Bobby Richardson speaks to SCSFA

CarolinaFireJournal - Mike Coffey
Mike Coffey
08/01/2012 -

The South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association (SCSFA) recently hosted their 107th Annual Fire-Rescue Conference June 4-9, 2012 at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This year’s theme was based on our President Chief Ken Kerber’s love of baseball, the great American past time. The theme was “Swinging for the Fences, Making the Impossible, Possible.”

An invitation to be the guest keynote speaker of the opening ceremony was extended to Bobby Richardson, one of South Carolina’s native sons. Coach Richardson, who is considered one of the best baseball players of all times, graciously accepted the invitation.


Bobby Richardson signs autographs at the conference. (Pictured l-r) Joy Gibson, Jeff Oswald, Bobby Richardson and Wesley Murphy.

Coach Richardson amassed many accomplishments during his playing and coaching careers. He signed a minor league contract to play for the New York Yankees at the age of 17. After two years in the minor leagues he joined the major league team at the age of 19. During his 12 year career with the Yankees his team won the pennant nine out of his first 10 years. Some of his accomplishments on the playing field include:

  • 1960 World Series MVP
  • 7 Time All-star
  • 5 consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove winner
  • Most RBI’s in a World Series Game
  • Most RBI’s in a World Series
  • Most hits in a World Series
  • Played in 30 consecutive World Series games

Some of his accomplishments after his playing career include:

  • The University of South Carolina Gamecocks Head Baseball Coach from 1970-1976
  • Runner-up in the 1975 NCAA College World Series, the first series appearance in the schools history. Compiled a 221-92-1 record at South Carolina
  • 3 NCAA Appearances
  • Considered the father of South Carolina Gamecocks baseball and is credited with having set them on their path to becoming one of the elite NCAA baseball programs in the nation.
  • Coastal Carolina University Head Baseball Coach
  • Liberty University Head Baseball Coach
  • Served as President of Baseball Chapel for 10 years
  • Active member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes

During Coach Richardson’s opening remarks, he thanked the SCSFA for the invitation to be their keynote speaker and said that it was an honor and a privilege for him.

Coach Richardson shared many accounts of his playing career with the Yankees to the attendees. The topic that he is most proud to share with any audience is his love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Coach Richardson is a devoted Christian and shares his testimony when and wherever he has an opportunity.

He recollected on his 30 year reunion of the 1961 Yankees which was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The spokesmen for the reunion were Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford. There were over 1000 people in attendance in the ballroom where the reunion was held. After the evening concluded he went back to his room to have his daily devotion. He thought about during the ceremony that no one had mentioned about the guys, Roger Maris, Elston Howard and Duke Maas, from that team that had already departed into eternity. That particular evening during his devotion he was reading from the Book of Psalm Chapter 90. He challenged the attendees as he was that evening, to make the most of their life because it’s brief.

He stated that we all have a power in the example of our lives and we make an impact whether we realize it or not; therefore it is important how we live them. We must not have a cheerful outlook, good disposition out in public and then a front that falls down at home where our true nature is revealed.

During his message he spoke of a man’s man. Coach Richardson’s definition was:

  • One that dares to stand for principles when the whole world stands against him
  • Dares to uphold the right against all odds
  • Does not yield easily to the whelms of the crowd
  • Flesh point against sin
  • Dares not to laugh at obscene stories
  • Indignant when men uses the name of Christ in cursing smeared around in filthy manner, lewd jokes
  • Courage to guard what is sacred and dares to profess love for God in the midst of materialistic secular crowd that might jeer
  • Ruled by principle when most are governed by expediency and is not sucked in by the philosophy that “everybody is doing it”

It is evident that Coach Richardson personifies a man’s man by his daily walk with his convictions. After his message, Coach Richardson spent the next several hours autographing dozens of baseballs and magazines in which all the proceeds went to his daughter’s mission organization, African Inland Mission International.

It was the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association’s honor to have such an icon as Coach Bobby Richardson to reside over the opening ceremony for this year’s conference.

Captain Coffey currently serves as one of the training officers of the High Point Fire Department. He has been an instructor with the NC Community College system and the Office of the State Fire Marshal since 1990. He can be reached at [email protected].
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