College baseball lost its biggest fan Monday when John Wylde of the Wareham Gatemen died at the age of 70.
Wylde, as the link talks about, helped forge the current Cape Cod League by helping save the Gatemen and then making Wareham the league’s most consistent franchise. Wareham made 17 playoff trips in Wylde’s 25 years with the club, including 13 straight from 1990-2002.
Wyle helped Wareham have the best teams by knowing more about college baseball than just about anyone in the country. He followed the game with a deep passion, which you had to have to follow the game before the Internet. Wylde scoured every source, working the phones, subscribing to newspapers and hunting for leads for new players. BA’s Jim Callis tells a story of his early days here, when Wylde would call late in the summer and ask Jim to send him the stats of other summer college leagues when they were finished.
In recent years Wylde had been slowed by his liver cancer, and he yielded his post as Wareham’s team president last year. In his tenure, the Gatemen had some of the league’s biggest-name alumni, such as the 1998 squad that featured both Ben Sheets and Barry Zito in the rotation, or more recent teams that included the likes of Jeremy Sowers and Justin Masterson.
Most of all, Wylde loved the game, and that passion strengthened not only the Gatemen, but the entire Cape Cod League. He’ll be missed.
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