2018 Inductee Bios
(Click on a name below to view bio)
The Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame has inducted 8 members with its Class of 2018.
They were elected by the 61 current members of the Hall of Fame and the 14-member Board of Trustees in process that covered the summer months.
The Trustees also selected David McLaughlin to receive the Hall of Fame’s Brian Mullen Ambassador of Baseball award, which recognizes their Meritorious Service as an Ambassador of Amateur Baseball.
The eight honorees bring membership in the Hall of Fame to 69, all of whom are pictured on the Hall of Fame wall in Roy Hobbs Player Development Complex office reception area.
Adams: Passion, respect & memories
BY GLENN MILLER
Roy Hobbs Baseball
As Joe Adams received the news of his Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame election and began sharing it with friends and family he couldn’t help thinking about his brother, Mike.
Dr. Mike Adams will not be at the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Dr. Adams died Jan. 10, 2016, just a few weeks shy of his 50th birthday. He died from gliobastoma, the same brain cancer that killed Senator John McCain and Beau Biden, a son of former vice president Joe Biden.
Mike and Joe Adams played baseball together at Holy Cross High School in Delran Township, N. J. Joe Adams said they were co-captains in 1983, when he was a senior and Mike was a junior.
“He was a tremendous third baseman,” Joe said of his brother.
Joe recalls vividly the call he received from his kid brother with the diagnosis.
“He said, you need to be sitting down,’” Joe said.
Although he can’t share the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame honor with his brother, it still means a great deal to Adams, a 53-year-old resident of Monroe Township, N. J.
So does the Roy Hobbs World Series. As soon as one World Series ends, Adams and the players on his teams start looking ahead.
“We start talking about (next year) a couple weeks after we get home,” Adams said.
Adams is a big reason many teams and players return to Fort Myers from New Jersey every fall. And Adams was one of the first managers to use the Locker Room option.
Adams has earned his way to the Hall of Fame through an impressive mixed resume of playing, coaching and managing. He has the smarts and knowhow as his players will attest.
From Chris Hutchings: “Joe is the most professional and calculated player/manager I have ever played with. His character stands. … Even if you don’t agree with what he is always doing, you know he has put a lot of thought into it, and not just acting on straight emotion, or straight numbers, but rather baseball as a whole.”
His players also know about his love for the game.
From John Digirolamo: “I’ve known Joe for 25-plus years. What is infectious is not only his passion for the game of baseball but making sure that his teammates and players respect and play the game with that in mind.”
As Joe Adams goes into the Hall of Fame it’s certain he has something, or somebody else on his mind – his brother Mike.
And he said…
Why play baseball? “Baseball is played both in a physical sense but is also a game of strategy. It allows the crossover between the very strategic and the physical attributes necessary to compete. They say that hitting a baseball is the most difficult ‘thing’ to do in any sport, and I welcome that challenge every time I step up to the plate. I love the constant thinking that happens between a pitcher and batter, the fielders to a specific hitter also assuming a strategy on how they will be pitched in a particular AB. It is a team game yet has room for individual contributions.”
What keeps you playing? “It is not just the competition of playing but the teammates that I play with every day. Going to battle with guys you love and respect and don’t ever want to let down is the reason I keep playing this great game.”
How’d you get hooked on baseball? “I remember waking up every morning and the first thing that my brother and I did was look at yesterday’s box scores. There was no ESPN back then, and we barely saw games outside of who was playing in our local area, except on Monday Night Baseball.”
What do you say to people who think you play softball? “I usually try to explain but it works better when you show them video or ask them to attend a live game. Once they see the level of competition it is usually followed by an apology and a WOW, I can’t believe that you still play.”
What does it mean to be elected to the Hall of Fame? “What really makes me happy is to know that my teammates, who nominated me, along with the Roy Hobbs staff have recognized me for my contributions both on and off the field. It is with this honor, from them, that means the most to me.”
What’s your favorite baseball memory? “I could choose the 2003 Championship at Roy Hobbs or playing our local all-star game at Yankee Stadium in 1996. I could say it was the 23 hits in a week with 2 dingers at Hobbs (aluminum bats back then). They are all great memories. However, my younger brother passed from brain tumor in 2016 and in reflection I would have to say that my last year of High School baseball competing with my brother, both as team captains, is my favorite baseball memory. We both loved the game and loved to compete together in between the lines.”
Corte: A life dedicated to his baseball family
BY GLENN MILLER
Roy Hobbs Baseball
Steve Toth played for Jim Corte and knows about the respect, affection and love players showed for the man who founded and ran Jet Box Baseball for nearly half a century.
As Corte’s life ebbed away last December from cancer in a Detroit hospital, the staffers there learned what Corte meant to Jet Box players.
“They couldn’t believe the hundreds and hundreds of people who came to see him,” Toth said.
They came to see their friend and coach, a man who gave them a chance to play the game they love. Corte referred to each era of the team’s seven eras as a family.
Corte died Dec. 8, 2017 at the age of 71. Eleven months later Jim Corte is celebrated as a Roy Hobbs Hall of Famer.
Tom DiMambro is president of Jet Box Baseball and knows the Corte story.
“I am incredibly grateful and humbled to be a part of the Jet Box baseball empire that Jimmy Corte created,” said DiMambro, who has been part of Jet Box for more than 30 years.
“I was part of Jimmy’s dream, his legacy,” DiMambro said. “I was family and felt it all the time! Jimmy had a way of making you feel like you were his favorite. (That’s) probably why all of us would only play for Jimmy. Why we would do anything for him. Why we were so dedicated to him and Jet Box baseball. And why we loved him so much.”
Love is a word that pops up often in Jet Box baseball discussions.
DiMambro said Corte was a manager, not a coach.
“He never told a player how to swing a bat or how to catch a ball,” DiMambro said. “He knew better. But what he did was motivate you, believe in you, challenge you, and build your confidence. This is what made Jimmy a great manager. He kept away from trying to teach older baseball players how to play the game.”
Corte created a baseball haven.
“We all wanted a place to go to escape the reality of adult life and become a kid again, to put on those spikes and run in the dirt, to feel the baseball hit square on your bat barrel, to smell fresh cut grass, to put that baseball glove on and know you are catching everything that day,” DiMambro said.
It was about more than the game and the bat and the ball and the spikes and dirt and grass.
“He would organize parties so all of us could come together and enjoy each other,” DiMambro said. “He loved sending out baseball cards each year with a letter enclosed detailing the past season to all Jet Box current and retired players. … He was a riot to be around and lived life to the fullest.”
Clearly, a big part of his life was baseball. DiMambro said Corte could remember statistics and situation with uncanny recall and detail.
“He would remember your batting average 10 years ago, who was on second base when you hit your grand slam, how many games you won pitching from 1987 to 1992, and so on,” said DiMambro, who starting in 1987 and played 17 years for Jet Box.
Every one of Corte’s players likely has stories to share. Here is one from Toth that happened in East Detroit at Memorial Field:
A doubleheader was scheduled for Sunday but rain on Saturday swamped the field. Corte was at the field on Sunday with a broom trying to sweep water off the field.
That didn’t work. Toth said Corte then poured gasoline on the field and lit it.
“Unfortunately for Jimmy, he poured way too much gas on the infield and the ensuing fire got out of control,” Toth said. “The fire department was called and had to come and put out the fire. Jimmy was issued a citation and the games were cancelled. It was a sight to see Jimmy running around the field when the fire got out of control.”
Jet Box players, according to Toth, laughed as Corte ran around as the fire raged.
“He was kind of mad at us,” Toth said. “We couldn’t stop laughing.”
Now, Jimmy Corte is gone but Jet Box remains.
To find more, go to the team’s website, jetboxbaseball.com. Click on team history and scroll through the Seven Families that comprise the club’s rich tradition spanning essentially half a century.
At the bottom of the team history one will read this from a new Roy Hobbs Hall of Famer:
“Thanks to all the 700 player-friends that have made JET BOX Baseball a success. Without good cooperation this venture could not continue into the new millennium. This is the reason behind JET BOX Baseball-friends and a common desire to keep hardball alive.
“As we men find love hard to express let me be the one to say I love each family as if my blood relative and I am a lucky man.
“Thanks for listening.
“Your Coach, Jim Corte.”
Doucette: Stunned, shocked & humbled
BY GLENN MILLER
Roy Hobbs Baseball
When a future baseball player named Paul Doucette entered the world on Aug. 16, 1948, perhaps the greatest player and certainly most famous one ever was leaving it.
Doucette was born the day Babe Ruth died.
“Ain’t that something,” Doucette said.
Now, the 70-year-old resident of Halifax, Mass., is going into the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame. That is also something.
“Stunned, shocked,” Doucette said of his reaction to the news. “Couldn’t believe it and somewhat embarrassed and humbled.”
He has no reason to be embarrassed. Doucette earned his election because of decades in adult baseball as a player, coach, manager and administrator. Doucette is the founder or co-founder of 5 leagues in his part of New England. That includes 3 Roy Hobbs leagues.
Heck, he might be the Babe Ruth of adult baseball administration around Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Doucette’s been at it this adult baseball avocation for half a century, ever since at the age of 20 he played for the Weymouth, Mass., town team.
To put that on a big-league baseball timeline, 1968 was the final year before divisional play and the year Bob Gibson posted a 1.12 ERA for the Cardinals and Denny McLain won 31 games for the Tigers.
As the years rolled by, Doucette became co-founder of the 48-plus and 55-plus Boston Amateur Baseball League and was a co-founder of the Rhode Island Massachusetts league in 2 age divisions.
Doucette’s life away from Roy Hobbs is centered on athletics and leadership, two things that have been cornerstones of his education career at Bridgewater State University and baseball life.
“Paul Doucette has been a school teacher and mentor to youth for many years,” said Carl Rakich in his Hall of Fame nomination report.
Doucette has also played in 18 of the past 20 World Series. But it is his organizational wizardry that allows many men in his part of the country to play baseball.
“If not for Paul Doucette’s vision, over 50 baseball would be very scarce in Massachusetts/Rhode Island,” said Hall of Fame reference Gary Pisa.
Doucette’s search for players doesn’t mean just adding players or teams to say he has added more teams and players. He looks for the right sort of men for his teams.
“Some combination of skills, attitude and cooperation,” Doucette said.
Doucette also likes the challenge of creating teams and leagues.
“Making something out of nothing,” Doucette said.
In the 70 years since Babe Ruth died he has made a lot of something, and his own baseball history.
And he said…
Why play baseball? “It’s in my blood. Couldn’t stop if I wanted to. To keep a healthy balance in life. Love the challenge of applying my skills in game situations. Love the mental/emotional challenge of ‘playing chess’ on a ball field.”
What keeps you playing? “All of the above plus the Roy Hobbs mantra – because I still can.”
How did you get hooked on baseball? “As an 8–year-old in 1956 in Weymouth Landing, when the neighborhood kids started playing in an open lot behind the stores of the Landing. I found out I was good at it! And I was good at finding the one ball we used when it got lost in the tall bushes.”
What do you say to people who think you play softball? “Here’s how it usually goes … ‘Ya, play baseball in two older men’s leagues?’ ‘You mean softball?’ ‘No! I mean baseball. You know, stealing, sliding, bunting and all that.’ Then they look at me very closely again and wonder… and then I say ‘And I’m good at it. In case they wonder by appearance whether I can really play or not.’
What does it mean being elected to the Hall of Fame? “I’m still sorting this out. Never dawned on me that I might get such awesome recognition for what I’ve done since the summer of 2002 when I decided I can do this manager thing. Gonna give it a shot in ’03. Beyond that still stunned and shocked, but, beginning to embrace the whole idea and go with it for all it’s worth. I guess it’s also proof that I was once on this earth!’
What’s your favorite baseball memory? “Most vivid Roy Hobbs memory: Two years ago, came in to pitch losing 8-0, no outs in third inning. Pitched 8 innings well enough, with a lot of defensive help of course, to get a 10th inning shoot out W with a called third against a lefty to end it!”
Eddy: Committed “old-schooler”
BY GLENN MILLER
Roy Hobbs Baseball
Steve Eddy is a baseball player and has been for most of his 63 years. He is now retired and living in a sprawling central Florida retirement haven, The Villages.
Softball is the game there.
“Thousands of players,” Eddy said. “Five different levels for men. Two levels for women.”
Eddy, though, remains committed to the game of baseball and that commitment explains how he earned election into the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame. He’s not ready to give up hardball for the game played by thousands of his neighbors.
“They all want to bat .700 and run 60-foot bases not 90 feet,” Eddy said.
No, Steve Eddy is old school in the best sense of the word. He’s playing the sport where a .300 average is a benchmark for excellence and the bases are 30 feet farther apart.
He’s so committed to baseball that he drives about an hour one way to Clearwater on Florida’s west coast to play baseball in leagues.
Eddy has committed to Roy Hobbs since 1999 in a big way. He not only plays, he manages. His teams have won titles in different age groups and divisions and he has even umpired in 3 World Series.
Eddy nominator Rob Race described him as a “compassionate individual who would give you the shirt off his back. … When I purchased my first house in 1981 in Georgetown, Mass., I wanted to put a deck in our back yard. I did not have the resources to pay for a contractor to build it, nor did I have the skill set to do it myself.
“Without hesitation, after discussing the situation with Steve at a baseball game, he said he would do it, and help guide me along the way. He gave up his own time, on a weekend, to help a friend. This is something I will never forget.”
That same dedication carries over to building teams around his hometown of Topsfield, Mass. He played on the Topsfield Tories from 1973 to 1995 and helped his team win 5 league titles between 1976 and 1992.
Over the past 20 years he’s helped promote and build Roy Hobbs Baseball.
“He has been instrumental in the formation and administration of men’s senior baseball leagues in Massachusetts and New Hampshire,” teammate Randy Sabino said. “Steve’s enthusiasm is infectious and brings out the best in all of us.”
Said teammate Rick Cole: “I am positive that adult baseball in the town of Topsfield, Mass. would be no more without Steve Eddy,” Cole said.
Like many Roy Hobbs players Eddy has had to battle through injuries and surgeries to continue playing. Eddy said he has had 14 operations. There have been 8 knee operations, including 2 replacements.
Both shoulders have been operated on and a biceps tendon and a sports hernia and his right thumb.
He doesn’t know how much longer he can play but he is back this year and now he’s a Hall of Famer.
“It’s like the icing on the cake,” Eddy said.
And he said…
Why play baseball? “I’m sure I got involved in baseball the same way as most kids. My dad was a baseball guy and my friends were getting into it, so I started Little League at age 9.”
What keeps you playing? “As a manager, I love the strategy of baseball compared to softball … As a player, I think that the ability to play baseball at our age is a gift. A lot of people are not physically able to do this and are restricted to less active pursuits. I will continue to play and manage as long as I am able.”
How did you get hooked on baseball? “I got hooked on baseball as a little kid. I fed the addiction not only by playing, but I also became a Strat-O-Matic fanatic. I’m still involved in multiple leagues involving that game to this day. Bringing multiple teams to the RHWS every fall is really a year-round activity that keeps me involved with the game.”
What do you say to people who think you play softball? “Living in a community that boasts over 3,000 softball players leaves me constantly explaining that I play BASEBALL. Whenever I meet new people here and the conversation moves to sports, the topic of baseball vs. softball always comes up. Most people are surprised/shocked that I’m still doing baseball.”
What does it mean to be elected to the Hall of Fame? “It is not only a great honor, but it really puts an exclamation point on my overall baseball career, as well as my 20 years at the RHWS. Having several family members in attendance, including my dad, gives it an added significance for me.”
What is your favorite baseball memory? “Difficult to come up with just one. Winning 4 consecutive championships (‘76-’79) in an open men’s league in Mass., winning our first Hobbs championship in 2001 with both my brothers and dad involved, or the trip to Cincinnati for my 50th birthday that my brother took me on. It was a return to the neighborhood where we spent 4 years as kids and having my name on the video board at the Reds stadium while we were in attendance was awesome.”
Knight: Synonymous with Canadian Senior Baseball
BY GLENN MILLER
Roy Hobbs Baseball
Every Roy Hobbs Hall of Famer is a significant figure in his or her baseball community. That’s a given.
Then there’s Canadian Hall of Famer Richie Knight. He is bigger than a city or county or state or even a province.
Nominator Greg MacDonald said the Mississauga, Ontario, resident is president of the Canadian National Baseball Federation and the head of the Vintage Baseball Federation of Ontario. “Both have thrived under Richie’s leadership,” he said. “He consolidated 3 regions across 5,000 miles to help baseball players continue playing.”
American baseball players may not be aware of Knight’s contributions, but his countrymen know and that helps explain his election to the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame.
“In Canada the name Richie Knight is synonymous with old-time baseball,” said teammate Ken Collett. “I truly believe his contributions are second to none. … And have not gone unnoticed with his players and competitors.”
His accomplishments in Canada are extraordinary and include winning a record 10 Canadian championships since 1993 while managing the Oakville Golden A’s.
If his resume reads like a Hall of Famer, there is a reason for that. Knight is already in 2 halls of fame – the Vintage Baseball Federation of Ontario Hall of Fame and the Central Ontario Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
Knight appreciates the honors but of all the things that make the sport great, the No. 1 feature on the list for Knight may be camaraderie.
“You hit the nail on the head,” Knight said.
Now, comes the highest honor in Roy Hobbs. His reaction? “Ecstatic, overwhelmed and humbled,” he said.
Knight has been a fixture at the Roy Hobbs World Series since 2005. When Hall of Fame trustees looked at his candidacy they noted how he helps players.
“Without Richie, many players would not be playing baseball,” said Collett. “He has kept Provincial Championships alive in different age brackets. He has helped maintain and grow interest in vintage baseball across Canada.”
“His tireless dedication has enabled many men to play baseball,” teammate Greg McEachern said. “Many players are proud to call him coach and just as many are proud to call him friend.”
Knight just continues building teams and bringing teams to Florida for the Roy Hobbs World Series and growing baseball in Ontario and all through Canada. His energy and enthusiasm have fueled his career, but Knight knows a few things about all he has done.
One of those things he knows is that his election to the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame wouldn’t be possible without the Canadians who suit up on his teams year after year.
“Without the players that commit to our team year in and year out, I would not be placed in the position to accept this award,” Knight said.
Knight is touched by this honor. “This to me, is the ultimate and a privilege in being recognized by Roy Hobbs. It is a great honor, after all the years I have been in baseball.”
This honor is also a tribute to Knight’s players. As his Hall of Fame report notes: “Everyone wants to play for Richie.”
And he said…
Why play baseball? “Love the game. When I was young we played baseball in summer and hockey in the winter life was so much easier.”
What keeps you playing? “My teammates and the love of the game, meeting new people and helping younger and older players alike.”
How did you get hooked on baseball? “All the older guys would play in the playground so I just want to follow their tradition. We used to play wall ball which you only needed 2 players on each team, it was the closest thing to playing hardball.”
What do you say to people who think you play softball? “Once you play the real game it is hard to play fastball or slow pitch even though I played both when growing up.”
What does it mean to be elected to the Hall of Fame? “Everything! I remembered when we started our team for oldtimers in Oakville in1988 and how much fun that was and then doing very well in the National Oldtimer Tournament, but this award is the pinnacle of this journey in baseball.”
What’s your favorite baseball memory? “Two favorite memories. No. 1 was winning the Province of Ontario Senior Baseball Championship in 1976 and winning the first ever Canadian National Championship in 1993 and hopefully one day winning a Roy Hobbs Division.”
Fester: Life by the numbers… 7,9,2
BY GLENN MILLER
Roy Hobbs Baseball
Multiple surgeries are common for Roy Hobbs players. Rob Fester is no exception.
His surgery count stands at 7. At the moment.
But how many players have nearly as many Halls of Fame memberships on his resume as surgeries? And need to go to fingers on a second hand to count each?
At the moment Fester’s surgeries hold a 7-6 lead over Halls of Fame for this 53-year-old Pittsburgh resident.
The Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame is his sixth such honor, following the Mars Area High School, Butler Eagle Semi-Pro, Butler City Sports and National Semi-Pro Baseball and Point Park University.
He’s had shoulder, knee and elbow surgery. He’s had his left knee replaced.
Surgeries and halls of fame aren’t his only souvenirs of a baseball life well lived. Fester has also played on at least 9 Roy Hobbs championship teams. When the report on Fester was submitted to Hall of Fame electors it noted he was more than a member of those teams. It said in all capitals that he was “KEY” pitcher on the championship squads.
Another significant number for Fester is 2. That is how many infants from Guatemala he and his wife, Michele, adopted.
Josselyn was adopted at 4½ months and is now a high school senior. Alex was adopted at 6 months and is now a high school freshman.
“The best thing that ever happened to us,” Fester said.
Even better than any Hall of Fame. But don’t discount the impact of the latest Hall of Fame.
When Fester called Michele with news about the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame she was in a car with their daughter and the speakerphone was on.
“I could hear both of them yell ‘Yay, daddy!” Fester said.
Many others are also celebrating Fester’s election. Teammates and opponents alike know about his skill and competitiveness.
Hall of Famer (2014) Billy Devine, Fester’s manager on Pittsburgh squads at Roy Hobbs for almost 20 years and teammate for some 30 years, is unfettered in his opinion: “I believe Rob is the most valuable player to play in Roy Hobbs Baseball since he started in the mid-90s. He has pitched and hit in the middle of our lineup for over 20 years. He always faces the best teams, (Puerto Rico, Border City, HPK Oilers, Akron A’s) and on numerous occasions pitched Thursday and both games on Saturday to win AAAA titles. Probably the most mentally tough teammate I’ve ever played with or coached.”
“Rob Fester loves to play baseball more than anyone I have ever met,” teammate Paul Westwood said. “He puts his body through hell to play. Countless arm and knee surgeries over the years just so he can continue to play.”
Fester’s job is also demanding. He’s worked at UPS for nearly 30 years. That’s nearly 30 years of driving and getting out of one of those brown trucks and then climbing back into it.
He’s not done playing or going under anesthesia. He has rotator cuff surgery scheduled for January.
But you can count on Rob Fester returning to the field. Rob Fester always returns.
And he said…
Why play baseball? “I love the game. Every spring, that first ‘smell’ of baseball. Everything is new all over again. I love being around my teammates. The camaraderie of being on a team. There is a bond there that you cannot explain to people. You have to be there to understand it. I am sure it’s like that in almost all sports, but if you don’t play, you don’t understand it. It doesn’t mean anything to anyone else in the world, so explaining it is useless. If you play the game, you understand what I am trying to say.”
What keeps you playing? “I think ‘Why Stop?’ might be my best answer. I love the game. I’ve been playing baseball since I was 6-years-old. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t play baseball. I’m sure I would fill that void with something, but, I enjoy baseball and I can still compete, so why stop?”
How’d you get hooked on baseball? “I am a third-generation player in my family. My grandfather and father were both really good sandlot players back in their day. So I think it might just be part of my DNA. I remember going to their games and being the batboy. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to play like them.”
What do you say to people who think you play softball? “I have some really good friends that play softball and they get mad when I say, “We throw over handed.”
What does it mean to be elected to the Hall of Fame? “It is just a huge honor. Being a pitcher most of my life, my success and the team’s success depends largely on my teammates. I have had so many great teammates. Without those guys, I would not be in this position. It’s an honor that I share with all of them.”
What’s your favorite baseball memory? “I think my favorite memory comes from the movie Field of Dreams. When Ray Kinsella asks his Dad ‘wanna have a catch?’ Not only does that scene bring back emotions, but it also brings back memories of when my Dad and I used to play catch. I remember being in high school and legion ball. We would go to the field 3 hours before the game. We would play catch, hit batting practice, and take ground balls for hours. I can’t remember what happened in any of those games, but I can remember ‘having a catch’ like it happened yesterday.”
Scheetz: A “repaired” hitting machine
BY GLENN MILLER
Roy Hobbs Baseball
What happened to Rick Scheetz on a typically sweltering summer day in Florida in 2016 was described in his Hall of Fame report as a heart attack. Not quite, according to Scheetz.
“It wasn’t a heart attack,” Scheetz said.
He said it was something else but something still scary – dehydration and AFIB. AFIB is atrial fibriliation, which, according to heart.org, causes “quivering or irregular heartbeats” and it can lead to even more serious health issues such as blood clots, stroke and heart failure.
“I got rushed off in an ambulance,” said Scheetz.
That ambulance ride sounds scary enough to compel many ballplayers to give up the game. Not Rick Scheetz, who resides in Sanford, Fla. He’s 59 years old and has been playing since he was 5.
He’s been excelling since his boyhood in upstate New York and still excels. That’s what has earned him election into the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame. He’s been an MVP at the Roy Hobbs World Series playing for teams such as the Orlando Brewers, Palm Bay Americans, Orlando Indians and Orlando Juice.
Scheetz has played in the World Series for more than 20 years. He’s played well here as he’s played everywhere in his life. Scheetz was an All-Sun Belt Conference infielder at Jacksonville in 1981, when he hit .420.
His name is still sprinkled through the Jacksonville record book. His.420 average is the fourth-best single-season average in Jacksonville history. His career average of .366 ranks tied for ninth all-time. He is tied with current Chicago Cub Daniel Murphy.
Scheetz was good enough to earn a shot at pro ball, playing in the Midwest League in 1982 for the Wisconsin Rapids Twins. He even hit in pro ball, compiling a .268 average with four homers in 65 games.
He’s continued hitting in his two decades playing Roy Hobbs and helped lead teams to championships in various age divisions. The uncanny ability that allowed him to hit .420 in Division 1 college baseball in 1981 has been a signature of Scheetz’s game in adult rec ball.
“I’ve never seen him hit a Texas Leaguer,” said teammate Steve Dercole. “Everything is a rocket. Always hitting the ball on the screws.”
He hits and hits and hits. …
Nope, the Scheetz hitting machine wasn’t ready to quit after that scary summer incident in 2016.
“Not Rick,” said Jose Rosado, who nominated Scheetz for the Hall of Fame. “He got back on the field and has led us to our last 2 World Series championships.”
Scheetz, though, has learned from the incident. He knows now more than ever to stay hydrated on ballfields, especially in Florida’s relentless summer heat and humidity.
“A lesson well-learned,” Scheetz said.
Look for Rick Sheetz this year in batters’ boxes around Lee County and perhaps also by water coolers. He will likely continue hitting and making sure he drinks plenty of water.
He sure doesn’t want another ambulance ride. That’s a lesson he won’t forget.
And he said…
Why play baseball? “Like many guys, I’ve been playing baseball since I was 5-years-old. My father was always my coach. My family always enjoyed going to my games. I played Little League, high school, college, minor leagues, summer leagues and adult leagues, like Roy Hobbs, which has given me the opportunity to continue to play. I have a longtime love for the game of baseball.”
What keeps you playing? “I’ve been lucky to find a group of guys who play the game the right way, meaning they are great players and great guys. Playing good baseball and winning games makes the sport fun.”
How did you get hooked on baseball? “I started playing baseball at a young age with my Dad. I liked to practice and learn the game. I had some success early and developed a passion for the game. I spent hours swinging a bat while listening to Phil Rizzuto and Yankees games on the radio growing up! Holy Cow!”
What do you say to the people who think you play softball? “I have nothing against softball. After college when there were not any baseball leagues I played a lot of softball and many tournaments. But when people think I play softball I correct them. We usually have a conversation about the quality of older guys playing baseball.”
What does it mean to be elected to the Hall of Fame? “The Roy Hobbs baseball organization has been successful for more than 30 years. It is well-known amongst the baseball amateur community with many players participating year after year. I’ve played in the tournament for 22 years, most of those years playing for 2 weeks. I have enjoyed and looked forward to those 2 weeks every year. Being elected to the Hall of Fame shows me that fellow teammates, opposing players and Roy Hobbs officials appreciated the way I played the game. I was lucky to play with many good players who helped win our share of games and tournaments, which paved the way for players like myself to win individual awards. This is a great award and I appreciate being elected to the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame.”
What’s your favorite baseball memory? “One of my favorite baseball memories is hitting a 3-run home run in the eighth inning against powerhouse University of Miami giving them their first loss of the year in 1980.”
Shevlin: An “Energizer” pitching bunny, having fun
BY GLENN MILLER
Roy Hobbs Baseball
Mike Shevlin is a man with a rubbery, resilient right arm, a side-arming marvel who pitches inning after inning after inning. …
He has done it year after year after year. … Season after season after season. …
And, at 69, Shevlin still pitches.
It’s on his legacy as a tireless and winning pitcher that Shevlin was elected to the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame. The Fort Myers resident has played on 6 Roy Hobbs World Series championship teams. He has been elected his team’s MVP by teammates at least 12 times.
Shevlin reacted to this honor by pointing out most Hall of Famers are men and women who work behind the scenes as organizers. “I’m not sure I’m deserving,” he said.
Hall of Fame voters clearly think otherwise. “I just put my spikes on and go have a blast,” Shevlin said.
Playing with and behind Shevlin is a blast because he is a pitcher who works swiftly and efficiently.
Hall of Famer (2013) and nominator Fran Podraza has managed Shevlin and knows what a remarkably effective and reliable pitcher he has been and even remains as he nears 70, 20 years after he first started playing Roy Hobbs. “If I was starting a new team tomorrow, Mike would be the first player I would recruit, regardless of age group,” Podraza said.
Shevlin’s devastating and always moving side-arm fastballs bore in on right-handed hitters and away from lefties. That may explain why he can still pitch against men a little more than half his age and get them out.
Teammate Eric Reese said Shevlin once pitched a no-hitter in a league game against men who were “on an average, 25 years younger.”
How effective is this Methuselah of the Mound? Last year at the age of 68 his teammates on the Hooters Owls voted him MVP in the 35-plus age division.
In addition to his talent teammates past and present and managers past and present know about the man as well as the arm.
Teammate Mike Miller said Shevlin is a leader by example. “In 20 years plus of playing ball with Mike I have never heard him say one negative thing about another player,” he said.
Long-time teammate Kevin Goodlet also praised Shevlin’s character. “Through all the years I have never seen Mike Shevlin argue a ball or strike with a home plate umpire,” he said.
But making a scene is not Shevlin’s way. Nor is showboating or taunting or bragging.
What does he enjoy about playing baseball?
“It’s fun because of my teammates,” Shevlin said.
The game has been in Shevlin’s heart since Little League and he has no intention of quitting now. Expect to see him at the 2018 World Series as well as the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
“The Roy Hobbs World Series is the best game in town!” Shevlin said.
And Mike Shevlin is one of its best players.
He has been for a very long time. Inning after inning …. Game after game … Season after season …
All the way to the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame.
And he said…
Why play baseball? “I’ve played organized baseball since fifth grade. I’ve played baseball since before I can remember, at playgrounds, back yards, a million throws at a brick wall and rocks at trees, sometimes hitting a window or two. So to answer the question, I guess I like to throw things. I still have all of my baseball hats Little League, Babe Ruth, High School, College, and all my Roy Hobbs hats.”
What keeps you playing? “I can’t think of any reason not to. I love the game. I love the guys who I play with. The game keeps me fit, and it’s fun to win games and try to strike out 30-somethings. As long as I’m healthy and can help my team, I’m going to play!”
How did you get hooked on baseball? “It’s always been part of my life. My Dad started rolling the ball to me when I was born. I guess it’s in my DNA.”
What do you say to people who think you play softball? “I let them know it’s HARD BALL. Most can’t believe I still play baseball. But I guess to play the game when you are 69 years old baseball has to be your passion.”
What does it mean to be elected to the Hall of Fame? “A great honor is the least I can say. No one person can play well without the rest of the Team. For me to be elected is not just for me but for all the team members that I have played with. It’s far greater than just me. It’s hard for me to express my true feelings, but I truly love baseball, my team. This is the highlight of my Baseball career. Unless the Minnesota Twins sign me!“
What’s your favorite baseball memory? “The first year of little league (the Lions). Catching a fly ball over the center field fence robbing someone of a home run. I knew this was my game!”