Baseball runs in the Eddy family
By GLENN MILLER
Roy Hobbs Baseball
The roles in the Eddy family have reversed over the past half a century.
Fifty years ago, a strapping young man and former college quarterback named Richard Eddy was in his 30s and coached his boys, Steve and Craig, in Little League.
Now, those boys are in their early 60s and play for the Massachusetts Chiefs. Their dad was 84 in 2016 when he accompanied the team to Fort Myers for the Roy Hobbs World Series. He was in uniform as a coach and pinch runner.
Also on hand was a strapping young man in his 30s, a former collegiate wrestler named Nick Eddy, Steve’s son and Richard’s grandson. Nick, 32, was at the World Series as the team’s scorekeeper.
Baseball remains a bond in the Eddy family, even after all these years, even 50 years since Little League.
“They’re not little boys,” Richard Eddy said of his sons on a sunny morning in 2016 before a World Series game at JetBlue Park.
No, his boys are grown men who have carved out careers and lives of their own. Steve is a retired union glazer and Craig is a civil engineer.
Steve also manages the Chiefs.
“It’s his team,” Richard said. “I’m under his command when I’m down here. I’m not his father down here.”
No, he’s a coach and pinch runner, albeit one remarkably fit for 84.
“When you see him you won’t think he’s 84,” said Steve, who resides in The Villages, a massive central Florida retirement community. “He runs better than half my team.”
Richard regularly plays pickleball and teaches that sport back home in Groveland, Mass. That sport along with Yoga and regular abdominal exercises keep him fit.
“He looks better in a uniform that some of our other guys,” said Craig, who lives in Richmond, Va. “You may have noticed. It (uniform) fits him well. We’re blessed with good genes.”
Nick’s presence in uniform can sometimes disconcert opponents when he strolls out for the pre-game exchange of lineups. He clearly looks decades younger than anybody on the Chiefs or their opponents.
“There’s been a couple of times I go over to get lineups and people are, like, you’re way too young to be out there,” said Nick, a police detective with the Windham, N. H. Police Department. “I’m like – relax. I’m just keeping score.”
While in Fort Myers last year, the Eddy men shared a condo not far from JetBlue Park and CenturyLink Sports Complex. For the most part, the Roy Hobbs World Series is guy time, a week without wives and girlfriends.
The Eddy men enjoy spending time together.
“There are people, their dads are gone and they don’t have this opportunity,” Steve said. “So my son comes just because he knows his grandfather isn’t going to be around forever.”
Grandpa Eddy was quite an athlete in his day. He played quarterback at Miami of Ohio when future coaching legends Woody Hayes and Ara Parseghian were on staff. Another future coaching legend, Bo Schembechler, played left offensive tackle there.
“Ara’s first coaching job was freshman coach at Miami,” Richard said. “That’s when I walked on and they offered me a scholarship and I played under him. Woody Hayes was varsity head coach that year and then he moved to Ohio State the following year so all of my varsity stuff was under Ara. He was a great motivator. You would want to run through a brick wall for him. He was a great teacher.”
Richard Eddy is still an athlete at heart. He pinch-ran in the 2014 World Series.
“In the right situation I think he’ll let me run,” Richard said last year. “He’s trying to protect me from injury. I get that.”
A day after Richard said that, Steve called to say he got his dad in a game as a pinch runner.
The Eddy family has Roy Hobbs World Series roots dating back to the late 1990s, when Steve and Craig started playing. Steve first brought a team in 1999.
“We’ve been here every year since,” Steve said.
Craig first played in the tournament in 1998.
“That’s how we got the family bug,” Steve said. “My dad came down to watch Craig play and they both came home and said we had to get our own team in it. You got to do it, they said to me. That’s how it started.”
Now, nearly 20 years later the Eddy boys are still coming to Fort Myers for the Roy Hobbs World Series.
What they learned from dad long ago is still evident, Richard said. “They know how to play the game. They respect the game.”
Just like dad taught them so long ago.