Tonight, we will honor Walt Mortimer, who is retiring after 65 years of service to the Boston Park League with both the Red Johnson Alumni Award and the President’s Award. The key word in the 1st award is ‘Alumni’, and no one has done more for the Boston Park League than Walt Mortimer since he hung up his spikes 50 years ago. Since the President’s award has not been given out in 18 years, it’s appropriate to also give that award to the person most responsible for keeping the Boston Park League going without interruption to where we are today, 90 years strong – Walt Mortimer.
Walt began his storied career as a 17 year old kid out of Boston English H.S. in 1954 playing for the Bryan Club. He would go on to play for 7 different Park League teams, winning championships with St. Paul’s, Herb Connolly Club, and Charlestown. He was also the player / manager of the Supreme Saints with his brother Skip. In 15 years as a player, Walt made the playoffs every year and was a lifetime .400+ hitter while smashing over 100 HR’s. Some of his HR’s were legendary, like hitting them over the triple decker houses at both Fallon & Town Fields. When asked to give us a couple of ‘highlights’ of his career, he recalled hitting 2 HR’s at Town Field in the same game, … in the same inning !! Another was a picture of Walt in the Record American in 1958 blasting a 2 run HR in extra innings clinching the Championship for the Charlestown Cardinals before 8,000 fans at Town Field. Walt had also signed pro contracts with the St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, and SF Giants. By most accounts, Walt Mortimer was one of the greatest players to ever play in the 90 year history of the Park League.
After retiring as a player, Walt got into umpiring and quickly advanced to colligate level. Walt umpired college, H.S., and the Park League for 35 years. Administratively, Walt is a past President and past Secretary and Treasurer of the New England College Baseball Umpires Association as well as a past President of the Eastern Mass Umpires Association.
In 1982, due to budget shortfalls, the City of Boston Park & Recreation Department announced it was no longer able to afford to sponsor the Park League. Walt Mortimer was part of a small group who put together a plan to continue playing without financial support from the City. For these next 37 years, Walt has held a board position every year including being President of the Park League in 1986, Umpire Assignor, and for the past 32 years, the sec/treas. Without Walt’s attention to details and money management, we would not be here tonight.
Speaking of tonight, and this wonderful gathering to honor Hall of Famers and award winners, that also started 37 years ago in 1982. For every one of those 37 banquets, Walt Mortimer has been the point person from organizing the initial HOF meeting, to securing the banquet facility, to the menu … he is the reason this tradition continues. The same is true for our annual golf tournament, now in our 20th year. Walt has been on the golf committee for all those years, working countless hours to ensure a successful event.
So, the Red Johnson Alumni Award – to the greatest contributor of ones time in giving back to the Boston Park League so others could play a game loved by so many – Walt Mortimer.
And the President’s Award – Walt … you are the Boston Park League.
Congratulations to Walt Mortimer!