Ambassador of Baseball

Brian Mullen Ambassador of Baseball Award

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Brian Mullen
Ambassador of Baseball namesake, Brian Mullen

The development of the Ambassador of Baseball award was the result of many voices suggesting that Roy Hobbs recognize Brian Mullen for his years of service to the World Series, service to Roy Hobbs players and service to the Game, Roy Hobbs President Tom Giffen said.

“A common theme running though those messages was that Brian Mullen was an Ambassador of the Game. For Roy Hobbs, the establishment of the Brian Mullen Ambassador of Baseball recognition seemed like ‘The Natural’ thing to do.”

The Brian Mullen Ambassador of Baseball award is determined at the sole discretion of the RHHoF Trustees. Honorees will be presented at the annual Hall of Fame induction celebration, and their names will be included on a perpetual plaque that hangs in the Roy Hobbs World Series headquarters.

The selection of Mullen as the namesake is reflected in his impact on the Roy Hobbs World Series since he joined the Hobbs staff in 1994 – 2019 is Mullen’s 26th year in Hobbs gear.

Glenn Miller wrote this about Mullen in 2015:

“Every baseball fan knows about those rare creatures – five-tool players. Those are guys who can hit, hit with power, run, throw and field.

“Brian Mullen … is a five-tool player, albeit 5 different tools

“Five tools? He’s got them in abundance.

• Scorekeeper
• Announcer
• Site manager
• Statistician / helps seed playoff fields
• Customer relations

“The last item may be the most important to Mullen. ‘The players are the real stars,’ he said. ‘If they didn’t come down I wouldn’t have a job.’

“From Roy Hobbs President Tom Giffen: ‘Brian sets the standard for working with customers on a one-on-one basis. He is the guy with the perpetual smile and a personal first-name greeting for everyone.’

“Yes, Brian Mullen is an Ambassador with a capital ‘A.’ He does it all, like a five-tool player.

“And he does with a smile for everybody.”

Brian Mullen Ambassador of Baseball

Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame Brian Mullen Ambassador of Baseball Mission Statement

Roy Hobbs’ Brian Mullen Ambassador of Baseball Award is presented during the annual Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame celebration.  Recipients are associated with Roy Hobbs Baseball and are selected at the discretion of the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame Trustees and are recognized with a plaque for their Meritorious Service as an Ambassador of Amateur Baseball.

Ambassador of Baseball nominations will be accepted via email to RHHoF@royhobbs.com, and nominators will be asked to provide verifiable data in support of anyone they nominate.

Brian Mullen Ambassador of Baseball Honorees

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Dave Power – Port Charlotte, FL

2019 Ambassador: Dave Power lived to share baseball with others

Dave Power
1938-2019

BY GLENN MILLER
Roy Hobbs Baseball

When one imagines the perfect example of a Roy Hobbs Baseball player, Dave Power might be the epitome of one.

Love of the game. Dedication. Respect for the game and its rules and traditions. Eagerness to share his passion with all and welcoming to all, from ex-pros to novices.

He reveled in the joys of the game’s simplest pleasures. That includes squaring up a pitch on the fat part of a wooden bat to snaring a fly ball in the outfield and robbing an opponent of a double with running grabs on the green grass of warm outfields on sunny days.

That was Dave Power as a boy and young man and it remained the case in recent years as he aged into his 80s. Nothing diminished his love of the game, not as a boy in Connecticut or a young man in Miami or an older one in Port Charlotte, where he lived his final years.

Power died July 5 at the age of 81 and is a posthumous 2019 honoree with the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame Brian Mullen Ambassador of Baseball Award.

All who knew Power even slightly, perhaps just playing against him occasionally on a Lee County ball field during the Roy Hobbs World Series, couldn’t help but notice that.

He was always eager to share a story and do so with a smile and a gleam in his eyes, one showing his affection not only for the game but its players.

Power’s HoF background report burst with loving tributes to a man who was clearly adored and respected.

Fellow Charlotte County resident Dave McLaughlin knew Power for more than 16 years and knew his friend’s welcoming nature.

“There is always room in the dugout for a new face,” McLaughlin said of Power’s guiding principles.

Sometimes McLaughlin would see a new guy and ask Power about him and this is what Power told him: “Well, I saw him at Publix today and he liked baseball so here he is.”

Dave and his Brother Brian
photo by Greg Wagner Dave Power (L) and brother Brian as RHWS friendly competitors.

That was Dave Power.

Joe DeRosa was an example. He never played in a baseball game until he was 58.

“Dave was so patient with me and all my bonehead mistakes that first year,” DeRosa said.

Eleven years later DeRosa is still playing. “I won’t even think of playing for anybody else,” DeRosa said.

Power’s enthusiasm and energy helped expand the scope of Roy Hobbs Baseball in Southwest Florida, adding teams and players up and down Florida’s west coast.

“In this past year, Dave is responsible for the expansion of Roy Hobbs Baseball in two additional counties of Sarasota and Charlotte,” teammate Felix Menendez said.

He wasn’t done at the time of his death. Menendez said Power’s goal was to add 4 more teams by the end of the year.

That was Dave Power.

It was always thus. …

Power started playing adult baseball in 1954 when he was 16 and residing in Norwalk, Conn. At the time he was a callow youth who found himself in a league that included Korean War veterans.  He held his own.

In 1970 he moved to Miami and played in a league that included Hispanic baseball legends such as Tony Oliva and Jose Tartabull. In 1986, Power moved across the state to Port Charlotte.

Wherever he lived and played Power was guided by an unwavering moral compass.

In the mid-1960s when he lived in Norwalk, 3 African-American brothers – Amos, Lyman and Willie Wilkes – wanted to bring a team into the league.

They didn’t have money or sponsorship for uniforms. Power told the Wilkes they were in luck because his team was getting rid of their uniforms and they could have them. All they had to do was change the lettering.

What the Wilkes Brothers didn’t know was that Power’s team didn’t intend to get new uniforms. Offering the uniforms was something Power thought of in the moment.

Power was then working as a real estate broker and helped one of the brothers find a new home in a nice neighborhood.

But the brother was a bit short on the down payment. Power gave him his commission so he could buy the new home in a nice area.

That was Dave Power.

That was the Dave Power who played baseball for 65 years and may still be playing on Elysium fields where the sun always shines, and the grass is always green, and he can continue squaring baseballs up on wooden bats.

Dave Power Ad

David McLaughlin

2018 Ambassador: McLaughlin, a leather wizard with a passion for everything baseball

BY GLENN MILLER
Roy Hobbs Baseball

David McLaughlin

You may not know his name. You may not know his story. Even if you don’t know his name you are still likely astounded by the craftsmanship of the man in a kiosk at the five-plex between the batting cages and clubhouses.

That man is David McLaughlin, a wizard at glove repair. Did your webbing break? Did a string snap? Is the glove’s leather drying up and brittle? Players know where to turn.

“They need help,” McLaughlin said. “I want to be there.”

He’s usually there at his kiosk five days a week during the four weeks of the Roy Hobbs World Series. He is a staple, a friendly face with astounding skills.

David McLaughlin is the 2018 winner of the Brian Mullen Ambassador of Baseball Award.

“It was a big surprise,” McLaughlin said. “A huge honor.”

McLaughlin turns 59 on Nov. 14 and is considered local by Fort Myers’ Roy Hobbs players. He resides in Port Charlotte, which is in Charlotte County, just north of Fort Myers. McLaughlin’s other job is as a heavy equipment operator for Charlotte County.

He has far more than local ties and showing up regularly for work during the World Series that contributed to his honor.

From the vetting report on his nomination: “He has demonstrated an ongoing passion for the game of baseball throughout his life. He is a positive influence on those he encounters, on and off the field.”

Any player who walks by the kiosk has no doubt picked up his energy and friendliness and an eagerness to help anybody with gloves or just chat about baseball.

He is a World Series staple. McLaughlin, the father of two grown sons, estimates he’s been repairing gloves at the World Series for nine or 10 years.

He has a motto: “Don’t miss an inning with your favorite glove.”

McLaughlin knows the comfort players feel with old and reliable gloves. The former varsity player at Waltham (Mass.) High School has used the same catcher’s mitt for 35 years, playing in adult leagues New England, Florida and the Roy Hobbs World Series.

It was at Waltham High that he began repairing gloves. He knows gloves are more than merely pieces of merchandise to players.

Journalist Mike Barnicle may have best summed up what gloves mean when he wrote this: “It’s your glove, your baseball glove. It’s got a soul, a memory all its own, and a future that never fades because it has never let go of the grasp the past has on you. …”

Perhaps then when players hand over gloves to McLaughlin they’re also handing over a piece of their souls. Who knew glove repair could be so profound.

Even if it isn’t David McLaughlin will be there at his kiosk five days a week ready to help repair a glove or just talk baseball.

Bonnie Fear, a lifetime of Baseball & family

BY GLENN MILLER
Roy Hobbs Baseball
Bill Fear knows something about the 2017 Roy Hobbs Brian Mullen Ambassador of Baseball Award winner that not everybody likely knows about Bonnie Fear.

“She’s been an ambassador of baseball her whole life,” Bill said of his wife.

He should know. They will celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary in February. Bill knows about Bonnie’s life in baseball, from playing as a girl to becoming a Little League coach at 18 when she ran a team where her younger brothers played.

Yes, Bonnie has always been about baseball, whether it’s rooting for the Chicago White Sox in the big leagues or managing the Windy City White Sox in the Roy Hobbs World Series.

Dominick Catinella is one of her players on the Windy City team. He first met Bonnie when she was 17 and working at a Jewel grocery store he was managing in the Chicago area. She is now 60.

Catinella still recalls taking younger employees out for pizza after work on Friday nights all those years ago. Catinella and Bonnie went their separate ways for several years and then when Bonnie was with Bill they crossed paths again.

“She would come to all of Billy’s games,” Catinella said.

Now and for the past seven years or so Bonnie’s former grocery store boss is one of her players.

“She’s fair and knows the game,” Catinella said. “And she usually makes the right decision.”

Catinella applauds her selection as the Ambassador. “I think she’s the perfect fit,” he said.

Bonnie Fear has balanced baseball with family for decades. She’s the mother of, as she put it, three “natural” kids and two foster children. She’s now the grandmother of eight “natural” kids and two foster kids.

Of course, some things changed over time. As a child, Bonnie was a Cubs fan. Then came marriage to Bill.

“He changed me into a White Sox fan,” Bonnie said.

But she’s always been a baseball fan. When she was 18 Bonnie volunteered to coach a little brother’s Little League. She was initially told no by league officials because, she said, they wanted men coaching.

But when not enough men volunteered the league president came to her house and asked her to coach.

Now, all these years later, her enthusiasm for the game hasn’t waned. She watches the Little League World Series every summer. “I hibernate in August like a bear in winter,” she said of watching televised Little League games.

This baseball woman earned the latest the Ambassador Award through decades of devotion to the game in general and Roy Hobbs Baseball in particular.
“Oh, gosh, I am so honored,” Bonnie said. “Everybody who knows me knows how much I love the game.”

Being singled out for selection out of what she sees as a vast field of potential Ambassadors stuns and nearly overwhelms Bonnie.

“There’s so many people in the Roy Hobbs family,” Bonnie said. “There’s so many people involved who could win the award.”
But there’s only one Bonnie Fear.

And there’s only one recipient of the 2017 Roy Hobbs Brian Mullen Ambassador Award.

“I’m speechless,” Bonnie said. “I’m in awe of this prestigious award.”

– Glenn Miller

Juliet Hawkins

Anybody connected with Roy Hobbs as a player or umpire likely knows the Cincinnati Colts and Hawkins a.k.a ‘Baby-Baby.’The Colts are known as a family and a big part of that is due to Juliet and her husband, Bob, a charter member of the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame, inducted in 2013. Bob is known simply as Hawk. Juliet is called Baby-Baby.’

Hawk and Baby-Baby, who married in 2003, have built a large baseball family. Juliet has become known as the “heart and soul” of the organization, which was founded in 1996 as a 45-plus team. And it is an organization.

Thanks in part to her dedication, love and guidance, the Colts are a family of more than 200 players, wives, children and friends. Each of them certainly knows the grown woman known as Baby-Baby.

Juliet is a fixture at Colts’ games, attending more than 100 games in each of the past 10 years or so.

Attending more than 100 games each year works out to more than 1,000 games over a decade.

And it’s about more than showing up and greeting people with a smile. Bob says her influence has helped build the Colts into a competitive organization, which has brought home 3 Roy Hobbs World Series titles, 4 second-place finishes and 10 bronze medals. All told, that comes to 17 World Series medals. That’s a lot of hardware by any measure.

No wonder she’s earned the honor of being one of the two 2016 Roy Hobbs recipients of the Brian Mullen Ambassador of Baseball Award.

– Glenn Miller

Bob Molbert

Bob Molbert is a world traveler. He has traveled to numerous foreign countries but for more than 40 years has also officiated in basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball. He has been a baseball coach, announcer and booster club official.

Molbert started umpiring at the Roy Hobbs World Series in 1995. But, that wasn’t enough for the tireless and dedicated Molbert. He became a field manager and a creative idea person for Roy Hobbs Baseball leaders. Now he’s a site manager and oversees managers’ check-in at the World Series.

Molbert is a familiar face of Roy Hobbs for many managers, players, fans and family members in his multiple roles.

He has represented Roy Hobbs at PDC, JetBlue, Terry Park and City of Palms, and is the Hobbs point-man for the annual Challenger Exhibition at CenturyLink Sports Complex. He works with Roy Hobbs on all of its Challenger projects, umpiring, serving ice cream, being a buddy and helping with directions.

Remember, Roy Hobbs Baseball isn’t an industry or factory manufacturing items. It’s in the people business, and Molbert is a people person who makes everyone feel welcome.

He’s a problem solver and an indispensible Ambassador of the game and Roy Hobbs.

No wonder he has earned the honor of being named one of the two 2016 Brian Mullen Ambassador of Baseball recipients.

– Glenn Miller

Chuck Nave: Spreading the Word…

Chuck Nave grew up playing baseball and working and living where thousands of Roy Hobbs players come every fall.

He has lived since infancy on Sanibel Island, attended Cypress Lake High School in south Fort Myers, lettering in football and basketball as well as baseball.

That’s where he met his future wife, Barb. They married in 1971 and share 2 children, an abiding Christian faith and, of course, a love of baseball.

Nave, 65, has combined his faith with baseball in recent years, spreading the word of both on missions to Moldova, a country the size of Maryland nestled between Romania and Ukraine.

He’s an inaugural Roy Hobbs Ambassador of Baseball recipient.

“We do a lot of talking about giving back to society, and to the game we love so much,” Roy Hobbs president Tom Giffen said. “Chuck embodies those principles. He doesn’t have to say much, he just lives what he believes, and we all benefit from that.”

Nave’s love of sports and faith merge in a quote he likes from the 1981 film “Chariots of Fire.” The movie chronicles a Scottish runner, Eric Liddell, who must balance his faith and love of running at the 1924 Olympics. “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast,” Liddell says. “And when I run I feel his pleasure.”

Barb said when Nave, a pitcher, played baseball the sensation was the same. “When he played baseball he felt God’s pleasure,” she said.

He spread the word of baseball to Moldova beginning in 2006, teaching children baseball and English and sharing his faith. Nave spent 3 weeks that year in Moldova. “They use baseball as a tool,” Barb said.

Both have seen the quality of play improve since 2006. Barb said in the beginning nobody wanted to play the outfield because nobody could hit baseballs to the outfield, something that Nave is as adept at as he is in keeping opposing hitters from doing.

At home, Nave is as accomplished in his profession as he is in baseball. He is a certified master plumber who retired in 2014.

And now he’s a certified Ambassador of Baseball.

– Glenn Miller

Brian Mullen: Ambassador Namesake

Every baseball fan knows about those rare creatures – five-tool players. Those are guys who can hit, hit with power, run, throw and field.

Brian Mullen, the first recipient – and namesake – of the Roy Hobbs Ambassador of Baseball Award, is a five-tool player, albeit 5 different tools.

Five tools? He’s got them in abundance.

• Scorekeeper
• Announcer
• Site manager
• Statistician / help seed playoff fields
• Customer relations

The last item may be the most important to the 56-year-old Mullen.

“The players are the real stars,” said Mullen, a Fort Myers resident. “If they didn’t come down I wouldn’t have a job.”

Mullen has been a fixture at the Roy Hobbs World Series since 1994, its second year in Fort Myers. He estimates he’s seen more than 1,500 Roy Hobbs World Series games in that time.

And it seems he can recall every game, team and player.

When Roy Hobbs Baseball vetted Mullen’s Ambassador candidacy, the praise gushed forth in geysers of compliments.

From Roy Hobbs Trustee Willie Boyd: “Brian is a walking computer, very helpful and a smile that’s very contagious.”

From umpire Tim McGoldrick: “Brian has affected me personally in life by witnessing a true man who loves baseball in all aspects.”

Manager Bonnie Fear: “Brian is the perfect example of the Ambassador to the game of baseball and the Roy Hobbs organization.”

Umpire Bob Spangler: “His presence is one of the reasons I look forward to going to Fort Myers every year. … He has affected my life by helping me realize that the event is not just about wins and losses but it is about the friendships and people at the event.”

From Roy Hobbs President Tom Giffen: “Brian sets the standard for working with customers on a one-on-one basis. He is the guy with the perpetual smile and a personal first-name greeting for everyone.”

Yes, Brian Mullen is an Ambassador with a capital “A.”

He does it all, like a five-tool player.

And he does with a smile for everybody.

– Glenn Miller

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