Special thanks go to Geoff Cunningham, Jr., from the The Citizen of Laconia newspaper for the following excerpt of an article from the May 11, 2007 issue.
TILTON - The Tilton-Northfield Little League got a shot in the arm on Thursday when the father of Red Sox superstar closer Jonathan Papelbon came to town with a check to help curb the blow of the thousands of dollars that are believed to have been stolen from the youth organization prior to the start of the season. John Papelbon, who shares the same name as his son, attended a Tilton selectmen's meeting and presented Little League officials with a check for $2,000 from the nonprofit Ted Williams Museum.
"We know what it's like to raise funds because that's what we do," said Papelbon, adding that he hoped the check will get the league to "third base" even if it doesn't totally cover their losses. The older Papelbon is the deputy director of the St. Petersburg, FL-based "Hitters Hall of Fame" and on Thursday he came to town with former Ted Williams bodyguard and longtime Tilton resident Dave McCarthy, the executive director of the museum. The pair came upon the story during a recent visit to the Lakes Region and, while the investigations continued, they decided to act.
McCarthy and Papelbon recently traveled to the Lakes Region and saw media reports of the stolen funds, which moved them to temporarily diverge from their normal fundraising campaigns for organizations like the Jimmy Fund. The Ted Williams Museum works in conjunction with the Red Sox and operates a 10,000-square-foot-museum dedicated to legends of the game, which is housed on two floors of the Tampa Bay Devil Ray's Tropicana Field.
McCarthy spent years serving as Williams' bodyguard and is a former executive major with the N.H. State Police. He said Williams would have wanted to help the youths in Tilton and Northfield. "Ted loved kids and baseball," he remarked.
Larry Prince, a representative of the Little League, attended Thursday's meeting and said the incident has had little impact on the team as its was able to start the season and concentrate on having fun Ñ not the pending investigation. However, he assured, the donation is much-appreciated and it continues the public outpouring of support from many wanting to donate. "Thankfully, they didn't lose faith in us," said Price.
McCarthy and Papelbon travel around the country to promote and raise funds, but they have spent time in the Tilton area, as they sometimes work out of Fenway Park. Papelbon is the father of three sons who all play professional baseball. Jonathan Papelbon of the Red Sox is the most well-known and is the pitcher the team goes to when it wants to protect a tight lead in the eighth and ninth innings. Josh Papelbon is currently with the Red Sox affiliate Lowell Spinners and Jeremy Papelbon is with the minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.
McCarthy said the donation is a perfect fit for the Ted Williams Museum which focuses on showcasing some of the game's top players from the past to the present. The free museum has inducted 70 players since it opened in 1994. Located two hours north of the Red Sox spring training grounds in Florida, the museum is home to an impressive assortment of baseball memorabilia and boasts a theater. It is named after a Red Sox hitter some refer to as the best hitter ever to play the game. McCarthy, who became the executive director when Williams died, said the museum highlights the game bats of players who have hit more than 500 home runs, including the likes of Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle. He said among its greatest treasures is a 1911 game-used bat of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson of the White Sox and a recent addition was a baseball signed by Babe Ruth to Ted Williams that was stolen more than 20 years ago but was since recovered.