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A Perfect Baseball Birthday

April 27, 2009

Yesterday, April 26th, would have been my Dad’s 66th birthday.  Sadly, he passed away earlier this year on January 6th.

Still, yesterday was nearly a perfect baseball birthday celebration for him.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day for Opening Day Ceremonies for Midlothian Boys Baseball.  The air was warm, the sky was blue, the grass was green, and the lines on the brown dirt were dazzling white.

With all teams in their colors, and lots of family and friends gathered round the ballfield, the stage was set for the ceremonies…and they couldn’t have been much more perfect for us.

My family and I were invited out to stand with the Marauders – “The Orange” – the team Dad had managed for 33 years.   He first managed the team in 1976 when I was a 10 year old on that same team.  In that year, and subsequent years, he also managed my younger brother, Michael.  Then he stayed on to coach hundreds of other players over the years at a coaching level that he loved.  He built a proud and winning tradition for a team, and an extended family in the community for the faithful Marauder nation of families who had boys (and girls) coached by Dad.

Besides the kind words of the league officials, there were many special honors bestowed on Dad.  His achievements of winning over 400 games in 33 years, including 10 championships, and several Round Robin tournaments, and having a better than .700 overall winning percentage was applauded.  It was pointed out that all player’s uniforms were bearing the words “Ed Novick – 1976-2008” on their shoulders in honor of him and the years he managed the Marauders.  Diamond #1 was renamed “Ed Novick Field” in honor of him, and an orange sign with those words in black was displayed that would be mounted on the fence to that field.  (Diamond’s #2 – John Sikarica Field and #3 – Matt Peters Field already bear the names in honor of other significant contributors to Midlothian baseball who were contemporaries of Dad’s and shared his unselfish commitment to Midlothian baseball).   And it was announced that the Mustang level championship trophy given to the village championship team at that level was being named the “Ed Novick Trophy”.  (On behalf of my family, thank you to all league officials for your thoughtful and generous recognition of Dad!)

Ed Novick Field

Ed Novick Field

Dad’s coach of 17 years, Matt Prim, replaced Dad as manager this year.   In an emotional speech at the ceremony, he expressed a choked up and sentiment filled bond to Dad.  My mom and I stood by Matt with our hands on his shoulders as he delivered that speech.  Dad was always very proud of Matt, a former Marauder himself, too.  He’s been a loyal coach and friend for many years.

My mom, the team scorekeeper throughout the years Dad coached, then too delivered some heartfelt words to the crowd about our bond with this baseball community.  The league presented mom with a glass covered case to display a sample of the Marauder uniform with the “Ed Novick – 1976-2008” wording on the right sleeve. 

Then, 500 orange and black balloons were released into the air by all the teams, and we all watched them sail north on the strong winds toward heaven.

I’ll always remember the proud emotions that stirred in me as we then sang our national anthem, with a hand on my heart, and tearful eyes on our nation’s flag.

To end the perfect baseball day, the Marauders later won their Opening Day ball game by slaughter rule and shutout, 12-0.   (In 34 years the Marauders won their opening day games in all but a couple of years).

It was a perfect baseball birthday for Dad.  He must be happy wherever he is, and should be very proud of himself.  We are.  Happy Birthday, Dad!

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. george permalink
    April 27, 2009 8:11 pm

    I feel Ed watched every minute of yesterday’s tribute and was telling everyone up there , I told you so,

  2. Jamie Robinson permalink
    April 27, 2009 8:41 pm

    That is awesome Ed, wish we could’ve been there with you! Happy Birthday Uncle Ed! You couldn’t have written about it more beautifully and your Dad I’m sure is very proud!

  3. Gladys Schuler permalink
    April 27, 2009 9:50 pm

    Thank you for sending this to me, Ed. I wish I had been there. I cannot think of a more perfect way to honor your Dad and celebrate his day. I have tears in my eyes just reading about it. It seems that whoever put this together thought of everything…I am sure your Dad will be the Marauder’s guardian angel through the years.

    Take care.

    Gladys

    • Ed Novick permalink*
      April 27, 2009 9:55 pm

      “It seems that whoever put this together thought of everything”

      Our God sure did.

      Ed

  4. judy lipinski permalink
    April 27, 2009 11:46 pm

    Hi Eddie you wrote about this as beautifully as always. They sure did one heck of a job didn’t they? They left no stone unturned! We were all teary eyed it was almost as though opening day was just for Ed. I’m sure Matt was behind most of it. He sure loved our guy! I thought maybe they would dedicate a field to him but the shirts and the balloons and the Ed Novick trophy was outstanding. I hope someone lets them know how appreciated this all was. How fitting it was on his birthday.I wish I would have had enough time to have gotton all my kids there, They wouldn’t believe how moving it all was. Winning was his idea yesterday, sorry Matt thats just my feeling.

  5. Danielle Gunkel permalink
    April 28, 2009 4:37 am

    well said eddie! wish i could’ve made it to the ceremony. it sounds like it was a perfect day!

  6. Patty McLaughlin permalink
    April 28, 2009 8:03 pm

    Ed,
    Thanks for sharing your blog and description of “A Perfect Baseball Birthday”. Indeed a beautiful day! I only wish I would have known about it – I would have been there.

  7. Tony permalink
    June 27, 2009 9:56 pm

    All I can say is WOW. you and your family must be very proud. congrats to you and your family

Trackbacks

  1. The Marauder Family Tradition Continues « Ed Novick's Blog
  2. Baseball Is Fun…And A Lot Of Work « Ed Novick's Blog
  3. The Legendary Ed Novick « Ed Novick's Blog
  4. Records and Bests « Ed Novick's Blog
  5. Happy 70th Birthday, Dad! | Ed Novick's Blog
  6. 2013 Year In Review | Ed Novick's Blog
  7. The Marauders | Ed Novick's Blog
  8. Happy Birthday, Dad | Ed Novick's Blog
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