Reflections on Receiving the Bob Parker Memorial Award

Chad Gramling Accepting the 2012 Bob Parker Memorial Award

Chad Gramling Accepting the 2012 Bob Parker Memorial Award

Several years ago now, I attended my first Northeast Indiana Baseball Association Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Banquet. If memory serves, the News Sentinel’s Blake Sebring received the Bob Parker Memorial Award.

At the time, I didn’t really have much of a clue who Bob Parker was and the significance he had on the sport in Northeast Indiana.

As my knowledge and understanding of the man increased, I attended more banquets and saw many other greats earn the high honor that is given in Parker’s name. In 2007, it was awarded to long-time sportscaster Kent Horman. The next year, to former Fort Wayne Daisies’ Isabel Alvarez. Then to Dona Schaefer, and the News-Sentinel’s Don Converset in the two years that followed up until this one.

To say that I am in good company is an understatement. I’m just a goofball with a book and a blog!

But that book and blog has created opportunities for me to talk with people who knew Bob Parker. I’ve talked with good friends, counterparts and people who considered him a father figure of sorts. I can’t explain the look in their eyes that they get when the reflect upon Bob, other than to say I have no doubt they are reflecting fondly as they wax nostalgic for those moments. Clearly, Bob had an impact in their lives. And that’s why I considered it such a great honor to have been recognized in the same breath as Bob Parker.

I have had a few people ask me to share the words that I said in accepting the Bob Parker award this year. Since I am that goofball with the blog, it’s pretty easy. :) There were several spots that I went off script, but it’s what I meant to say. So, without further ado, here goes…

Before I get started, I want to first acknowledge two things: One, God’s timing is perfect and two, I have a wonderful wife who is here tonight on – of all nights – her birthday.

I’ll never forget what my father said to me when I was twelve years old and told him I was done playing organized baseball. He said to me “once you get out, it’s really tough to get back in.” As the years went on, I found that wisdom to be true in pretty much any aspect of life.

In my senior year of in high school, I set a new life goal – to one day see my name printed as the author on the front cover of book. You see, I had realized I was a better story teller than ball player. And that’s how I have come to view Bob Parker. I never had the honor of knowing him personally, but through his writing, his art and talks with those who knew him best, I’ve grown to know him as master storyteller focusing in on one of the greatest human passions imaginable.

Bob shared widely acknowledged and lesser known stories, feats and facts about the game, and specifically as they related to our little corner of the world. Without his commitment to his craft, we would have lost much of our accomplishments, bragging rights and sports glory. The stories would have been lost with those who lived them.

In 2006, I realized my dream when I opened a FedEx box and saw the advance copy of Baseball in Fort Wayne. I might as well have been a rookie stepping in for my first big league at bat. I looked at the book and thanked God the cover looked better than imagined and – my name had been spelled correctly.

It was also at that time, perhaps just like Bob Parker once had, I realized I am no author. I am a teller of stories. And those stories belong to coaches, players, teams, umpires, front offices. Even mascots. They’re stories of triumph, heartache, accomplishment and resilience of human spirit. They’re about ambitions and dreams.

And my dream, the dream of being a part of a big league club had also been realized. Because these are your stories and you all – everyone in this room whether physically or in spirit – are that big league squad. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to be just a small part of it.

And if he were here today, it be with enormous pride that I’d tell my father “dad, I found a way back in”.

Hunter is a Tiger; Parrino & Werner to Oakland

Some former Wizards and TinCaps are in the Hot Stove news.

  

Former Fort Wayne Wizard, Torii Hunter has made it official with Detroit, signing a $26 million, two-year deal.

“To win it all, they’re just like me. They don’t know what it feels like,” Hunter said. “If there’s no failure, there’s no progress. These guys are hungry for it.”

In other Fort Wayne Alumni news, two former TinCaps are on their way to Oakland. Switch hitting infielder, Andy Parrino and pitcher, Andrew Werner have been traded to the A’s for for right-handed pitcher Tyson Ross and minor-league first baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones.

“My first thought was I was excited, because I was going to a team who had a great season last year and made it to the playoffs,” Parrino said, “but it will be tough leaving my first organization. Coming up with the Padres was a great experience, and I met and learned a lot from a lot of great players and coaches.”

Parrino was selected by the Padres in the 26th round of the 2007 draft out of LeMoyne College. This past season, Parrino hit .207 with 1 home run and 6 RBI in 55 games with San Diego.

Werner was signed by the San Diego Padres as an amateur free agent in 2010. He appeared in 12 games with the TinCaps in 2011, compiling a 2-6 record with  52 strike outs over 68 innings. In 2012, he appeared in 8 games with the Padres, going 2-3 with 35 K’s over 40.1 innings pitched.

Blake Tekotte Traded to ChiSox

Blake Tekotte

Former Fort Wayne TinCaps player, Blake Tekotte, has been traded to the Chicago White Sox following being designated for assigned on November 2. In return for the outfielder, the Padres pick up pitcher Brandon Kloess.

The 25-year-old Tekotte was San Diego’s third round pick in the 2008 draft and has hit .163 in 55 career at-bats at the Major League level. With the TinCaps in 2009, he hit .258 with 13 home runs and 56 RBI in 530 at bats.

Following the trade, Tekotte tweeted (from his personal Twitter account @blaketekotte): “Thanks to the @Padres for the opportunities they have given me. Looking forward to a new chapter with the @whitesox! #ChiTown”

Related: Autographs-Blake Tekotte

 

Baseball in Fort Wayne Available in eBook – JUST $2.99 through October 1st

Today, I learned that Baseball in Fort Wayne is now available in eBook format for booth Kindle and Nook. AND, there’s a special $2.99 price promotion going on right now! The offer will end on midnight Tuesday October 1st, 2012. Don’t wait.

Buy Baseball in Fort Wayne Now in the Kindle Store on Amazon.com right now!

NEIBA Announces HOF Inductees and Awards Honorees

I am very honored and humbled to be selected as this year’s Bob Parker Memorial Award recipient by the Northeast Indiana Baseball Association. Also on that night, Jim Shovlin will be honored with the Colin Lister Award and we’ll be inducting former Major League Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick, local umpire Dave Switzer, and long-time Huntington North baseball coach Don Sherman into the Hall of Fame. For more information about this year’s ceremony or to order tickets for the November 9th event, visit the NEIBA website.

Former Wizards, David Pauley Suspend 50 Games

Former Fort Wayne Wizards pitcher, David Pauley has been suspended 50 games for a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment program. It is his second such violation and is not a matter of steroids or PEDs.

Pauley pitched 58 games for the Mariners in 2010 and ’11 before being included in the trade with Detroit on July 30, 2011 that sent Doug Fister to the Tigers for a package that included Casper Wells and Charlie Furbush. He had pitched so well for the Mariners in the first half of the 2011 season that he was briefly considered a longshot All-Star candidate.

But Pauley struggled with the Tigers, compiling a 6.41 ERA in 14 games after the trade, and was released during spring training of this year. The Angels signed him on March 23, and brought him to the majors on May 7, but he was designated for assignment on June 18 and claimed by the Blue Jays. Pauley was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on July 2 and became a free agent. The Mariners signed him on July 12 and assigned him to Tacoma.

In 20 games with the Rainiers, which incuded seven starts (and one complete game), Pauley was 3-2 with a 2.43 ERA. He last pitched on Tuesday, a scoreless inning against Reno. [Seattle Times]

In 2001, the San Diego Padres drafted David Pauley out of high school in the eighth round. In 2003 with the Wizards, he posted a 7-7 record with a 3.29 earned run average to go along with 117 strikeouts and 38 bases on balls over 117.2 innings pitched. He started in 21 of his 22 games and did earn one save as a Wizard.

I Saw Them in Fort Wayne: Jerry Sands

Wow! Can you believe this blockbuster trade that the Boston Red Sox have swung with the LA Dodgers?!?!? Gone from beantown is Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto and Carl Crawford. Coming back in return is James Loney and a handful of prospects. One such prospect is Jerry Sands (who I actually thought had a higher upside than Mike Trout – shows what I know!). Both Sands and Trout were part of the Home Run Derby during the Midwest League All-Star Game festivities in 2010. Here’s one of the many hacks Sands took…

Jerry Sands at the Midwest League All-Star Game in 2010

Jerry Sands at the Midwest League All-Star Game in 2010

Andrew Werner is 111th Fort Wayne Alum to Reach MLB

Andrew Werner, a member of the 2011 Fort Wayne TinCaps, became the 111th former Fort Wayne player to reach the major leagues, as he made his Major League Baseball debut last night for the San Diego Padres.

 

Werner, 25, made 12 starts for the TinCaps in 2011, posting a 2-6 record with 3.44 ERA. In 68 innings he struck out 52 and walked 13. He had gone 5-10 with a 3.70 ERA over 22 starts between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson this season.

 

The West Peoria, Illinois, native signed with the Padres as a free agent in 2010. He had previously played in the independent Frontier League after finishing his career at the University of Indianapolis.

 

In his Padres debut the lefthander worked six innings and allowed two runs. He struck out two and walked four as the Padres defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-2.

Pedro Hernandez Makes MLB Debut

2010 Fort Wayne TinCaps pitcher, Pedro Hernandez was roughed up in his Major League Baseball debut last night with the Chicago White Sox. Hernandez becomes the 110th former Fort Wayne player to appear in a major league game.

Hernandez, 23, pitched in 29 games with the TinCaps in 2010, working to a 4-3 record and a 4.04 ERA. In 100 1/3 innings, he struck out 79 and walked 17. He made 13 starts, going 3-0 in those outings.

The Venezuelan-born Hernandez began his career with the Padres in 2007 and was traded, along with the author of the only no-hitter in Fort Wayne franchise history, Simon Castro, to the White Sox this off-season.

In his debut Wednesday night, Hernandez pitched four innings against the Boston Red Sox. He gave up eight run on 12 hits, while walking one and striking out two.

Following the game, he was optioned back to Triple-A Charlotte.

See Also:

 

I Saw Them in Fort Wayne: Mike Trout

Mike Trout has certainly made a name for himself with the Angels. Took this pic during the home run derby at the 2010 Midwest League All-Star Game at Parkview Field.

Mike Trout at the 2010 Midwest League Home Run Derby

Mike Trout at the 2010 Midwest League Home Run Derby

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