He also told his grandpa to keep at it until he’s old enough to play for him. That will be at least five more years.
Richard, 62, doesn’t plan on retiring from baseball any time soon, though he recently received what is essentially a lifetime achievement award when he was named the National Amateur Baseball Federation Man of the Year.
It’s a little ironic considering Brown never played organized ball. Though he grew up playing sandlot ball at Lawton Park, and even met his wife Donna in the middle of the diamond, Brown was too old to play when North Side High School started its baseball program. He never gave up on baseball, getting involved in the management side 33 years ago, running a Carrington League team for 23 years and continuing to help run the local NABF Major Division Regional Tournament. He was inducted into the National Semi-Pro Hall of Fame in 2013.
“I loved the game, and I couldn’t play as well as I wanted to,” Brown said. “This way I could see more of the game, and see more of everything.”
And he gets to spend more time with Tavey who is the the Carrington team’s good luck charm. Along with winning the league championship eight times over the last 12 years, the squad has won five regional titles in the last 10 years to advance to the NABF World Series. Tavey has also given Richard an excuse to go to more Major League ballparks, and last summer they went to Wrigley Field.
Like many people, Brown got started coaching his son Rich’s Little League team, and he managed the Shady Nook team in the Carrington League from 1996 to 2008 before it was renamed the Jackers. Even after Rich’s playing career ended in 1999, Richard has continued to head to the field every summer. Heck, previously as an assistant manager of maintenance and operations with Fort Wayne Community Schools, he even helped build Carrington Field at its new location near Lakeside Golf Course.
Last spring the Northeast Indiana Baseball Association honored Brown with the Colin Lister Award for service to the game.
“The connections you make is what I really like about the game,” Brown said. “My wife calls it our summer family. I still enjoy doing it. I think that’s because I love to be around the game so much. I keep showing up, and every year something happens.”
For more on local sports, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at @blakesebring and on Facebook at Blake Sebring.