Tag Archives: Baseball
Minor League Baseball player and Surface Warfare Officer Luke Gillingham shares his memories of playing baseball at the United States Naval Academy for Coach Paul Kostacopoulos, his recollection of being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays, and the options the Navy presented to him as he fulfilled his commitment to serving his country through the Navy Reserve while having the opportunity to play professional baseball. Gillingham also shares his thoughts on playing professional baseball and baseball during the global health crisis of COVID-19.
Rear Admiral Frank Thorp speaks about his family’s longstanding service, within and outside of the military. He speaks about the principle of America’s service men and women serving and defending our Constitution, representing freedom and people’s desire to fight for it and give up what they have, as embodied by Bob Feller. Rear Admiral Thorp speaks about being in the Pentagon on 9/11 and reminds listeners that valor is not a word to be taken lightly.
“In his final active duty assignment in the Navy, Rear Adm. (ret) Frank Thorp, IV was the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Information (CHINFO), serving as principal spokesman for the Department of the Navy and providing strategic communication counsel to the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations. He led the Navy’s Public Affairs community of more than 2,500 active and reserve officer, enlisted, and civilian communication professionals.
Prior to this assignment, Thorp served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense (joint communication) where he was responsible for overseeing Department of Defense (DoD) efforts to shape department-wide communication doctrine, organization, and training for the joint force. As director of the strategic communication integration group (SCIG) secretariat, Thorp also led DoD efforts for strategic communication auspices of the deputy secretary of defense, DoD strategic communication plans.
He served as the special assistant for public affairs to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2003 until 2005. In 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Thorp was deployed to Qatar as the chief of media for U.S. Central Command (forward).
From 2000 to 2003, he served as special assistant for public affairs to the Chief of Naval Operations. His other assignments have included serving as the public affairs officer for the Bureau of Naval Personnel; Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Joint Task Force Middle East; Cruiser Destroyer Group 12 and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). He has also served as director of public affairs and congressional notification at the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs.
Thorp has also had several previous assignments at the Navy’s Office of Information. As a commander, he served as assistant chief of information for media operations. Other assignments include executive assistant to the chief of information, national news desk action officer, and aide to the chief of information.
Prior to specializing in public affairs, Thorp served as a surface warfare officer forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan.
In 1999, Thorp completed a fellowship at Hill & Knowlton Worldwide Public Affairs in Washington D.C. He has a master’s degree in broadcast journalism and public affairs from American University and a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College. Thorp is a 1986 graduate of the Defense Information School and a 1981 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in operations analysis.
His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal (2), Legion of Merit (2), Meritorious Service Medal (3), Joint Service Commendation Medal (2), and the Navy Commendation Medal (3)” (United States Navy website).
Mr. Buster Olney shares his upbringing around the game of baseball, his career as a sports columnist covering the game, Hall of Fame voting and personal memories and stories from baseball legends Tony Gwynn and Jerry Coleman, including Gwynn’s gregarious personality and Coleman’s humility towards his service and respect for his comrades who did not return home from war.
Jerry Coleman: Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Coleman is the only Major League Baseball player to serve in combat in two wars, flying 57 combat missions in the SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber during World War II and 63 close air support and interdiction strike missions earning six more Air Medals during the Korean War. Lieutenant Colonel Coleman was selected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the Ford C. Frick Award recipient as an announcer in 2005 (Bob Feller Foundation).
Buster Olney: “Robert “Buster” Olney is a senior writer for ESPN.com and reporter for ESPN’s exclusive Sunday Night Baseball telecasts. He joined ESPN in June 2003 to cover baseball for all ESPN entities, including ESPN Radio, ESPNEWS and SportsCenter. He writes a daily column for ESPN.com and hosts the popular Baseball Tonight podcast as well as appearing on ESPN’s baseball studio show by the same name.
Olney’s two favorite events he has covered for ESPN are the 2014 and 2016 postseasons. “Particularly,” he said, “the historic performances of Madison Bumgarner.”
Olney began covering baseball in 1989 as the Nashville Banner’s beat reporter for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. He later covered the San Diego Padres for the San Diego Union-Tribune (1993 – 1994) and the Baltimore Orioles (Baltimore Sun, 1995 – 1996). He arrived at ESPN after six years at the New York Times covering the Mets (1997) and the Yankees (1998 – 2001)” (ESPN Press Room).
Mr. Ed Randall speaks about his love of baseball while growing up, leading him to broadcast, report, and anchor professionally. He speaks about the challenges of reaching Major League Baseball, being grateful for his experiences and respecting the past. Mr. Randall shares his memory of making it to the Major Leagues when he filled in for Bob Shepherd, the legendary public address announcer at Yankee Stadium. Mr. Randall speaks about his close relationship with Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Harwell and shares stories of National Baseball Hall of Famer and World War II and Korean War veteran Mr. Ted Williams. Hear about how Ed’s battle with prostate cancer has led him to help men understand that there is a 99% cure rate when cancer is detected early through testing.
“Ed Randall is the Founder and CEO of Fans for the Cure, a 501(c)(3) charity he started in 2003 to promote prostate cancer awareness, provide free PSA screenings, and focus on the importance of early detection in achieving best outcomes.
Since the start of the charity’s annual Baseball Road Trip in 2009, Fans for the Cure has conducted nearly 1,500 prostate cancer awareness days/nights at MLB and Minor League ballparks around the country. In cooperation with the teams’ healthcare partners and the charity’s network of physicians and hospitals, Fans for the Cure has provided over 5,000 PSA screenings as part of this program.
In addition to his work with Fans for the Cure, Ed just began his forty-sixth season in baseball broadcasting, hosting Remember When with Rico Petrocelli on Sirius XM as well as Ed Randall’s Talking Baseball on New York’s WFANThe author of three books about baseball, Ed’s most recent release is Baseball for the Utterly Confused, published by McGraw-Hill. His most notable collaboration was conducting the interviews with celebrity golfers and well-known PGA players that provided the content for The Best Golf Advice I Ever Received by Donald J. Trump. (Crown, 2005)
A graduate of Fordham University, Ed is a member of the school’s College Alumni Board as well as an inductee in the All Hallows High School Hall of Fame. Ed and his wife Louisa reside in Westchester County, New York” (Fansforthecure.org).
On the American Valor Podcast, Sports Journalist Lindsay Berra spoke about her career decision and experience covering sports at the highest levels. She talks about lessons learned from her grandfather Yogi, one of the greatest baseball catchers of all time: humility, integrity, citizenship, treating all people equally, and many more. One special story includes Yogi’s reflection on his military service during World War II after watching the movie Band of Brothers. Mr. Berra did not frequently speak about his time in the military. Lindsay shares with listeners the wisdom of Yogi-isms, the educational components of the Yogi Berra museum, and how sports like baseball help to build communities.
“Lindsay Berra is a freelance sports journalist based in Montclair, NJ. At MLB.com from January 2013 through January 2018, she established herself as an authority on baseball fitness and injuries and appeared frequently on MLB Network to discuss her stories. From 1999 through 2012, she was a senior writer for ESPN Magazine, covering primarily ice hockey, tennis, baseball and the Olympics. Lindsay received her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she played varsity softball and men’s club ice hockey. She is the oldest grandchild of Yogi and Carmen Berra and is a board member at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Little Falls, NJ” (lindsayberra.com).
Author Anne Keene began her career as a writer after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree.
Anne’s father was a batboy for the Cloudbuster Nine, a World War II team of fighter-pilot cadets at an elite Navy training school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After her father’s passing, Anne began a research project on the Major League Baseball players who attended the training school that shaped the lives of many well-known individuals. Her book, The Cloudbuster Nine, was named as a finalist for the 2018 CASEY Award for “Best Baseball Book of the Year.”
Keene shares incredible stories and lessons learned from her conversations with surviving Major League Baseball World War II veterans. Common values of these individuals include fearlessness, pride in the military and service, generosity, service-oriented, modesty, humility, appreciation of freedom, clarity of beliefs, and respect for authority and leadership. Anne’s research reminds listeners of the importance of positive values and a desire to help others and make the world a better place.
To learn more about Author Anne Keene and her work on baseball and the military, please visit her website: https://www.annerkeene.com/
Image: Anne Keene’s father receiving lessons from Boston Red Sox Ted Williams and Johnny Pesky
American Values, Leadership, and the Power of the Individual: 75th Secretary of the Navy the Honorable Ray Mabus
On the twentieth episode of the American Valor Podcast, we are honored to be joined by the 75th Secretary of the Navy: the Honorable Ray Mabus. “Mr. Mabus served as the 75th United States Secretary of the Navy, the longest to serve as leader of the Navy and Marine Corps since World War I. Throughout his tenure, Secretary Mabus has focused on four key priorities – People, Platforms, Power and Partnerships – that enable the Navy and Marine Corps’ unique ability to maintain the global presence that reassures our allies and deters our adversaries.
Before his appointment by President Obama, Mabus held a variety of leadership positions. From 1988 to 1992, Mabus served as Governor of Mississippi, the youngest elected to that office in more than 150 years. Mabus was Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 1994-1996 and later was Chairman and CEO of a manufacturing company which he led out of bankruptcy.
Mabus has been recognized for his leadership of the Navy and Marine Corps on multiple occasions. In 2013, he was named one of the top 50 highest rated CEOs by Glassdoor, an online jobs and career community. Mabus was the only person in government to receive this award.
Secretary Mabus is a native of Ackerman, Mississippi, and received a Bachelor’s Degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Mississippi, a Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins University, and a Law Degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School. After Johns Hopkins, Mabus served in the Navy as an officer aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock” (defense.gov).
Mabus encourages listeners to believe you can do whatever you put your mind to. He describes being in the United States Navy as one of the defining experiences of his life, teaching Mr. Mabus what it means to be part of a team.
Mr. Mabus preaches the importance of being honest. He states that Americans must stand for equality, democracy, openness, and freedom of expression across the world. Our strength as a nation lies in our values and what we have stood for since 1776.
Ray Mabus’ three traits of a leader:
- Know what you are willing to lose.
- Set an example for others to follow.
- Be very clear. Know why you are doing what you are doing.
Mr. Doug Flynn is the latest person to join the American Valor Podcast!
Doug Flynn grew up playing several sports in Lexington, Kentucky. He attended the University of Kentucky and Somerset Community College before playing 11 seasons in Major League Baseball for the New York Mets, Montreal Expos, Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers. Mr. Flynn was a member of the 1975 Big Red Machine team that won the World Series. He is currently a broadcaster for the Cincinnati Reds and actively supports service men and women through multiple non-profit organizations, including Hope for the Warriors (supporting injured veterans and their families) at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, USACares (supporting family members of military personnel) and Save the Warriors (supporting veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder/PTSD).
Mr. Flynn speaks about his blessed childhood growing up in Kentucky and the impact of playing several sports including basketball and baseball at the University of Kentucky. He shares stories of trying out for the Cincinnati Reds and his tribulations rising through the team’s minor league system before playing with the Big Red Machine and National Baseball Hall of Fame managers Sparky Anderson and Joe Torre in his Major League career. Doug shares lessons learned from some of the greatest coaches and players of his generation.
Doug preaches playing for the team name on the front of the jersey rather than the name on the back and speaks to the importance of community involvement, sharing stories of his support for service men and women, often with his good friend National Baseball Hall of Famer and Bob Feller Award recipient Mr. Johnny Bench. Hear Mr. Flynn’s thoughts on the current state of the game of baseball and his experience of going on tour with the Oak Ridge Boys during the 1981 Major League Baseball players’ strike.
The great American and ambassador of baseball Mr. Tommy Lasorda shares insights from his established career with the Los Angeles Dodgers on the American Valor Podcast. Tommy preaches his passion for Dodgers baseball, the military and the United States of America.
Mr. Lasorda was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997 following his 20 years leading the Dodgers from 1976 to 1996, including 1,599 wins, four National League pennants and two World Series Championships, in 1981 and 1988.
Starting his professional baseball career in 1945, Lasorda left minor league baseball for two years to serve in the United States Army. Listeners will hear about the greatest moment from Mr. Lasorda’s 70-plus years in baseball and be inspired by Mr. Lasorda’s incredible passion for Bob Feller, the Dodgers and the United States of America.
Listen to Tommy’s episode wherever you listen to podcasts, or on our website: https://actofvaloraward.org/american-valor-podcast/
15th Force Master Chief of the United States Navy Reserve Dr. CJ Mitchell speaks about the meaning and theory of leadership on the most recent episode of the American Valor Podcast. Additionally, he speaks about his love for the game of baseball, his experience in the United States Navy, including as the highest ranking enlisted person in the Navy Reserve, and his passion for the Bob Feller Act of Valor Foundation, the combination of Major League Baseball and the United States military.
Dr. CJ Mitchell’s four pillars of leadership for business people, parents and students include:
1. Look them in the eye and tell them the truth.
2. Together we achieve more.
3. Leaders must first hold themselves accountable to a high standard, and then hold their teammates to a high standard.
4. Leaders must be able to communicate a vision.
Listen here: https://actofvaloraward.org/american-valor-podcast/