2019 Banquet – Thanksgiving

Alum Paul Campbell

For the 12th consecutive year the Ruffnecks program held its annual Banquet on the Monday prior to Thanksgiving.  The atmosphere was festive, and as usual, it was a full house of 150 at The Fours in Quincy.  The ride to Quincy is always a difficult journey, but the commitment of so many to celebrate an evening with friends and teammates is a source of grateful appreciation for everyone in the program.  The 2019 Banquet featured wonderful talks by three individuals.  New York Yankee scout Matt Hyde, used the example of former Ruffnecks pitching coach Matt Blake in his talk about perseverance and the importance of studying the game.  Coach Blake was recently named the pitching coach of the New York Yankees.  He served the Ruffnecks program for seven years immediately following his college career at Holy Cross.  He also coached with Kirk Fredericks at Lincoln Sudbury HS during the same period.  His impact on the Ruffnecks program and at Lincoln-Sudbury is significant.  His experience at both places, along with his innovative partnership with Cressey Performance, led to an association with Matt Hyde as an associate scout with the Yanks, and then to a job with the Cleveland Indians.

Babson Coach - Matt Noone

The featured speaker this year was Matt Noone, Head Coach of Babson College.  Coach Noone has been at Babson for 17 years, and led his team to the NCAA Division III College World Series in 2019.  Coach Noone’s message centered around his personal relationship with Johnny Pesky and the significance of being a good teammate.  It is the Johnny Pesky Teammate Award that is the highlight of the Banquet evening each year.  It is anxiously awaited and respected.  It is the ONLY award the program hands out or recognizes.  Coach Noone wove a talk about teamwork, teammates, personal stories, illustrations of players who contributed without being in the lineup, and numerous other examples of what truly matters in a team sport such as baseball.  His support of the Ruffnecks program goes all the way back to 2004 when Babson College was considered our “home” field.

Former Ruffneck player and pitcher, Paul Campbell and his father, Alan Campbell also spoke briefly.  Paul is a terrific example of Ruffnecks perseverance, growth, and development.  He is currently a top pitching prospect in the Tampa Bay organization.  He is also a former Johnny Pesky Teammate Award Winner and helped to present this year’s awards.  His dad, Alan, gave a sincere and humorous talk about his experience as a Ruffnecks parent.  It was hilarious!  Of course, the Johnny Pesky Teammate Awards followed the talks, the 2019 video, the meal, and all the banter.  The 13U Teammate Award was earned by Aodhan Lee.  The 14U Teammate Award went to James Henshon (his brother, Mark, earned the distinction in 2017).  The 15U Award went to John Tully.  The 16U Award went to Jesse McCullough who came to the dinner directly from football practice!  And of course, the Seniors were recognized for their fantastic season.  This year there were TWO Senior Johnny Pesky Teammate Awards. Six year Ruffneck, Seamus Barrett (Lousiville commit), earned one recognition.  Five year veteran Richie McNamara (Bowdoin commit) earned the other recognition.  Of course the evening included a shout out for the tremendous, devoted, and instructive coaches at all levels of the program.  Lots to give thanks for!  On to 2020!