01/14/2006 2:17 PM
for immediate release: 15 January, 2006
Remembering a fallen friend
3rd generation Cape Leaguer
By GEOFF CONVERSE
I said goodbye to a good friend last week.
It wasn't because he was leaving for a vacation or going away for a day or two. It was because he died suddenly at the young age of 49.
A heart in need of repair was the culprit.
Scott Sanford knew he needed a bypass, but was petrified of going into the hospital for surgery.
''I'm afraid I won't come out alive,'' he once said.
Ironically, it was the hospital where he passed away, the victim of a massive coronary.
Scott was related to two Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Famers. He was the son of legendary pitcher Jack Sanford, a hard-throwing southpaw who hurled for Bourne and Sagamore from 1946 to 1954, accumulating a league record 60 wins, including a brilliant 25-2 mark in 1951-52.
He was also the grandson of the late Pat Sorenti, who enjoyed a 50-year association with the Cape League as a player, field manager, team president, league president and commissioner. The league’s MVP is named in his honor.
Scott also enjoyed a passion for the Cape League, serving at various times as official scorer, reporter and league web-site editor for the country’s premier collegiate summer league.
The tales surrounding Scott's life are almost endless. Some are humorous - bordering on laugh-out-loud funny - and some are tragic. Most involved his love of athletics and all that surrounds his involvement with them.
There is not one person who ever worked with Scott that won't tell you he could weave a good story in print. He knew how to write well. He was always accurate and on target about the key moments in a game.
He had stories printed in the Cape Cod Times, Brockton Enterprise, Sandwich Enterprise and the Falmouth Enterprise. He also did work for the Cape Cod Chapter of the New England PGA, the Cape Cod Baseball League and the Eastern College Athletic Conference. At one time, Scott worked on play-by-play broadcasts of high school games back in the day when they were carried on local radio stations.
I often worked alongside Scott, and when we traveled to games together, his company certainly made those off-Cape trips go a lot quicker. We would discuss just about any topic - even ones we're told you don't discuss, like politics and religion - and the conversations were lively and insightful.
He was great to bounce ideas off of. I would ask if he saw something in a game the same as I did. I valued his input and his insight.
When I did a comprehensive, long series on the best golf holes on Cape Cod, Scott accompanied me to most of the courses. His game was different than mine, so I wanted as fair an assessment of each course as possible, for all types of players. We'd compare notes.
We both had a love of the game and paired up in a couple of Seagulls Championships, though in both of them only one of us finished the round. But that's another story for another day.
Scott and I worked together for many years at the ECAC in Centerville in its service bureau. We were part of a team that took hundreds of calls from colleges and universities nominating players for weekly all-star teams.
We would painstakingly go through all the nominations and choose a Player of the Week in each division. Scott took great pride in that task and anguished over the selections. In the end, when he made his choices, there was no argument from us.
He was a homer. Nobody rooted harder for Cape teams than Scott. Sometimes he rooted too hard, especially if a referee's call went against his favorite team. He was not afraid to let people know how he felt.
Nobody was more ecstatic than Scott when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. One of his favorite moments was posing with the World Series trophy with his mom, Pat, by his side.
He had a ''Walter Mitty'' approach to sports. Sometimes he was Jack Nicklaus on the golf course, or Lou Groza kicking a football. (We often called him ''The Toe.'') He was Al Hrabosky hovering behind the mound in slow-pitch softball.
Scott was hilarious without trying to be. He so wanted to be a standout athlete. Instead he lived the games through others and reported on them.
Scott loved to laugh and he loved to eat pizza. But as time marched on, he had warning signs indicating not all was right with his health. He was close to diabetic, and his heart started to act up. And then last week, those health problems took him away from us.
He was buried in the same Red Sox jacket he was wearing in that photo taken with the World Series trophy.
He was finally at peace and those demons that plagued him throughout his life were no longer nipping at his heels.
Remembering Scott brings back many memories.
There was the time we were returning to the Cape from a high school championship football game. Scott was out of a job, but had come along as a fan. He was a passenger in the car, along with a newspaper photographer and a two sports writers. It had been snowing and we were driving too fast, trying to make a deadline.
Suddenly, the car slid through an exit ramp.
''Mr. C,'' said Scott, ''I can see the headline now: Photographer, two sportswriters and some other guy killed in snowy crash.''
We all laughed, but now it's something I'll always remember about Scott Sanford.
You were not just some other guy. You were my friend.
Geoff Converse was a member of the sports staff at the Cape Cod Times for 21 years and is now a contributing writer.
Published in the Cape Cod Times: January 13, 2006 by Geoff Converse, Contributing Writer and current Vice President of the Hyannis Mets.