By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—After a no-holds barred, free-wheeling stand-up talk by former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee and Brockton Rox coach Ed Noddle about their days in pro and minor league baseball, organizers have nearly met its financial goals for a plaque in honor of Brockton’s Bill McGunnigle—a pioneer and innovater during the early years of baseball.
“I think it put us over the top,” said West Bridgewater resident John McGunnigle, great-grandson of McGunnigle, who as manager/player led the legendary Dodgers franchise, then known as the Brooklyn Bridgegrooms, to an at-the-time unprecedented back-to-back pennants in 1889 and 1890.
The Lee-Noddle inside-baseball discussion, held at Joe Angelo’s Café Sept. 22 and attended by nearly 100 people, featured the two-longtime ballplayers and friends sharing stories from their days in the baseball world, including Lee’s desire to punch out Bill Buckner when they were rising stars in California and Noddle’s memories of former Red Sox manager John McNamara, who beat out Noddle for skipper of the Pawtucket Sox and, who as Manager of the Year, went on to lead the Red Sox to the ill-fated World Series in 1986.
John McGunnigle said he and other supporters are close to having raised the estimated $4,000 toward installing a plaque in Bill McGunnigle’s honor at Campanelli Stadium—home of the Brockton Rox.
About $2,000 of the plaque’s cost was donated by MetroSouth Chamber of Commerce and Brockton 21st Century Corp.
The plaque is estimated to cost about $4,000 to manufacture and install and expected to be inaugurated in the Spring for the opening of the Rox's next season.
John McGunnigle said he will not know the total cost of the plaque until he contacts Rox management to find out the actual cost to install the plaque, but either way, the Sept. 22 event made a large dent in fundraising efforts.
“It was a really fun and great night,” McGunnigle said.
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