Below is a list of members whose memory is honored by the No Bats Baseball Club. These athletes are sorely missed.
The passing of No Bats legend Bill Brockway ends the story but not the legacy of a man who lived for and loved his family, friends, and baseball. Brockway was born March 19, 1928 and was called up 93+ years later, December 28, 2021. An Oriole fan from Hagerstown, MD, Brockway holds club records for most children (9), longest marriage (69 years), and most seasons coaching Little League (17).
After meeting The Chairman in Moscow, Russia during a baseball trip in the summer of 1994, Brockway joined No Bats a few months later as a 66-year-old rookie. our Cooperstown strike-year, and kept coming until mortality got in the way.
“The most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen at No Bats happened in 1997 at Rickwood Field in Birmingham,” recalled The Chairman. “Brockway was 69 years old. He crushed a rocket that airmailed the outfielders and one-hopped the wall in left-center. He hit it at least 380. At the end of the inning, he went back out to the mound and pitched. Had a fastball and curve and threw strikes.”
Bill’s final appearance came at Dodgertown four years later during our 20th anniversary season. Alzheimer’s had gotten its claws in him but Bill's wife Cass wanted him to experience one last weekend playing the game he loved so much surrounded by friends who loved him back. He did not remember the stories we shared but beamed when he listened to us tell them.
This is the magic of baseball and the men who play it. Long after scores are forgotten, your teammates remain. Rest in peace, Bill. You’ll always be with us.
The brother-in-law of founding member Bob Moyer, Jim was only able to attend one year during our formative years but was a fine fellow who caught the short end of mortality's stick. Super nice fellow who stuck by Moyer throughout the rest of his life, even as Bob's personal life took a negative turn. Through the years, the club has hosted guys who attend for a wide variety of reason. What has created equity in the club culture is provided by the quality of men nominated to attend. Blythe was one such man.
Jim loved college football, sports in general & friends. Jim was a hard worker with his own black-topping and landscaping business in additional to working for FedEx.
Jim Blythe attended NoBats 1995. Loved baseball, sports, and people; and would give anyone in need the shirt off his back.
Birth: October 28, 1962 : Died May 22nd 2008. Passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.
The bearded baron of Boston did not have a long career with us, but left behind timeless memories of strapping on the catcher's gear, breaking a big league sweat, and playing the game full-out. Pat played with the enthusiasm of a child and fit like a glove with all the fellows. Like all of us, Pat appreciated the opportunity to escape the mid-life grind and have a few beers and hundreds of laughs at Dodgertown's historic venue. Like so many who formed the No Bats culture in the early years, his legacy is measured by the fabric of the man. His cousin Dave played NFL football with the Raiders, but Pat excelled in the business world, a man truly cut from the finest of cloth.
Pat had to retire early and passed away a few years later, the victim of a mostly untreatable aggressive, progressive cancer. Through the years he faithfully kept in touch, asking about the guys, where we were gong, and what we were up to. Like so many who laid the framework for the kind of man No Bats sought for generations to follow, Pat's Dodgertown memories will always be with us.
Winter Garden, FL
Smiler got his nickname during a 1992 club outing to Bimini, Bahamas. We each had to chip in $20 to cover a special dinner in our honor at a historic resort on the island’s northern tip. The main course was a delicious, specially prepared bonefish—cooked as only a brilliant Bahamian chef could prepare. Smiler wouldn’t eat fish; and ate only a baked potato. Grousing about that, when time came for the group photo, he was the long man sporting a grumpy face instead of a broad smile. Hence the nickname.
Smiler sired five daughters but never a son; and was killed by a drunk driver after 25 years of dedicated club involvement. He was there from Day One as the Chairman’s wingman, voluntarily helping with a million things behind the scenes the guys never knew about. He was, and always will be, a brother to each and every one of us.
San Diego, CA
Small in stature, Joe “Iron” Maiden cast a giant shadow of all good things. Iron came to No Bats late in life from San Diego, where his lifelong love affair for the game included such amazing feats as starting the San Diego 65+ and 75+ leagues for old guys to play.
Iron was a relentlessly positive, supportive, kind, and happy gentleman whose love for the game and those who played it is was great as anyone we have had the fun of sharing the dugout with. He played the game hard, played the game right, was alert and ready for every situation, and never tired of pounding the glove in anticipation of the next pitch. Iron Maiden was a role-model titan of everything the club exemplifies.
Luther was bestowed his nickname by Pennsylvanian Bob Moyer, who noticed O’Neil’s uncanny resemblance to TV actor Jerry Van Dyke, star of the popular show “Coach.” Luther was instant mayhem, a chatterbox rabble-rouser who ignited chaos wherever he stood. His career’s defining moment was planting a giant surprise kiss on Vi Ripken—Cal and Billy’s mom—during our weekend in Aberdeen, MD. The D.C. sniper was out and about back then, and the weather was miserable. Luther wanted to liven things up and Vi was a prime target. Luther was a guy who refused to let the party die. He was a hugging, motormouthed, buzz saw of laughter. Natural causes stripped Luther of the life he’d always known. His legend is revisited every year we reconvene.
Bob Pratt was one of the greatest athletes ever to grace a No Bats diamond. A former Division I football player, he arrived in Dodgertown during our early years, invited by founding member Malcolm White. Pratt homered a moonshot way over the fence, something which has rarely been done, and was an easy choice for Rookie of the Year. Pratt was not a showoff; he was one of those humble guys who was just a better natural athlete than others. He fit perfectly with the guys, and a man whose character exemplified exactly what we were trying to build.
Bob was a one-year wonder, never to return. Soon after No Bats, he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. He passed away quickly, his Rookie of the Year trophy cherished by his young son.
In a world that seduces us into taking too much for granted, Bob’s tragic passing is a constant reminder of how fleeting and fragile everything can be. A very fine man, stolen away far too soon.
A former radio man, chain-smoking Emmett Reagan was about 300 years old when he came to Dodgertown to serve as our inaugural season’s press box P. A. announcer. He took the job seriously and stared with contempt when Mark Simendinger joined him up in the booth to start spinning tunes over the loudspeaker between innings.
The games were a joy to those who played but a mere prelude to the action Emmett cherished most: happy hour and the several that followed. A student of baseball history, Emmett was proud to sit in the seat he knew was previously occupied by Dodger announcing legend Vin Scully, as well as the great Hall of Famer Don Drysdale.
The club has had several announcers through the decades to follow but no one approaches the legend of the baritone from Reston, Virginia.
Great Falls, VA
A founding No Bats member, George died an American patriot the morning of 9/11 aboard American flight #77, the plane that was skyjacked into the Pentagon by foreign terrorists. George lived and died by the motto “Life is good!” and was never shy about reminding anyone whose head was down or seemed discouraged. While not the best of ballplayers, George loved what No Bats stood for and evolved into and loved the camaraderie and friendship our weekends created. All these years later, his memory remains large.
BRAVE. SHOWED. UP.
Leonard Stuart and I became friends thirty-two years ago. We met the same way he befriended all who arrived in Bimini to hide out or chase bonefish on Ansil’s handmade boat: Brave showed up. Reliability was his hallmark trait. Three decades of friendship, one constant: Brave. Showed. Up.
The morning he climbed the creaky steps and knocked on my door at The Compleat Angler—the most exquisitely perfect hotel in the history of history—I stumbled over and answered, bleary-eyed and hung over. It wasn’t my fault. I blame the Ladies Man, Courvoisier. Or maybe Kalik Gold, or perhaps a fountain of rum liberally poured by Ossie Brown or one of his co-conspirators, the Calypsonians.
As elsewhere, three types of people inhabit Bimini: those who make things happen; watch things happen; or wonder what happened. It didn’t take long to realize Brave Stuart was a doer, a guy who got things done. Both of us attacked life with urgency and passion. So, we bonded.
Brave was a man of unswerving priorities: family, island, country. I shared his desire to support, encourage, and help the island children. Education mattered, character mattered, effort mattered. If someone wanted to be somebody someday, he or she had to show up, believe in him or herself, and put in the work.
One of ten children from the humblest of beginnings, and first to go to college, Leonard Stuart forged himself into Exhibit A. He was walking, talking proof that success was a process and achievements were possible.
Brave’s powerful life resulted from disciplined time management. His time choice decision-making was consistently better than many born into far more fortunate circumstance. He recognized the four ways each day’s waking hours would pass by: He could waste time, spend time, invest time, or cherish time.
Leonard Stuart invested and cherished as much time as possible in things that mattered; and spent or wasted as little as possible on things that did not. His personal brand was forged in dignity and respect; and leaves an unimpeachable legacy.
The world is large yet small. I have seen most of it. Brave knew what the planet teaches: People are 93 percent the same and seven percent different. As we navigate life, everyone faces the same choice: Do I build on the 93 or argue about the seven?
Brave was a builder. I am a builder. Together we collaborated to make positive things happen through two generations for the betterment of Bimini’s youth—initiatives for the schools plus baseball and softball for recreation.
Baseball and softball matter because they are team games played by individuals, the same as life and community. The sports are challenging—the ball has an uncanny knack for finding a person whenever he or she least wants it to—but all of life’s best character-building activities mix agony and ecstasy with random glee.
Leonard Stuart believed every child on this island deserved a life of optimistic hope, opportunity and self-belief, encouragement and support. He knew a child’s formative years are 0-to-13, and that lifting someone up—not putting him or her down—inspired the self-confidence needed to pursue a wonderful life. From this nurturing, Bimini’s next wave of community and social leaders will rise to enrich all walks of life, on-island and off. Each will honor Leonard’s legacy. Set a happy child on course for success, encourage him or her to find gratitude and joy in the smallest of things, and he or she will succeed.
Greatness, he knew, could come from anywhere. Success is measured later, not by dollars and cents but something far more important. Standing at the gates of heaven, have we been a positive force in the universe, significant in the lives of others? Leonard Stuart was all that and more, a life well-lived that has earned this man an ushered entrance behind the velvet ropes.
In closing, my pal Brave saw his beloved Bimini as a small island with infinite possibilities. By showing up, his friendship taught me to see it the same.
Brave Stuart hosted the club in Bimini twice, 1992 and 2006, and plans were underway for a third visit when Brave suddenly passed. He was one of three guys injured on a “you had to see it to believe it” play at third base at Dodgertown in the early 1990s (runner, fielder, third base coach all busted to smithereens), and set a club record for most groceries stuffed in the belly of a seaplane when returning home to the tiny island of Bimini.
Rest in peace, my brother. I will love you always.
Founder & Chairman
No Bats Baseball Club