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Ben Mondor, and the voices of the PawSox

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  October 8, 2010 06:20 PM

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finnrice2.jpgThis week's media column -- featuring an explanation for ESPN's planned LeBron and Friends Overkill, the summer and September ratings in the fierce and fascinating sports radio rivalry, and the shrinkage of NESN's Red Sox ratings -- can be found right here. For those of you who have told me you have a hard time finding it on the site, it's almost always posted early Friday morning in the righthand "headlines" column on the boston.com/sports front, and I'm working on coming up with some kind of archive here on TATB. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading.

One item that didn't make the final cut this week was a semi-media-related note about longtime Pawtucket Red Sox owner Ben Mondor, who died Sunday at age 85. Mondor, who rescued the PawSox from bankruptcy 1977 and befriended the likes of Jim Rice, Nomar Garciaparra, and Wade Boggs through the years as well as countless ballplayers who never achieved their status, was legendary and beloved for treating the team’s employees with uncommon generosity.

That kindness extended to the PawSox broadcasters, a striking number of whom, as my colleague Pete Abraham pointed out, have gone on to high-profile big league gigs. Remarkably, including NESN's Don Orsillo, there are six former Pawtucket broadcasters currently calling games for big league clubs: Gary Cohen (Mets), Dave Flemming (Giants), Andy Freed (Rays), Dave Jageler (Nationals), and Glenn Geffner (Marlins).

Dan Hoard, the current (and outstanding) voice of the PawSox, elaborated on Mondor's way with people in a thoughtful tribute on his "Heard it from Hoard" blog earlier this week. Wrote Hoard:

For the past few years, [my wife] Peg has received flowers on every appropriate occasion -- Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, her birthday -- you name it, the flowers have arrived like clockwork.

Only I had nothing to do with it.

Ben Mondor recognized that the spouses of his full-time employees faced a difficult burden because of the amount of time that we spend away from home, so he made a point over the years to always have the team send something thoughtful on holidays.

Hoard’s warm sentiments and recollections about Mondor were echoed by Orsillo, who spent five years calling PawSox games (1996-2000) before his callup to the big leagues.

‘‘He was a grandfatherly figure, and the most generous person I have met in this game,’’ said Orsillo from St. Petersburg, Fla., where he was preparing to call Game 2 of the Rays-Rangers playoff series on TBS.

‘‘He treated us all like family, and made us believe we could do our job at the big-league level someday. He was a wonderful man and so many of us are indebted to him.’’

Hard to imagine a more meaningful legacy than leaving those who knew you feeling like they were better for it.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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