HoF Members are Good Examples of Daily Heroes
By GLENN MILLER
Roy Hobbs Baseball
They don’t wear capes. They are not faster than speeding bullets or more powerful than locomotives and aren’t able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
At least we don’t think so.
But Roy Hobbs Baseball Hall of Famers are superheroes, one with powers that don’t include swinging from buildings like Spiderman.
At least we don’t think so.
They are heroes who bind together their communities. They heal the sick or have served their country in combat or spent decades building businesses and delivering the packages and mail that keep America’s economy humming.
The United States Postal Service’s unofficial motto sums up the way these heroes go about lives away from the game.
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
That applies to these superheroes, the ones who don’t wear capes but have worn the uniforms of the United States Army, American Airlines, UPS and the Post Office.
Most obviously, that means Detroit Hall of Famer Willie Boyd, a letter carrier for more than 30 years. He has served his community, gotten to know the residents and business people on his route, through hot summers and cold Michigan winters.
But is also means Lanny Ropke, a retired American Airlines pilot who was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.
It means Pittsburgh’s Rob Fester, who has been driving a brown UPS truck for more than 30 years in his corner of Pittsburgh, bounding in and out of that vehicle countless thousands of times over a third of a century.
It means Dr. Alfred Ayala, a Puerto Rican family physician and acupuncturist who has served his island homeland for decades, ministering to the sick and counseling the grieving and listening to their concerns.
It also means Rick McGalliard, who was general manager of Magic City Lanes in Barberton, Ohio, for 32 years and for 14 years has been co-owner of Kenmore Eastern Sports Bar. McGalliard has provided recreation and employment to countless people over all that time at Magic City.
They are heroes all, men who have done more than pitch, hit and field.
The same could be said of countless other Roy Hobbs players, past and present and future, the ones not inducted into the Hall of Fame. Every team from every community certainly boasts superheroes, players who do more than play, who do more than hit and run and throw and field.
But the focus here and now is a few Hall of Famers as representative of the totality of those ballplayers at the Roy Hobbs World Series.
Ropke’s super hero status may be the most obvious because of his experience flying a Huey helicopter during the Vietnam War.
All told, Ropke estimates he flew more than 75 missions during the war. For a couple of months, he was assigned to fly VIPs such as congressmen, generals and admirals. The VIPs included Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., father of the later Arizona Senator John McCain.
Ropke later spent more than 30 years as an American Airlines pilot, flying some of the most iconic jetliners in history – the 727, 757, 767 and 777.
Whether in a 727 or UPS truck, these men showed up for work, day after day, year after year, getting their jobs done.
“There is no such thing as a slow day at UPS,” Fester said.
Boyd continues delivering mail and has no retirement plans.
“I just say when I get fed up with them I will,” Boyd said.
He’s not fed up yet.
Ayala keeps practicing and listening to patients.
“People want to be heard,” Ayala said.
Superheroes listen. That is one of their super powers.
These baseball-playing superheroes continue serving our country, healing the sick, building businesses and delivering those packages, day after day, year after year after year. …
And probably without capes.
Editor’s note: Yes, with RHWS #31, Roy Hobbs is celebrating what amateur ballplayers do in real life, blooming where they are planted and being heroes, involved in their local communities on an every-day basis. Here is a look at the professions of the members of the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame:
Joe Adams – Director of Sales and Design for the East Region at Menasha Packaging; currently lead 10 Sales Account Managers and 40 Designers who are responsible for over $250MM in revenue for the region.
Jim Ahlborn – A proud dad & husband to my 11-year-old daughter Kathryn & wife Cheryl. I’m an assistant coach on Kat’s softball team & professionally I’ve been selling municipal & contractor equipment for more than 20 years.
Alfred Ayala – A family physician and acupuncturist.
Roger Begue – Owns a professional painting company.
George Blackwell – Retired, was Public Communications Manager for Quest Communications.
Don Booth – 35 years in Human Resources with Chrysler Corporation, ending as Labor Relations Representative.
Willie Boyd – 30 years as a mail carrier for the U.S. Post Office.
Denny Brown – Co-founder and co-owner of Expert Support Inc., a Silicon Valley consulting company that provides technical communication services to clients like Google, Apple, Adobe, and unknown startups.
Dominick Catinella – 23 years as an audio/visual technician for local 110 serving all the major downtown Chicago hotels and McCormick place convention center. Prior to that, 12 years as co-operating manager for Jewel Food stores and 29 years as a state certified property appraiser for the state of Illinois. Currently retired but working part-time.
Warren Clark – A practicing attorney since 1976 and a Municipal Judge (now in 3 North Jersey municipalities) for 26 years.
Bill Clary – Founder/CEO of Elite Consultants, a firm dedicated to higher education schools/colleges and assisted living facilities with services in admissions and compliance. And, founder/Chairman of 365 Strong World Powerlifting Federation, we provide nationally and internationally sanctioned powerlifting events.
Bill Coburn – 42 years working on the railroad, starting in 1965 at age 18. Worked for Pennsylvania RR, PennCentral, Conrail and then CSX. During that time held position within the Brotherhood of Trainmen and the United Transportation Union. Retired in 2007, play baseball, watch baseball, play with family, and I am a Bushhogger; I find serenity in clearing the land and woods on our 37 Ohio acres.
Dave Cooper – Owned and operated a bar/restaurant (Charly’s Brewpub & Grill) in Windsor Ontario, from 1984 ; Sold and retired in 2012. Presently Head Baseball Coach of St. Clair College in Windsor. Head Baseball Coach of The St. Clair Green Giants of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League.
Jim Corte* – His family owned the Jet Box Company, they made corrugated cardboard boxes; he was a salesman for the company.
Troy Cox – 31 years with the City of Palm Bay Parks & Recreation as Recreation Division Manager; founded & still operate our local baseball league, the Palm Bay Space Coast Baseball League on June 30, 1980. This is our 40th Summer Season, Oldest League in Florida.
Ronnie Craig – Professional Logger.
Bob Dearth – A Chicago Policeman for more than 25 years. It’s a job that runs in my family. When I first became a police officer I had 11 other 1st cousins that were Chicago Policemen and 12 first cousins that were Chicago Firemen. It’s an honorable job, although I have seen things that I wish I never did.
Jack DeHeer – Retired after 37 years Chicago Police / special forces unit Area 1 Gun Task Force.
Bill Devine – Owned Devine Window Cleaning since 1983. I have been playing baseball every year since 1962.
Paul Doucette – A retired elementary phys. ed. teacher, currently teaching and supervising student teachers at the local state college and coaching JV baseball at a nearby high school.
Gary Dover – A financial professional providing contract accounting, analysis and support services. I donate my time to various civic and political organizations in middle Tennessee, as well as spend time caring for animals in transition to their forever homes at 2 animal shelters.
Steve Eddy – Now retired but was a union glazier installing glass & windows in commercial buildings in the Boston area. I also spent 35 years officiating (football, wrestling, & baseball) at the high school & college levels.
Tommy Faherty – Prior to retirement, was a Marketing and Sales Vice President in both the Manufacturing and Construction Industries. In present day “real life” I manage and play Baseball for The New Jersey Wonderboys. At the RHWS we have a proud history dating back to 1989.
Rob Fester – 31 years as a UPS Delivery Driver.
Ellen Giffen – Construction project superintendent for the Ruhlin Company, building hospitals, schools, jails and churches; currently co-owner of Roy Hobbs Diamond Enterprises.
Tom Giffen – 35 years as journalist, including 20 with Knight-Ridder Newspapers where his sports sections were honored nationally on an annual basis; current co-owner of Roy Hobbs Diamond Enterprises.
Lane Green – Retired 2012 as Executive Director of Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, a charitable non-profit dedicated to providing information to Landowners regarding latest Land, Forest and Wildlife Management techniques as well as long-term Land Conservation options that reduce or eliminate federal, state and local taxes.
David Harvill – now retired; spent his work career with Johnson & Johnson, holding several sales leadership positions.
Bob Hawkins – My wife and I own Bayhawk Enterprises Corp. We are a logistics company transporting truckloads of product to manufacturing firms in Dallas, Garland, Tx., Essex Md., Sparrows Point, Md., Tipp City, Ohio, and Scarbourough, Ontario. We have a division of the company that supplies golf cars sales and rentals around the country.
JD Hinson – Retired educator, but currently president of DJ Sporting Goods, which provides lessons in all aspects of baseball and softball.
Gerry Huppmann – Was with the Atlanta Braves for 11 years as their Triple-A affiliate groundskeeper. Currently a Senior Production Manager with BrightView Landscape Services in Yorktown, Va., overseeing construction, maintenance, and sports turf operations. I also assist the new groundskeeper with the Richmond Flying Squirrels (SF Giants AA Affiliate) this season.
Clyde Jones – Works as Pension Planning Advisor for Instructors thru the Independent Agent Network of California, as Clyde Jones & Associates. Former US Navy Officer. Also, President Tuskegee Airmen Travis AFB Chapter and National TAI Board Director.
Dick Kissik* – Started his career as a police officer; finished it as an over-the-road truck driver.
Rich Knight – 42.5 years at the Toronto Star Newspaper; Started as an office messenger, ended up as the Advertising Product Manager before retiring in 2010.
Steve LaRussa – 35 years as a radar technician on the USAF Eastern test range. Our job is to operate and maintain the 5 different radar systems that track rockets and Missiles from launch into orbit to make sure they are going on their intended trajectory; the radar data is sent to the mission control center where they determine if the rocket is on course or have the need to blow it up if it endangers the civilian areas surrounding the Cape/KSC area.
Roger Laurella – Information Technology Resiliency Manager for JP Morgan Chase, responsible for developing, maintaining, and managing the company’s computer Disaster Recovery (DR) program. I have been Chicagoland Roy Hobbs league president since 1992.
Bart Leathers* – life-long attorney, spending many years working for the State of Tennessee.
Joe Maiden – Navy Academy graduate, spent 5 years active duty in the USMC including a tour in NAM plus another 8 years in the Marine Reserves. Flew 32+ years for American Airlines including international routes. Since 1992, have been a representative for an investment management firm working primarily with retirees.
Kevin Marden – President and CEO of World Class Logistics Management Company since 1991, specializing in retail supply chain management. Prior to that, Regional distribution manager for Beatrice Foods Co. (Chicago).
Dave Mathews – A dentist for 45 years, presently teach at University of Washington.
Kevin McBurney* – Attorney.
Tim McCoy – 31 years as a ‘finish’ carpenter, the majority of that time in a variety of settings from high-rise condominiums to multi-million-dollar single-family homes. Currently he works for a Naples company as a supervisor in their Renovation/ Remodeling division.
Rick McGalliard – 33 years as general manager of Magic City Lanes in Barberton, Ohio, and now have been co-owner of Kenmore Eastern Sports Bar for 14 years.
Tim McGoldrick – Retired from Cleveland Metroparks with 50 years of service in 2018. Operate a High School Umpire Association since 2001.
Ron Michaelson – Retired; for most of my career, worked in Illinois State government as Assistant to the Governor (1969-73) and Executive Director of the Illinois State Board of Elections (1974-2003). During those years, I served as Adjunct Professor of Public Affairs at Sangamon State University in Springfield. After 2003, I joined the faculty full time in political science at what is now the University of Illinois – Springfield. In 2009 I reverted back to Adjunct status and taught part time until my “final” retirement in May 2019.
Joe Monari – Owner-Operator of Lilberty Limosine Service in Chicago.
John Morris – Owner-Operator of Zeke Morris Body Shop in Black Mountain, N.C.
Randy Moselle – Former educator and coach of soccer & baseball before becoming salesman for Voss Lighting, moved on to Sylvania as a manufacturer’s representative for 20 years before retiring in 2018; currently volunteer visitation pastor for my church.
Mike Murphey – A newspaper reporter and editor for 28 year before leaving journalism in 1998. I formed a partnership with Dave Henderson to produce the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletica Fantasy camps. That company—DHBA—also partnered with Roy Hobbs baseball to provide clubhouse services at major Roy Hobbs events. DHBA is no longer involved in the fantasy camps, but our work with Roy Hobbs is ongoing. I am now essentially a full-time writer.
Frank Murphy – Retired union pipe fitter and union audio/visual technician.
Dave Mydland – I have been in the insurance industry since 1977. I have two agencies here in South Dakota.
Fran Podraza – Currently work in business development for a roofing contractor. I own two companies: my Amateur baseball association of SWFL which runs a 30+ league in Fort Myers and a 50+ league in Port Charlotte, and Florida Contract International, a Marketing company for multiple businesses in SWFL.
Bill ‘Doc’ Pollak – 54 years practicing dentistry, retiring in 2015.
Carl Rakich – Worked as a high school teacher and coach, pharmaceutical sales representative and retired as an executive officer of a national franchisor in the home services industry.
Mark Reinerth – Started managing money in 1981. Was involved in trying to bring the Montreal Expos to Tidewater in 2004, and in 2005 started my own practice called Rhino Wealth Management.
Fernando Roman – In 2014, I retired as a teacher of the PR Department of Education. I am still president of the LBBA (Puerto Rico Men’s Baseball League), which is 30-years-old. Summer of 2019, I moved to Atlanta, to continue teaching for a year.
Lanny Ropke – 19 years of active and reserve duty with the U.S. Army as a Helicopter Pilot, served in Vietnam, and called back to active duty to serve in Desert Storm. Former FAA Air Traffic Controller. American Airlines pilot for 33 years retiring on the Boeing 777 in 2006.
Vito Ruscio – 35 years in Human Resources with Chrysler Corporation, ending as Labor Relations Representative.
Rick Scheetz – Spent 25 years in the consumer products industry selling for Boyle Midway and Sanford Corporation. I owned an office furniture business for 10 years. Currently, I manage a warehouse in Sanford, Fla.
Tom Scull – Retired from Newark, New Jersey Police Department in 1998. Living in Port St Lucie, Fla., since 2003.
Mike Shevlin – 38 years as a Florida Real Estate Owner, Broker, Manager and Salesman in Lee County on Pine Island. When you come to Baseball Central, make sure to visit Pine Island. It’s still an “Old Florida Island”, with fishing shacks, mobile homes, tropical fruit & palm groves, also my passion.
Hank St. Clair* – Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company and amateur umpiring.
Sam Sibeto – A pharmaceutical drug delivery driver in the Pittsburgh area for SSD; I deliver to pharmacy’s and hospitals. I am also a real estate developer.
Marty Stanczyk – Was a physical instructor for the Chicago Park District. In 1993 I started a Mortgage Field Service company . I was in that Business for 25 years. Sold the company and know I’m semi-retired, doing some consulting. Also coach a semi-pro baseball team.
Ron Staples – 46 years in banking, mostly in commercial lending. Retired in 2014 as an Executive Vice President.
Mic Stump – 30 years as a Career Counselor for a federally funded dislocated-worker program. Was Rapid Response Coordinator for Pierce Co Employment and Training Services. Spent 10 years as vice president of non-profit organization dedicated to teaching self-defense to woman with or without abusive backgrounds. 6 years Radio host dedicated to providing information to public on self-defense and social/situational awareness. 4 years as Private Investigator and 15 years as Legal Process Server.
Dutch Van Wey* – Founder, owner, and leader of California Envelope Company, a printer of letterhead stationery for businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. He served as president of the Norcal Old-timers Baseball Association. He also volunteered in various youth baseball organizations. He holds the rare distinction of coaching 2 Cy Young award winners: Mark Davis (1989) and Randy Johnson (1995, 1999-2002).
Bob Wagner* – Geodetic surveyor, co-owner of Deni Associates in Fort Myers; Godfather of Wagner Wooden Bat Classic.
Bart Waldman – A husband for 38 years, a father for 35, and a lawyer in private practice for 27, hopefully in that order. After representing the Seattle Mariners as outside counsel for 13 years, I became Mariners Executive Vice President and General Counsel for 11 years prior to retirement at the end of 2016.
Joel Weinstein – Currently Chair and Treasurer of the Ventana Chapter of Sierra Club. I also participate in several research studies by UCSF and the VA on Healthy Aging and the effects of aging on cognitive abilities. Prior to retirement I was an engineer, and designed instrumentation for use in subatomic particle research and ICBM detection. I also managed several manufacturing companies in the sprinkler and plumbing industries.
Todd Windhorst* – Purchasing agent for several Akron area companies; 7 years with RHBB as director of operations.
Rick Winstead – Owner, Grassworks Landscaping past 12 years. Prior to that co-owner in TriRich Development, building homes. Built and restored custom hot rods for 20 years.
Gary Wright – Owner of Wright Well and Irrigation Company; pretty simple – I put sprinkler systems in when it’s hot and sunny, and I put drainage systems when it’s rainy and wet.
Harry Young* – Home Building Contractor, Harry Young Builders, Inc.
Dave Zavracky – Retired educator, amateur umpire, songwriter and freelance writer.
* — deceased