John Wylde has been a Cape Cod League icon for nearly 25 years. The longtime president and general manager of the Wareham Gatemen is beloved by countless players, fans and coaches who have passed through the Cape League. Wylde, who is battling liver cancer, will be inducted into the league’s hall of fame tomorrow.
"The image of John is one of kindness and generosity," said Harvard coach Joe Walsh, who served on the Gatemen coaching staff for eight years in the 1990s and will accept the award on Wylde’s behalf while Wylde continues his fight against cancer in the hospital. "He’s worked so hard at the statistical end of things. To me, hearing John’s voice welcoming people to Spillane Field and the Wareham Gatemen, that’s as much of a welcoming sound as Sherm Feller welcoming people to Fenway Park when I was a kid."
In addition to his meticulous work with the Cape League’s statistics, Wylde worked to give more New England players opportunities to play in the Cape League by setting up a tryout every year in Wareham. His dedication to the players has not wavered for a quarter-century; even though doctors told him he’s only got a couple of months left, Walsh said Wylde hopes to make it through one more season on the Cape, because he feels an obligation to his players.
"After each Cape League game, he’s up until 4 in the morning putting the stats together for all the games just so the scouts will have the stats," Walsh said. "I can’t even begin to tell you how many scouts and GMs call him up, and he’s always got all the information they need. He sends Christmas cards to all his players, makes sure they get their t-shirts at Christmas time.
"And he’s the guy in the Cape League that’s keeping it solid. People there want to give guys days off, cut the games down, let them have fun, but John says, ‘Hey, if you’re going to coach in my program, you’re going to teach.’ It’s teaching, it’s not guys on vacation down there, it’s preparing them for the minor leagues. He fights all the time to keep the schedule at 44 games. You don’t need to go on vacation for the weekend, you’re down there to play baseball. He’s tremendous–I could go on and on, and so could a million other people."
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