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Tommy Richardson Inducted into Bowman Field Hall of Fame01/15/2009 4:33 PM ET
The late Tommy Richardson is the latest member of the Bowman Field Hall of Fame. The induction was announced at the Williamsport Crosscutters Annual Hot Stove League Banquet last night at the Genetti Hotel. Accepting on his behalf were his son Tommy Richardson, III and daughter Sharry Lukach.
Richardson was one of Williamsport's most famous citizens for more than 40 years. That fame came from his extensive involvement in the world of professional baseball as well as his talents as a world-class toastmaster and after-dinner speaker across the country.
He was known variously as the "Merry Minstrel of Baseball," "Torrid Tommy," the "Ambassador of Sunshine" and "Baseball's Man of A Million Wisecracks."
After World War I, Tommy became involved in the car business, operating a Buick dealership in Williamsport for more than 30 years.
Baseball beckoned for him in 1923 when he became a director of the Williamsport Grays baseball club. It was in this capacity that he became close personal friends with legendary Philadelphia A's owner and manager, Connie Mack. Mack placed Tommy on the A's payroll as a goodwill ambassador and it was while doing that, he helped keep the great A's teams of the late twenties loose during their World Series runs of 1929 through 1931 with his wit and sense of hilarity.
Tommy's relationship with Mack may have been a major factor in Richardson's being elected of the Eastern League in 1937. Richardson's talent for showmanship and promotion may have been a major reason for the league drawing one million fans for the first time in 1939, as well as the league's survival during World War II, when it was only one of 10 minor leagues that continued operating during the war.
Richardson became president of the International League in the 60's and served until 1965. He was then elected again as president of the Eastern League, serving until his death in 1970.
He was inducted into the West Branch Valley Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.
The Bowman Field Hall of Fame was started in 1989 by The Bowman Field Commission and the Williamsport Bills as a way to honor those who where influential and important to the history of Bowman Field and baseball in Williamsport.
The Bowman Field Hall of Fame, dormant since 1991, has been revived by the Williamsport Crosscutters who plan to induct a new member each year at the Annual Hot Stove Banquet. Plaques honoring members of the Bowman Field Hall of Fame will debut at the stadium in the summer of '09.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.