The appeal of the league goes far beyond the diamond, they all agreed, extending to the people who manage, volunteer, sponsor and scout the highly popular and highly respected summer college league.
"If you have success in life, it's because you have a lot of people help you along the way," Noel Kinski told the crowd.
Kinski, a star southpaw at Providence College and for Bourne, Sagamore and Falmouth from 1965-67, was inducted along with former playing stars Ed Baird, Sean Casey, Joe Jabar, Jim Perkins, Carlos Pena, Ron Perry Jr., and Cory Snyder, former manager and administrator Pat Sorenti, former player and manager Jack McCarthy, and current league president Judy Walden Scarafile. The new members bring the membership to the league's hall up to 42.
Former Chatham Athletic Association president Tom Desmond, 93, received the Fred Ebbett Lifetime Achievement Award and got things rolling when his first words were, "I guess they thought they better get the old guy out of the way early."
Off to a good
Kinski, who lives in Brewster, was also captain of the highly successful basketball team at Providence. He never left the Cape after graduating from Providence, teaching and coaching here for 36 years. He told of the three most important decisions of his life - choosing Providence, deciding to play in the Cape League and, most importantly, marrying his wife and having four wonderful children.
"And living in one of the greatest places in the world," he added.
Scarafile, who was recently reelected president for the 13th season, began her affiliation with the league as an official scorer in 1970. She was given a hearty introduction by her husband Peter, and by former league president, commissioner and Hall of Fame member Dick Sullivan.
"What can I say about this human dynamo?" Sullivan asked during his introduction. "She is an outstanding leader. She has commitment, she has passion and a limitless love for the Cape League and baseball."
Scarafile talked about the 190 Cape League alumni in the majors this past season, how one of every three college players in the majors came through the Cape. None of that was possible, she told the audience, without the amazing group of volunteers the league has.
And she made all the franchise volunteers stand and receive a warm round of applause from the crowd.
summer of '94
He told of becoming good friends with his Brewster teammate, Augie Ojeda of the Cubs, and running into former Whitecaps Todd Walker and Billy Wagner and rehashing Cape League stories.
Casey was introduced by league deputy commissioner and former Brewster general manager Sol Yas, who told the crowd Casey's nickname at Brewster was Mayor. "He was approachable and he was a huge crowd favorite," said Yas.
Cory Snyder, who played with five different major league teams, hit 22 homers for Harwich in 1983. He was a rarity in the Cape League at that time, a West Coast player (Brigham Young) who played in Alaska in 1982 but decided to come East for more exposure the next year.
When Snyder first came back to Fenway Park as a member of the Indians, he had to get so many tickets, his teammates told him they thought he was from California.
"I played in the Cape League," he told them. "When you play in the Cape League, there are so many people you become close to." Snyder talked fondly of his host family in Harwich, the Chipmans. "I had a wonderful family. That's what the Cape is all about. They are still a big part of my family."
Carlos Pena was MVP of the league in 1997 and now plays with the Detroit Tigers. He's playing winter ball in the Dominican and was unable to attend yesterday, but his mother, father, brother and sister were all there to proudly accept his award.
Pena had his sister Femaris read a short letter of appreciation in which he wrote, "The summer of '97 will always be the most unforgettable summer of my life. I understand summers that perfect only come around once in a lifetime ... Because of that summer in the Cape League, I am a major league ballplayer."
Fond memories of
"I fell in love with Chatham," said Baird, who was mostly comical in his speech but did get serious for a moment. "Who the heck could play baseball here and not love it ... The townspeople ... made us feel like we belonged here."
Jabar, now a judge in Maine, told of his Chatham job - digging graves with a shovel because mechanized equipment wasn't allowed in the cemetery. But it was part of an overall experience he cherishes.
"I thank the Cape Cod League for giving me some of the best years of my life. Playing on Cape Cod instilled in me some great confidence."
McCarthy was a highly successful player and manager in Cotuit, as skipper winning 208 games from 1970-78. Yet it was a 1993 gesture that brought home to him what the league is about.
"Ten years ago my first wife died, and the end of that year my father, who was in failing health, moved in with me. Arnold Mycock called and said Cotuit would like to have a day in my honor. I hemmed and hawed but finally said OK. I thought they must be having days for a lot of former players ... I realized there were no more days. Cotuit had reached out with compassion, love and support. What is the Cape Cod Baseball League all about? You make the call."
Ron Perry Jr. (Hyannis '78-79) told of how important it was that, as a New England kid and two-sport star at Holy Cross, he play in the league to measure himself against the country's best. "The competition prepared me for the minor leagues," he said (a bad knee ended his career after two years). "But it was never quite the same as the Cape experience."
Sorenti, who played, managed and was a league commissioner, died in 1971. His grandson, Scott Sanford, received the award for him and said how honored the family is that the league's MVP trophy is named the Pat Sorenti Award.
Perkins, presented by Stuart Goodwin, received his plaque in a wheelchair and did not make a speech. He didn't have to. The look on his and the other honorees' beaming faces said it all.
(Published: November 9, 2003)
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