Hart Baseball's Favorite Ump on the Road to Recovery
Our Beloved Blue
August, 2005 - Issue #10
Tomas Girgado
Tomas Girgado
Familiar faces are around every corner, and most likely, Tomas Girgado is one of them.

You probably stopped to read this article because you know the man smiling back at you.

How could you not recognize Tomas? This local hero/umpire served the fields of William S. Hart Baseball and Softball for the last 12 years - until the middle of May when he was picked up by paramedics at his home in Saugus for what he thought was the flu. Unfortunately, he wasn't suffering from a virus but from a cancerous ulcer that required the removal of most of his stomach. But after meeting with Tomas only a few days after his surgery, I could tell that the love of the game is holding him together and making him stronger and stronger each day.

Tomas has devoted most of his life to baseball. From his brief days in the Dominican Republic where he caught his first ball to his organization of a Sunday league in Cuba for his sons and their friends, to his dedication to the kids at Hart, the man lives, eats and breathes America's favorite pastime. Tomas recalls his first encounter with the sport, "I was born in Spain, where soccer was the main focus, but living as a refugee in the Dominican Republic, I learned the basics of the game and loved every minute of the breaks from school when we could go out on the field."

After playing in an amateur league in Cuba, he brought his passion for baseball over to the States in 1968, where he raised his sons to have the same fervor for the sport. Once out of the workforce, Tomas soon became bored with retired life and replied to a help-wanted ad in the Signal for umpires.

The rest, as they say, is history. For the past 12 years he has served as the beloved blue, calling shots from his favorite spot, right behind the plate. He has dealt with the best and worst of players and parents, watching the kids evolve from t-ball to varsity high school teams. He has most likely been witness to some of your kids' best moments of their adolescent years, sliding into home to clinch a championship game, receiving an RBI or catching their first pop-up in the outfield.

Hart Baseball players have established close emotional connections with the well-liked ump
Hart Baseball players have established close emotional connections with the well-liked ump
On Father's Day, Hart had a celebration for the adored umpire during the All Star game, where current and past parents and players filled the stands to celebrate a man they all share a strong bond with as a friend of the family, a loving father figure and an expert in his craft.

Tomas, fighting back tears, grew sentimental while discussing the celebration. He was touched by everyone who came out and shared their appreciation for his time and dedication to the sport and to the children.

When I asked Tomas if he had a favorite moment during his umpping career, he can't even begin to narrow it down. The thing he says he loves most is the fact that the kids and parents don't call him "ump" or "blue" - they call him by his name. When he is approached in the grocery store, which I am told he frequents often, the recognition alone melts his heart and reaffirms his enthusiasm for the game and its players.

Tomas umpped until the day before he was admitted to the hospital and has every intention of returning to the field as soon as his energy is revived. From the looks of it, nothing can stop Tomas from coming back. He says, "I love everyone over at William S. Hart and I will keep doing everything I can to stay connected to it."

He informs me that he couldn't even rest in the hospital because it was not equipped with cable, which meant he wouldn't be able to watch his favorite American and National league teams, the Yankees and the Pirates. With all of the concerned calls and letters Tomas Jr. received on account of his father's disappearance from the field and the grocery store, he is confident that his father will be back at it in no time, since "Baseball is in his blood and he has instilled it in our family's blood as well."

Tomas has had an immense impact on our community, which means he is no longer just a face in the crowd; he is Tomas Girgado, umpire, father, friend and a man with a heart big enough to fill 10 baseball fields.
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