe’s memories going. Thank you gentlemen for your hard work and dedication.