President’s Column: Momentous Year is Just the First of Many Steps Forward

It’s amazing to me how fast the NEO STC calendar year is drawing to an end. We hope you’ve enjoyed the activities as much as I have enjoyed presiding over them as your president. As promised, we had some unique activities: from walking through a spooky corn maze, learning from a dozen or so Legos, and a glimpse of future prospects of machine learning and AI.  I’m confident my successor, Tricia Spayer, will continue to build on our chapter momentum with interesting events.

We believe the outreach is due to a good mix of our mini webinars, virtual meetings, luncheons, and the caliber of in-person meetings. In fact, our April meeting was the first attempt at an all-virtual presentation to reach out to STC members throughout the boundaries of northeast Ohio. However, we are committed to continuing the face-to-face gatherings that are the hallmark of NEO’s unique membership chemistry.

 Before we adjourn following the May 16 picnic, I asked you once again to consider volunteering some time to the organization. We especially need volunteers to help coordinate the mini-webinars that have rapidly gained attention. Trish could use one person to find and program the presenters and another volunteer to help schedule and run the half-hour, GoToMeeting virtual sessions. This is not a time-consuming committee.

We also are seeking committee chairs. Remember what a wise person once said: ‘You get out of an organization what you put into it’.

I will close with my sincere congratulations to the service award winners this year. Without you, we would not have enjoyed another successful year. Although I cannot announce winners until the May 16 picnic, the list includes a new Associate Fellow, and a Distinguished Chapter Service Award winner!

My thanks to all for the opportunity to serve again as your president. It has been a privilege!

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We hope that you’ve enjoyed our tidbits of Cleveland Indians history. Personally, I want to thank you for bringing back memories of my adopted Tribe family that helped me heal as a youngster after tragically losing my mother. There are so many stories to tell of past and present players, including encounters with Brooks Robinson, Thurman Munson, Carl Yastrzemski, Reggie Jackson, Buddy Bell, and so on.  And there’s the moment that a fiery Yankees manager Billy Martin caused the visiting dugout at the old Municipal stadium to flood when he jumped up and down, and up and down, on the toilet until the pipes burst. Talk about a royal flush…

But one of my favorite stories, in closing, involves Gaylord Perry, a gentleman off the field and a fierce competitor on the mound. The first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both the AL and NL, Perry was despised by hitters for doctoring a baseball, called a spitball. The ‘spitter’ is one of the hardest pitches to hit, but Perry got into the head of batters by tugging and pulling on his uniform and hat as if loading up on the juiced apple in his hand.

On our trip to New York, Yankees’ then-owner George Steinbrenner had more than 200 closed-circuit televisions installed in the house that Ruth built to catch Perry in the act. The right-handed Hall of Famer calmly went out and mystified the Yanks once again, leaving a fuming Steinbrenner speechless.

Afterward, Indians trainer Jimmy Warfield and I were walking back to the hotel to grab some supper when a stretch limousine pulled up to the curve. One of a seemingly endless number of windows went down before hearing Perry’s voice call out ‘Jim, Jim, come over here.’ Warfield told me to stay put and he walked over to the longest car that I’ve ever seen. Then he signaled for me to come over and get in.

I was reluctant but Warfield was not about to leave a teenager alone on the streets of New York. As I climbed in I heard a well-known voice and stopped in my tracks. It was Howard Cosell. He had broadcast the game and wanted to dine with Perry to talk about the TVs that had circumvented the diamond.

I was in such awe of Cosell that I do not remember the name of the star-studded restaurant, which was adorned in red carpet and white curtains and busboys in uniforms, even the ones holding the water pitchers. I also don’t remember eating because I was so nervous about dropping the silverware or spilling the water glass. But, it was a memorable evening sitting and listening to one of the top pitchers of his day and the legendary Howard Cosell.

By Bob Young

NEO STC, president