You've probably never heard of Lou Gorman, and chances are
you'll forget about what he accomplished in baseball by the next
edition of "SportsCenter". But if, and when you come across his
name again, I hope you'll say, "Yeah, Lou Gorman, I heard he
was one heckuva nice guy."
Gorman died early Friday morning, just hours before his beloved
Red Sox were going to open their new season. A cross between
Captain Kangaroo and the Pope, Gorman was a man of impeccable
character and integrity, who wouldn't say a bad thing about anyone,
not even Oil Can Boyd.
A captain in the Navy, Gorman served our country for eight years
before embarking on a baseball career that few could only dream of.
He was a general manager in Seattle and Boston, and helped build great
farms systems in Baltimore, Kansas City, and New York. He earned
two world series rings as a consultant with the Red Sox and was
inducted into six Hall of Fames.
I first met Gorman during spring training in 1988 when I was just a low
level minor-leaguer trying to find my way in camp. He was the general
manager of the Red Sox, who just two years earlier, came within a
strike of beating the Mets, a team he helped construct, in the World
We had finished a minor-league workout and I went to watch
the big team play an exhibition game. I kept getting kicked out of seats
by people who had actually paid for them. Gorman had been
watching all of this, and invited me to sit next to him in his customary
spot just off press row. I was a nobody and he made me
feel like a somebody. That was Lou Gorman.
Gorman let me sit there the entire game and pick his brain about
building a team and inquiry about all the players he had drafted,
from Jim Palmer to George Brett to Daryl Strawberry. It was
flat-out awesome and something I'll never forget. I thanked him
for the experience, and then we went our separate ways.
18 years later I made it to Boston, not as a player but as a sportscaster
for NESN. Our offices were in Fenway Park and we shared a break
room, or at least I did, with Red Sox front-office personnel. What
money I made from NESN, I felt guilty because it felt like stealing.
Boston. Red Sox. Fenway Park. Baseball. NESN. Are you kidding
I was in the kitchen one day stealing all the Red Sox food supplies,
(kidding, kind of) when Gorman walked in. It was like seeing
your grandfather after so many years. I introduced myself and told
him of our meeting in Winter Haven in 1988. He said he remembered
me, which he clearly didn't. Lou always wanted you to feel good
about yourself and feel important. That was Lou Gorman
This is how Lou treated everybody, like you were his best friend.
Always happy, always positive, he made everybody feel at home.
I still had an itch for baseball and asked if I could talk with him
some time and get his advice on making a career move back into
the game. Lou said it was no problem at all. He gave me his card
and said to call to make an appointment.
I called two weeks later and made the trek to his office at Fenway
Park. Trying to find it, one has to navigate the narrow hallways
as if they were galleys on the submarine in "The Hunt for Red
October." I managed to find Gorman's pint-size office and he
welcomed me like I was a member of the family.
We talked and talked and talked some more about baseball.
We'd get interrupted by phone calls, and Gorman would just say
he was busy and kindly asked to call back. I had the chance to
soak up all of this man's knowledge of the game, and the stories
He was instrumental in drafting some of the best players in the game.
George Brett, Willie Wilson, Bret Saberhagen, Dwight Gooden,
Strawberry, Dykstra, Mo Vaughn...the list went on and on.
As a baseball junkie, I had gone to the right place to get my fix.
Lou Gorman was amazing.
I asked him about the infamous trade of Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson,
one that followed him forever with the Red Sox. He didn't bat an eye.
"We already had Wade Boggs at third, and Scott Cooper, another solid
prospect in the minors," Gorman would say. "Bagwell hit for average in
AA but didn't have much power. We projected him to be a 10-15 home
run guy." Then the steroid era came. My words, not his. Bagwell went
on to hit almost 500 home runs for the Houston Astros.
People stopped by Gorman's office as if they were visiting Santa
Claus at the Mall before Christmas. Everybody loved Lou Gorman.
Everybody. He was a guy you hoped, would live forever. He deserved
to. A gentleman, a patriot, a man who helped so many others in
need, Lou Gorman was a class act. That was Lou Gorman. He will