The Sox-UNH Connection (Update)

The Sox-UNH Connection (Update)

Links Go W-a-a-a-y Back
Thursday, November 7, 2013

WFXT- Behind the Monster from Scott Ripley on Vimeo.

UNH Videographer Scott Ripley produced this piece about the scorekeepers who work in the Green Monster at Fenway when he worked for WFXT out of Boston. It was nominated for an Emmy for Best Sports Feature and was recognized in the feature category by the National Press Photographers Association Region 1.

More UNH-Red Sox Connections

Following last week’s Red Sox victory in the World Series and our UNH Today story about connections between the Wildcats and the Fenway faithful, several astute readers wrote to share additional connections.

Sox Nutritionist Graduated from UNH

Boston.com reported the inside story this week on a key contributor to the Red Sox’s success: Tara Mardigan, a UNH graduate who serves as the team’s nutritionist. Mardigan earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition at UNH, and graduate degrees in public health and nutrition from Tufts University.

Also known as “The Plate Coach,” Mardigan is highly regarded for her in-depth knowledge of the science of food and nutrition and her pragmatic approach to day-to-day healthy eating and living. In addition to counseling the Red Sox players, Mardigan serves as a nutritionist at the Lown Cardiovascular Center and as a science advisor to InsiderTracker, an online health analytics company. Through her blog, “The Latest Dish,” she offers practical advice and observations on diet and health, which featured an Oct. 29 entry on eating during the stress of the Red Sox playoffs.

Another UNH Hoops Player with the Sox

Carlton Fisk isn’t the only major leaguer who attended UNH on a basketball scholarship before playing for the Red Sox. At 6-feet, 7-inches tall and 225 pounds, Rich Gale played both basketball and baseball at UNH. But his commanding presence on the mound prompted the Kansas City Royals to draft him in the fifth round of the 1975 major league draft. He advanced to the big leagues with the team in 1978, winning a career high 14 games as a rookie. After moving on to pitch with several other clubs, he finished out his seven-year major league career with the Red Sox in 1984, alongside rookie Roger Clemens. He later played internationally and in other leagues, and served as a Red Sox pitching coach in 1992 and 1993.

Actor Finally Gets His Shot at Fenway

Actor Mike O’Malley ’88 told the UNH Magazine in 2010 that his dream was to play center field for the Red Sox. He came fairly close last week, on the night the Red Sox won the World Series at Fenway. O’Malley was at the game, and lingered along with other fans into the wee hours of the next morning.

At about 3 a.m., O’Malley tweeted photos of Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster throwing batting practice to any fans who were still there, according to the New York Daily News.

World Series

Handler Hall residents celebrate the Red Sox winning the World Series at Fenway. (Mike Ross/UNH Photographic Services)

With the Red Sox winning a thrilling Game 6 to clinch the World Series, UNH Wildcats can also celebrate a surprisingly rich and long history with the Fenway faithful, dating to the team’s earliest days.

Red Sox ace, then UNH president

Edward M. Lewis

If Jon Lester decides to attend college after his playing days are over, he might make the big leagues of academia, too. It wouldn’t be the first time a Red Sox ace has gone on to excel in higher ed.

Edward M. Lewis, president of UNH from 1927-1936, was a member of the first Red Sox team in 1901, and pitched its first-ever shutout, a 5-0 victory against Cleveland to end the season. “The Pitching Professor” was unusual for his time: He was college-educated, did not drink and refused to play ball on Sunday—and he had one heck of a curveball. Jake Morse, a writer for the Boston Herald who covered the Sox, said, “…the heaviest hitters went down before his speedy deliveries like corn stalks before a gale," according to a biography from the Society for American Baseball Research.

UNH’s Lewis Fields are named after him. The great American poet Robert Frost was one of his closest friends, and the two played ball informally in the backyard when they got together.

“Super Secret” Wildcat pens Sox love song

Count yourself among the Fenway faithful? Then check out the Super Secret Project’s latest music video, “I Love the Red Sox,” a rap-ish, whiskery ode to Boston’s favorite team, and see if you can pick out the nod it gives to David Ortiz’s famous salute to Boston during the team’s first home game following the marathon bombing last April. Videographer Christian Wisecarver ’00, Billy Donohoe and Darby DeChristopher founded the comedy trio and gained fame with their 2010 YouTube music video, “Granite State of Mind,” which has been viewed nearly 2.5 million times.

Before the Sox, “Pudge” was a Wildcat

Playing hoops at UNH is a great way to prepare one for the rough-and-tumble of a demanding, fast-paced career, whether that’s using team-building skills in the boardroom or, say, saving the Red Sox in a critical game of the World Series. Carlton Fisk, the Hall of Famer and legendary Red Sox catcher, attended UNH on a scholarship—for basketball. Fisk played baseball here, too, and left when he was drafted by the Red Sox. Smart move in this case. Remember that 12th inning homer in game six of 1975 World Series? Still has us at the edge of our seats.

Wildcats in the Sox line-up

Several Wildcats helped the Red Sox reach the World Series this year—not on field, but in the front office.

One of the Red Sox’s top performers is also a top player for the UNH Wildcats. Fred Olsen ’97 serves as director of special projects for the Red Sox. At UNH, he serves on the Alumni Association board of directors, and received the Young Alumnus Achievement Award in 2010. He has also been president of UNH alumni chapters in Washington, D.C. and Boston.

Brendan Hankard ’04, the team’s manager of premium sales, learned something about performing under pressure at UNH. A soccer player at UNH, he received the Robert Black Most Valuable Player Award four years in a row, and was named to the All-New England Team three years in a row.

The Man of the Monster

Christian Elias '95 in front of the Green Monster scoreboard

Christian Elias '95 at the Green Monster in 2000.

Christian Elias ’95 may have one of most enviable jobs in Major League Baseball. For more than 20 years, he’s been behind the quirky works of the Green Monster’s legendary scoreboard. Built in 1934, the left field scoreboard is operated manually, requiring scorekeepers to move around 13-by-16-inch numbered plates into slots as they keep track of the score, balls, strikes, hits, errors and other statistics. Elias has watched more than 1,500 games from inside the Green Monster. He’s also met many of the biggest names in baseball when the players venture into the bunker behind the scoreboard to sign their names on the walls.

Under pressure, MacMullan delivers

Jackie MacMullen '82

When the pressure’s on and the Red Sox take to the plate in the bottom of the 9th, fans know they can count on Jackie MacMullan ’82 to hit the keyboard and knock the game’s story out of the park.

Now covering the World Series for ESPN, the veteran sports journalist honed her writing skills at UNH, where she also excelled at basketball after walking onto the team as a freshman. She joined the Boston Globe in 1982, where she was the paper’s Celtics beat writer and a columnist until 2008. Recognized as one of the nation’s top sports writers, she has been a key contributor to Sports Illustrated and is the author of several books, including the New York Times bestseller, “When the Game Was Ours,” a collaboration with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. In 2010, she became the first woman to win the Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Basketball Hall of Fame.

That’s one way to build the fan base

Several UNH students arrived on campus this fall with an extra incentive to root for the Sox. They were among 35 New Hampshire public high school students who received scholarships awarded by the Red Sox Foundation. The $1,000 scholarships were presented at the Red Sox game on May 26, during New Hampshire Day at Fenway with Gov. Maggie Hassan. Red Sox owner John Henry and his wife, Linda Pizzuti, and then-Gov. John Lynch ’74 launched the program in 2010.

Schoalarship recipients at Fenway

This year’s scholarship winners attending UNH are: Hannah Bush of Richmond, Nicole Foti of Berlin, Naomi Houle of Salem, Shaun Shea of Alton and Tiffany Winn of Chesterfield. Applications for 2014 are being accepted until Dec. 14.

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