The 2008 Yawkey League Banquet drew its largest crowd. 350 people came to the IBEW Hall on Freeport Street in Dorchester by the Sea to pay tribute to 6 men who made it good in the organization. 32 folks represented the McKay Club as well. It was a bitter sweet experience for this writer.
McKay Club Hall of Famers: Dick Sexton, Brian Yanovitch, Jay Malley, Dan Kazmouski, Ray Muise were in attendance.
I was proud to sponsor two friends, who played ball for me since they were kids. They are still kids in my mind today - Mike Kazmouski & John Pagel.
Kaz & Pags played ball for me since they were 14-15 respectively. Kaz in the old Mill Stream Little/Teen League and Pags was with me on my JV Ball Club - the Columbus High Friars. Both gents baseball career mirrored the development of the McKay Club into a solid franchise in the old Junior Park now Yawkey League.
I speak of both together because their dedication to me as a coach and their love of the game could never be matched. Each a different player - who made quite different contributions. Kaz was a pesky - clutch hitter with blazing speed in his late teens to mid 20's. Pags the crafty - rubber armed legionary pitcher & one of the best fielder/hitters in YBL History.
Johnny Pags & Mike Kaz were there at the very beginning of this segment of my 40 year baseball journey. It was tough to "see them go" last night. I can not imagine the McKay Club without them. Every step of the way each man was dedicated to winning with class. Kaz favorite saying - there is "NO I IN TEAM" needs to be heard by all who continue to play the game. Unselfish play and self sacrifice helps to build champions. Look at Somerville in our league and the new Red Sox here in Boston. Players come to the park with an objective - win as a team.
John Pagel SPOKE last night. I do not know if I have heard him speak so much in the same time frame in our 26 year friendship. This MUST have meant something to him. He was gracious and eloquent!
Kaz brought the house down. His speech was tremendous. The culmination was a duel tribute with him & his "best friend - son Evan" doing a tribute to Nana Barbara, who passed away 6 years ago.
I laughed a cried a bit last night. It is good to know that I have done something right in this league. Each of the guys who spoke last night paid me tribute - that was sweet. BUT, remember, this is not a one man show. The McKay Club & Yawkey League was built by other dedicated men. Paul Buzzell, TJ Burke Sr, Billy Cunningham and George Edwards - have all had an impact on the development of this team. The members of the YBL Board and its coaches make sure that every player in our League is afforded the best opportunities available in amateur baseball.
As I bid these two players farewell - I look at the bright new energetic players I have recruited this year. Take the message from these two Yawkey League Hall of Famers. Love the game. Respect the game and the game. Wear your unifomrs with pride. Give as a team mate not an individual AND! The Game will be good to you!
Thanks Kaz & Pags - you have my deep respect and affection!