Hall of Fame Ceremony 20 January 2001

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01/20/2001 3:05 PM -
Hall of Fame Ceremony
20 January 2001
“A dream come true”: Cape League Enshrines the Class of 2000
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Photo by S.Walsh 
Pride and tradition -- CCBL Class of 2001 Inductees (from left) included Merrill "Red" Wilson, Jeff Reardon, Bill Enos, Lennie Merullo, Dick Bresciani, Arnold Mycock and  Eddie Lyons.
Also pictured are Bernie Kilroy and John Wylde.

    CHATHAM --- For the better part of his young life, Ed Lyons toured North America as a minor league pitcher, his wife and children in tow wherever his mound skills were needed. In the twilight of his life, he spent his best years in the game managing the Wareham Gatemen, Hyannis Mets, Falmouth Commodores and the Chatham A’s, leading him to become the winningest skipper in Cape League history until Wareham’s Don Reed broke the record in 1999.
    But Saturday (Jan. 20) at the Chatham Bars Inn, Lyons called the day one of the premier moments in his life. As he gave his acceptance speech during the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame Inaugural Induction Ceremony, it became immediately clear as to why.
   “This is my Cooperstown,” Lyons said, his voice quavering with emotion. “This is the highlight of my baseball career.”
    Lyons was one of 12 inductees enshrined Saturday in the newly established but long-planned Cape League Hall of Fame. 

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Longtime UMass-Amherst baseball coach Dick Bergquist (left) congratulates Boston Red Sox Vice President of Public Affairs Dick Bresiciani upon Bresciani's induction into the CCBL Hall of Fame.

Joining the erstwhile Cape skipper was Boston Red Sox Vice President of Public Affairs Dick Bresciani, longtime Major League Baseball scout Bill Enos, former Baltimore Oriole southpaw Mike Flanagan, former Chicago Cubs shortstop (1941-1947) Lennie Merullo, the late New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson, Cotuit Kettleers longtime GM Arnold Mycock, former Major League relief ace Jeff Reardon, former Cape League umpire and commissioner Danny Silva, Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas, Anaheim Angels’ slugger Mo Vaughn and longtime Cape League player and manager Red Wilson.

    On hand to accept their inductee plaques were Bresciani, Enos, Flanagan, Merullo, Mycock, Reardon and Wilson. Thomas and Vaughn could not attend in person. Major League Baseball liaison Jeff Pfeiffer accepted Munson’s plaque on behalf of the Munson family and the New York Yankees. 

Former Cape League player and Mass. Maritime Academy Athletic Director Bob Corradi accepted Silva’s plaque, while Wareham Gatemen President and General Manager John Wylde accepted on behalf of Vaughn. In a pre-recorded, videotaped acceptance speech, Vaughn credited Wylde and the late John Claffey with giving him the opportunity to mov forward to a brilliant Major League career. Longtime Cape League player and manager Tom Yankus and Chicago White Sox scout John Tumminia accepted Thomas’ plaque.

   But few who spoke during the induction ceremony better summarized the day’s events than Cape League Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Paul Galop. “This is an historic day for the Cape Cod Baseball League,” Galop said, but was quick to credit Cape League Commissioner Bob Stead as “the one driving force” behind the hall of fame’s establishment over the past two years.
 

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Photo by S.Walsh 
Master of ceremonies Scott Wahle strikes a pensive mood during his introductions at the Inaugural CCBL Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony.

    His voice breaking with emotion, Stead dubbed the day “a dream come true,”  before giving way to master of ceremonies and New England TV personality Scott Wahle. From there, Wahle introduced the inductee presenters, successfully interspersing his commentary with baseball anecdotes.

     Longtime Umass-Amherst head baseball coach Dick Berquist introduced the first inductee, Dick Bresciani, a Hopedale native who got his first taste of public relations as an intern with the sports information department at Umass. Spending his summers as a Cape League official scorekeeper, statistician and CCBL’s first Public Relations Director, Bresciani quickly rose to become the youngest assistant sports information director ever at Umass and in 1972 was hired by the Boston Red Sox, eventually becoming the team’s Vice President of Public Affairs.

     Cape League Vice President Jim Higgins introduced the next inductee, former Cape League player and longtime Major League Baseball scout Bill Enos. Enos first played for the Orleans club in 1936 before serving with the U.S. Navy in World War II. In 1949 he was hired by Branch Rickey as a scout for the St. Louis Browns, thus embarking on a baseball career that spanned more than six decades, concluding as a scout for the Boston Red Sox. Enos srved as the first-ever scouting liaison for the Cape League to Major League Baseball.
 

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Photo by S.Walsh 
Falmouth Commodore general manager Chuck Sturtevant congratulates CCBL Hall of Fame inductee Mike Flanagan.

    Falmouth Commodore General Manager Chuck Sturtevant introduced the next inductee, 18-year Baltimore Oriole hurler and 1979 Cy Young Award winner Mike Flanagan. Flanagan, who pitched and played outfield for Bill Livesey’s first place Commodores, remembered his Cape League days with fondness and said while driving over the Bourne Bridge the memories of his summer on the Cape came flooding back to him. “He (Livesy) prepared me for anything Earl Weaver could hand out,” Flanagan said. “I’ll never forget my summer in the Cape Cod League.” Flanagan went 7-1 with a 2.18 ERA for the 1972 Commodores and played outfield in 28 games, batting .286 with seven home runs.

    Appropriately, longtime Chatham A’s manager John Schiffner introduced the next inductee, Ed Lyons, as Lyons spent his last summer on the Cape managing the A’s to the 1982 CCBL Championship. Schiffner also took the opportunity to announce that the A’s planned to retire Lyon’s old uniform number – 29 – during an alumni weekend in Chatham in July. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Lyons signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds in 1947, toiling for 18

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Photo by Sean Walsh
New guard, old guard -- Chatham A's mnager John Schiffner shares a laugh with CCBL Hall of Fame inductee Ed Lyons, former manager of the A's, Hyannis Mets, Falmouth Commodores and Wareham Gatemen.
 

years across the United States and Canada. Eventually, Lyons was given the nod to manage in the Cape League, quickly garnering a reputation as a “players’ manager” with stints as the skipper of Hyannis, Falmouth, Wareham and ultimately, Chatham. His teams finished in first place five teams in the CCBL, but, ironically, it was not until his 20-20 1982 Chatham club made the playoffs that Lyons got a taste of the CCBL title, sweeping Wareham and Hyannis for the trophy. With his voice quavering, Lyons said his induction was “my Cooperstown, the highlights of my baseball career.”

   Former Cape League player Lennie Merullo Jr. and his son, former Chicago White Sox back-up catcher Matt Merullo, jointly introduced inductee Lennie Merullo, who first played for the Barnstable Townies in the old Cape League in 1935 before embarking on a Major League career with the Chicago Cubs. From 1941 through 1947, Merullo played shortstop for the Cubs, amassing a lifetime batting average of .240 in a career that culminated in his club’s 1945 World Series appearance against Detroit.

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Photo by Sean Walsh
Former Chicago White Sox catcher Matt Merullo and former Cape Leaguer Lennie Merullo Jr. Shake hands with and present the CCBL Hall of Fame Inductee plaque to Len Merullo. 

Following his Major League playing days, the Reading native embarked on a 50-year career as a Major League scout. “This might be inauguration day,” the elder Merullo said upon acceptance of his induction plaque, hinting at the inauguration of President George W. Bush. “But it isn’t any more important to President Bush than it is to Lennie Merullo.”

    Major League Baseball liaison Jeff Pfieffer was called upon to accept the induction plaque and honors for the late Thurman Munson, the 1970 American League Rookie of The Year and first New York Yankee Captain since Lou Gehrig.  Munson got his start as a backstop for the 1967 Chatham A’s, collecting batting champion honors with a .420 clip. According to Pfeiffer, who read from a prepared statement from Munson’s wife Diane Munson, the Yankee all-time great “always said (his) experience on the Cape helped (him) to achieve (his) success with the New York Yankees.”

    Cape League Vice President Dick Sullivan introduced the next inductee as “the singular driving force behind the Cape League’s success.” When Elizabeth Lowell Park was but one-year old in 1950, Arnold Mycock took the reigns as the Cotuit Kettleers General Manager and held that position from 1950 through 1995 when the Kettleers took their record 12th league championship. In that incredible span, Mycock’s clubs fielded no less than 1,000 players, 40 of them Major Leaguers. His clubs built a phenomenal 771-546 win-loss record during that same period and it was Mycock who played an integral role in elevating the Cape League to its present-day, college-player only status.

    Mycock also played a key role in the development of CCBL youth baseball clinics, now vastly popular, in 1975. Dubbed general manager emeritus for life by the Cotuit Kettlers franchise following his retirement in 1995, Mycock still serves on the CCBL Board of Executives and has served the league in virtually every role imaginable. To this day, Mycock still arranges the CCBL schedule and proves to be a vital player in how the league operates and continues to improve. “He is the consummate gentleman, self-effacing,” Sullivan said. “The success of the Cape Cod Baseball League rests squarely on the shoulders of Arnold Mycock.” “Little did I dream I would one day be standing here before this crowd,” Mycock said. “I am indeed honored to be in such company.”

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Photo by Sean Walsh
Former Big League reliever and Cotuit Kettleer Jeff Reardon stands with fellow inductee and close friend Arnold Mycock prior to their induction into the CCBL Hall of Fame.

With that being said, Mycock then turned to introduce one of his former protégées as the next CCBL Hall of Fame inductee, Sporting News Reliever of the Decade (1980s) and three-year Kettleer ace Jeff Reardon. Reardon’s career as one of Major League Baseball’s top relief pitchers is legendary. In 1985, the Dalton native collected 41 saves for the Montreal Expos, earning him National League Fireman of the Year honors. In 1987, he led the Minnesota Twin to the World Series and was named the American League Co-Fireman of the Year. By carer’s end with the BoSox, Reardon had amassed 367 saves, breaking National Baseball Hall of Famer Rollie Finger’s record. Arnold Mycock is the sole reason why I made the Big Leagues,’’ Reardon said.

    Former Cape League player and commissioner Bernie Kilroy then introduced first-ever Cape League commissioner and former umpire Danny Silva as the next CCBL Hall of Fame inductee, followed by a brief speech given by Mass. Maritime Academy athletic director and baseball coach Bob Corradi

    Former Orleans Cardinals coach and Cape League player and manager Tom Yankus introduced Chicago White Sox Slugger Frank Thomas as the next inductee, before giving way to John Tummina, White Sox scout, who accepted Thomas’ plaque in the inductee’s absence. Thomas, long remembered for hitting the longest ball ever out of Eldredge Park, was dubbed and “unbelievable hitter” who nevertheless struggles to acclimate himself to the feel and swing of the CCBL’s wooden bats. By the end of the 1988 season, the CCBL all-star collected six home runs and was well on his way to a brilliant Major League career. Seven times voted an American League all-star first baseman, Thomas has twice been named the American League MVP and holds the White Sox all-time record for home runs (301).

   Wareham Gatemen President and General Manager John Wylde accepted Mo Vaughn’s inductee plaque, and detailed how Vaughn was instrumental in Wareham’s championship bid in 1988, collecting four-game winning RBI in four playoff games and teaming up with roommate Chuck Knoblauch in an all-star season.  In turn, Vaughn credited (via videotape) Wylde and the late John Claffey with being the two catalysts toward the slugger’s all-star career with the Boston Red Sox and Anaheim Angels. “I wanted to be like those guys,” Vaughn said of his youth spending summers on Cape Cod and watching Cape League games in Falmouth.

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Photo by Sean Walsh
CCBL Commissioner Bob Stead congratulates Red WIlson on his induction into the Cape League Hall of Fame.

   Cape League Commissioner and former player and manager Bob Stead introduced the final inductee of the day, as a teacher and coach who “made everyone he coached feel like a champion.” Merrill “Red” Wilson played catcher for the University of Maine and honed his skills in seven all-star season in the Cape League before giving way to a brilliant career coaching and teaching at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School. The one-time CCBL MVP (Lower Cape, 1960), also served as the high school’s athletic director and at one time as its vice principal. The Home of the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox is now named in his honor, as Merrill “Red” Wilson Field. “Red Wilson is the personification of what the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame is: class, dignity and excellence.”

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CCBL Hall of Fame Committee members Barry Souder (left) Bob Corradi (center) and Jim Higgins make preparations during hall of fame induction ceremonies.
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Photo by S.Walsh
Former Baltimore Orioles and Falmouth Commodores ace Mike Flanagan chats with fellow CCBL Hall of Fame inductee Ed Lyons during the induction ceremony at the Chatham Bars Inn.
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Photo by S.Walsh
Trademark of  'The Man' -- Longtime Major League Scout Bill Enos sports one of his trademark stogies following filet mignon at the Chatham Bars Inn banquet reception for CCBL Hall of Fame inductees and their families.
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Photo by S.Walsh
CCBL Hall of Fame inductee Bill Enos shares a light moment during dinner at the Chatham Bars Inn with Red Sox scout Buzz Bowers (right).
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Photo by S.Walsh
Fellow CCBL Hall of Fame inductees Ed Lyons (left) and Jeff Reardon shake hands before heading to the podium to receive their induction plaques.
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CCBL File Photo by S.Walsh
CCBL Chicago White Sox slugger and CCBL Hall of Fame enshrinee Frank Thomas has been making opposing pitchers pay ever since he donned the red and gold of the Orleans Cardinals at Eldredge Park.
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Photo Courtesy of the New York Yankees
The 1967 CCBL batting champion (.420) with the Chatham A's, the late New York Yankee star Thurman Munson was one of 12 men enshrined into the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame.
 
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The first-ever Cape Cod Baseball League Commissioner, the late Daniel Silva was enshrined Saturday in the newly established CCBL Hall of Fame.

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The first-ever slate of Hall of Fame inductees awaits their honor.
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CCBL Photo
Boston Red Sox VP of Public Affairs shares a proud moment with longtime BoSox scout Bill Enos.
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Dick Bergquist, CCBL President Judy Scarafile and Red Sox VP of Public Affairs Dick Bresciani recall their college days.
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Red Wilson, Dick Bergquist, Len Merullo Jr. and Matt Merullo celebrate before the big day.
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CCBL VP Jim Higgins, his brother, CC Times Sports Editor Bill Higgins, Cotuit Kettleer GM Emeritus for Life Arnold Mycock and Falmouth Commodores GM Chuck Sturtevant celebrate the fruition of the hall of fame. 
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CapeCod Times Sports Editor Bill Higgins shares a light moment with longtime Red Sox scout Bill Enos during an inductees' reception at the Chatham Bars Inn.

CCBL File Photo by Sean Walsh
One of the Wareham Gatemen's all-time great players, former red Sox star Mo Vaughn was inducted into the CCBL Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class of enshrinees.