HARWICH – Paul Galop isn't a fan of the spotlight but when it came to being honored as one of eight inductees to the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame on Nov. 23, the former league commissioner took it in stride, joining the Class of 2019 in expressing gratitude for the league's highest honor.
Galop joined a host of fellow inductees in the 2019 ceremony, held Saturday at the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, kicked off by a celebratory brunch, during which Harwich Mariners longtime president Mary Henderson received the Richard “Dick” Sullivan Executive of the Year Award.
Galop's daughter, the Rev. Kate Galop, and son Peter presented Galop for induction, citing not only his storied history with the Cape League, but also how he made baseball a special aspect of their family.
“How do you justice to a baseball journey of over four decades in just a short period of time?” Kate queried. “The first thing you should all know about our dad is, 'it always comes back to baseball.'”
Kate noted that while other families stuck to familiar adages such as the one about not counting your chickens, in the Galop home it was “don't be that catcher that takes off his shin guards in the on-deck circle with two outs.”
Galop, a graduate of Indiana University and Duquesne University, served as the CCBL Commissioner for 15 years, retiring in 2018 with the longest tenure in League history. His time with the League began in 1980 with volunteer work for the Chatham A's, for which he was host parent, board director, PA announcer, treasurer, and eventually, team president, before becoming League Commissioner in 2003.
As Commissioner, Galop was an integral part of the growth and success of the League, which boasts 303 alumni in the Major Leagues. He also served as Executive Director of the National Alliance for College Summer Baseball, which was started by former Commissioner Fred Ebbett, and in his career with the Cape League, attended more than 1,000 games.
“It is clear that our lives are deeply connected to baseball,” Kate said. “His work with the volunteers, players, coaches, GMs, League officials, umpires, fans, deputy commissioners, and so many more can be best summed up with this statement: 'Let's just all come together and work hard to give everyone the best summer of their lives.'”
Kate noted that her father has always been quick to remind people that his many accolades within the League were shared by the many people he worked with, and that his goal was always to ensure that everyone from the fans to the League administrators had an enjoyable season.
“Being commissioner for 15 years has truly been a labor of love,” said Peter, noting that the job didn't come without its share of challenges, which Galop did his best to deal with so as to better focus on baseball. “He has said that the greatest honor of his tenure was that the board of directors and the league had the confidence in him to do this work.”
Peter said that his father's aim as commissioner was to be fair and honest, and that his “ultimate goal was to leave the league better off than he found it.”
“Because of his character, integrity, and vision, not to mention an incredible amount of hard work, 15 years later I think it's safe to say that he's wildly exceeded that goal,” said Peter. “What inspires us most, though, was he was not only able to help the league advance in so many ways, but he was able to leave with such grace, integrity, and understanding, all while giving support to those who served alongside so they could accomplish their goals and preserve the treasure that is baseball.”
Galop graciously accepted the praise, but made it clear there was someone he shared the honor with, his wife of 41 years, Laurie, to whom he gave his Hall of Fame ring.
“In 2002, umpire Curly Clement thanked his wife, citing that he would have accomplished nothing without her,” Galop said. “Truer words were never spoken. Laurie has been by my side and supportive every step of the way. She has kept me grounded and on task. I could never have lasted 15 years without the unwavering support of Laurie, Kate, and Pete. I could not be more grateful.”
During his speech, Galop recounted his history with the league, taking time to recognize the many people that supported him on his journey, often infusing his words of thanks with notes of humor, through it was clear he was deeply appreciative of the Hall of Fame honor.
“In May of 1962 I played my first organized Little League game,” Galop said. “I pitched for the VFW Post, pitched a no-hitter and lost 9-7. They got seven runs at the top of the sixth inning. Since them I've pitched many shut-outs, threw numerous one-hitters, and never got another no hitter. So today, 57-and-a-half years later, I finally got my no-hitter and perfect game here today. I really appreciate this.”
Chris Overman left an indelible mark on the Harwich Mariners during his tenure with the team, with many dubbing him “one of the most dominant pitchers in Harwich Mariner history.” To say that Overman came up big for the Mariners would be an understatement.
In the summer of 2011, Overman posted a 0.00 ERA in 24 games and 33 innings pitched, in which he had 29 strikeouts and 15 hits. But it was in the 2011 playoffs that Overman truly shined. Facing a bases-loaded situation with Harwich holding a tenuous 7-5 lead, Overman forced an infield fly, struck the next batter out swinging, and then capped off the Championship victory with a final pop up.
“I can't speak enough of the type of kid he is,” said Mariner manager Steve Englert. “His greatest asset, his biggest strength is King Kong intestinal fortitude. When the lights were the brightest, that's when he shined.”
Overman dedicated his induction to his fond memories of summer baseball on Cape Cod.
“Memories that never leave, memories that come back,” he said. “I'll try to live up to it for the rest of my days.”
Brad Linden played first base for the then Orleans Cardinals in the 1970s. In 1971, he had a batting average of .250 in 33 games, scoring 14 runs, with one homer and 11 RBIs. In 1972, he was even better, posting an average of .372 with 28 runs scored, 55 hits, and a League-leading 10 home runs, as well as 35 RBIs. That year he was named the League MVP and to the CCBL All-Stars. Accepting the posthumous award on Linden's behalf, as Linden sadly passed away earlier this year, was his brother, Scott.
“I came up to see Brad play in 1972 with my parents,” Scott said. “He had a magical year here in 1972. He would have loved this.”
Joining Galop, Overman, and Linden as new Hall of Famers were Falmouth's Conor Gillaspie, Y-D Red Sox manager Scott Pickler, Wareham's Kyle Schwarber, Brewster's Shaun Siebert, and umpire Nick Zibelli. The 2020 Cape Cod Baseball League season begins June 13.