CHARLESTON, SC - Questioning why he was selected but admitting that he didn't say "no," Charleston RiverDogs Co-Owner and Director of Fun Bill Murray joined two others as the latest inductees into the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame during ceremonies Tuesday afternoon prior to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game in which the RiverDogs are hosting.
Murray joined long-time Charleston Mayor and baseball supporter Joseph P. Riley, Jr. - the namesake of the RiverDogs' ball park - and veteran Asheville Tourists executive Carolyn McKee in the Hall of Fame as the 53rd annual mid-season festivities continued prior to the game.
Providing the keynote address for the luncheon which was held in a filled ballroom at the Charleston Marriott was New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Cashman, who reminded the All-Stars and those in attendance that "You never know who is watching you do what you do."
Cashman alluded to the fact that he started his career with the Yankees as an intern in 1986 and "did what they asked me to do and did it to the best of my ability."
Master of Ceremonies Dean Stephens of WCIV-TV began the event that had nearly 400 people in attendance with the introductions of the Northern and Southern Division All-Stars, who were all adorned in their respective team's jerseys. Major General James E. Livingston introduced Staff Sergeant Frank Verant, the honorary player for the Northern Division, while Steve Carroll of the Charleston Restaurant Association introduced Kevin Stapleton, who represents the local hospitality industry and is the honorary player for the Southern Division.
Murray, a celebrated actor, stated that he was lucky to be in the baseball business.
"I've been lucky to be involved in this baseball business," he said. "I got involved because I was invited and I've made many friends in this business."
Murray got involved in baseball through his relationship with RiverDogs President Mike Veeck and Marv Goldklang, principal in The Goldklang Group, which owns the RiverDogs and several other minor league teams.
"No one has ever asked me to be in a Hall of Fame before," Murray stated.
Riley, who is amidst his 10th term as Charleston's mayor, reflected on the passion he has for the game that stemmed from his father and grandfather.
"My grandfather took me to my first game at College Park 60 years ago. He taught me baseball," Riley explained. "When we opened the ball park (in 1997), I thought of it as a stadium for baseball and a cathedral for memories."
The mayor continued by stating that he was bringing his sons and grandsons to the All-Star Game and therefore, continuing that special relationship that a family can have through the game of baseball.
"I am so honored to be included in the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame," Riley concluded. "This is an opportunity to convey to you, the players, what you mean to us as fans."
McKee, who worked for the Asheville Tourists for 26 years (1980-05) in a multitude of administrative capacities called it a "tremendous honor. It's an honor to be a part of this distinguished group. When (SAL President) Eric Krupa told me about this, I was shocked and speechless, which is unusual for me. We don't do this job for awards, and I'm extremely humbled. I have so many memories of all the wonderful people I've met over the years."