Those of us at CodBall were saddened to see the information posted on the Wareham Gatemen website which notes that John Wylde has recently been diagnosed with liver cancer. (Listen to our CodBall Conversation with Mr. Wylde.)
I would like CodBall readers to know a little bit about the few times I have communicated with Mr. Wylde. A few years ago (I believe it was the first year that the Cape League held their league-wide tryout at Spillane Field), I sent John an email and asked if I could attend. I did not know if they wanted "fans" in attendance or if it was not open to the public. Not only did he respond and encourage me to go, but he emailed me a list of which players were invited, what school they were from, etc. Basically, I got the sheet that is available on the day of the tryout in advance. A few days after the tryout, I received an email from John in which he said he hoped I had a good time, and asked what my impressions were, etc.
This summer, I attended the Brewster @ Wareham game on Saturday, July 21. I was chatting with some folks from Wareham and I asked if they knew why the game was scheduled for a 2:00 start. Almost in unison, they answered by saying something to the effect of "Oh, if you know John, you know that he can't say 'no' to anyone." The story I was told that day was that the league wanted to kick off the week before the all-star game by having one game start at 2:00 in order to benefit the scouts who were arriving on the Cape that weekend. They wanted to make it easy for scouts to go from an early game and then be able to go to one of the later games that same day, without making it the normal rush to get from a 5:00 game to a 7:00 game. None of the other teams hosting games that day were thrilled with the idea of a 2:00 start because of the likely smaller attendance, but John stepped up and said Wareham would start their game at 2:00.
I'm not even touching on his responsibilities and the time commitment as the head official scorer for the league.
Many people do know know what a mess the Wareham franchise was at one time. I do not remember the year, but I'm quite sure there was a time that Wareham qualified for the playoffs but did not participate because they could not afford to field a team beyond the end of the regular season. Although I don't recall all of the details, but I am sure of the situation. I should ask Judy Walden-Scarafile about this because she was covering the league for the Cape Cod Standard Times around 1970 when I really started following the CCBL. Today, the Wareham franchise is probably about as solid as any other in the league. When I think "Wareham Gatemen," I automatically think "John Wylde." I do not profess to say that I know John Wylde well, but he has always been a gentleman toward me and I think of him as one of the best, if not the best, ambassadors the Cape Cod Baseball League has. My thoughts and prayers are with him. It will be even better to go to a game at Spillane Field next June and hear John's voice on the P.A. system announcing the starting lineups for that night's game!
Get well soon, Mr. Wylde!