Richard L. Beizer
2022 DCMSBL LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
I am honored and humbled to receive a 2023 DCMSBL Lifetime Achievement Award. I am honored to be recognized in this way by the DCMSBL, given that there are so many others who have contributed so much, much more than I, to the success of the league. I am humbled by the receipt of this award knowing of so many who are more deserving of this recognition.
In 1948, when I was six years old, I started throwing around a baseball with my older brother. I failed as a seven-year-old to make a Little League team in my hometown of Hartford, Connecticut. Undeterred by that setback, my brother and I continued to play. Just a few years later, while in high school, I made the varsity team as a freshman. In college, I recognized that there were much better baseball players than I, so I stuck with football and lacrosse.
By chance, in 1970, I started playing slo-pitch softball, something I had done while in law school. I was fortunate enough to play second base on some very good Northern Virginia teams, and did so until about 1983. Then, in 1989, one of my former softball teammates told me they were starting a baseball league in the DC area, and that there would be a team in Vienna, near where I was living at the time. I remember that at the first practice, I had difficulty gauging the flight of fly balls. Nonetheless, that practice led to me joining DCMSBL’s 30-and- Over Vienna Braves. Roger Miller was our manager. My teammates included Jim Beck, Gary Boss, Bill Cervenak and Joe Neville. Somehow the Vienna Braves merged into the Freedom Bank Storm.
That team was managed by Jim Beck. What can I say about Jim? He was one of a kind. We had some teams in the 40-and-Over League that won championships. One of those was at Waters Field in Vienna, where we won the final game of a best two out of three series 2-1 in extra innings. It was great fun playing on those teams with Gar Cooper, the Thomas and Minarik brothers, Bob Perrone, Roger Stanley, Alan Morrison, and so many others. But the glue that held us together was Jim. I can still hear him saying “like we did in Chicago,” and so many others Beckisms. Those of us who played on those teams shared a special bond – we were “Backballers.”
I am not sure how or when it happened, but somehow a very bad team on which I was playing merged into a new team that was beginning to play in the 45-and Over league, a team run by Mike Lacomb. I can’t say enough good things about Mike. He was kind enough to keep me around, even as the few skills I had were rapidly declining. And I enjoyed every minute of “being around,” teaming with guys who loved playing baseball as much as I did, guys such as Mike McConnell, Ken Prohaniak, Sean Cohen, Dan Cassidy, Ronny Barckhoff, and so many others too numerous to name.