Baseball Legend Billy Beane Sends Video Greetings to Little Falls
Little Falls Mayor Mark Blask has great memories of professional baseball in Little Falls. In part, because his dad, Maynard Blask was a part owner and general manager of the Class A NY Penn League Little Falls Mets in the early days. The Mets played at Veteran's Memorial Park there from 1977 until 1988.
Recently, Maynard was celebrating his 91st birthday and one of his former players from his 1981 team, baseball great Billy Beane, sent him a video birthday greeting on Facebook. "I just wanted to call and wish you a happy 91st birthday," Beane said in his video message. "I feel extremely fortunate that my first general manager in professional baseball was you," said Beane.
"He and my Dad have kept up over the years," said Blask. "When I asked him to do a birthday message from him, he did so quickly. It was a sweet gesture, one that my Dad certainly appreciated."
"A phenomenal high school athlete in Southern California, he was headed to Stanford where he had scholarships for both baseball and football (he was the heir apparent to John Elway who was the QB there)," said Blask. "When the Mets drafted him in the first round, he decided to sign with them and was sent to start his baseball career with the Little Falls Mets. My dad was the General Manager of that team. Even though I was 12 that summer, I have clear memories of my Dad picking Billy up at the Syracuse airport and bringing him to our house on Church Street. It was a good time to be a kid," said Blask.
Beane, now the executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and a minority owner of the Oakland A's, is considered one of the great minds in baseball. In fact, they made a movie about his baseball knowledge and his "sabermetricts" approach to the game. Beane's character was played by Brad Pitt in the movie Moneyball.
Here's the video message from Beane.
Beane was a fan-favorite in Little Falls and ultimately made it to the majors where he would spend six years as a player. While his career in uniform never lived up to the expectation, his career as a scout for the A's and 18 years as their general manager in the front office turned out to be his destiny.
Other notable players to wear the Little Falls Mets uniform include, Rick Aguilera, Wally Backman, Kevin Elster, Todd Hundley and Dwight Gooden (for a brief stint). New York Mets shortstop (1965-1977) Bud Harrelson was the team manager when they won the NY Penn League in 1984. 1960's NY Mets pitcher Al Jackson was the pitching coach.