Tribute to Tim Ellstrom, “the voice of Hyannis Baseball”
He wasn’t just the face of the Hyannis baseball franchise; he was also her voice.
Sadly, that voice has now been silenced forever after the sudden and unexpected passing of Tim Ellstrom on August 17 at the age of 69.
Ellstrom had been involved with the Hyannis team for over 40 years, dating back to his tenure as the Mets shortly after they entered the league in 1976.
“Tim was the kind of guy, like Bob Stead, who you always expected him to be there. And he would be here forever,” said former Hyannis and Cape Cod Baseball President said. , Judy Walden Scarafile “It’s going to be hard to imagine Hyannis without him.”
A native of Rochester, New York, Ellstrom enjoyed his first Cape League baseball game in the summer of 1976, while on a family vacation in Eastham. It was a love story born out of a steadfast interest as a sports fan and the intimate feeling that Cape League games gave him.
After returning to New York that fall, he subscribed to the Cape Cod Times so he could follow the league through the 1977 and 1978 seasons.
In 1979 he quit his job at the Bell Telephone office in Poughkeepsie, moved to the Hyannis office and moved full time to Cape Town. Almost immediately, he got involved with the Hyannis baseball team.
“He did it the same way I did and Pete Scarafile did,” recalls Bill Bussiere, longtime vice president of the Cape League and director of corporate development. “He was sitting there one day watching the game, and Jack (Aylmer) asked him, ‘Hey, do you want to help pass the hat or sell a 50/50?’ And the rest is history. “
As Ellstrom later jokes, “This is the last time I had a summer free.” He became the announcer for the Hyannis Mets the following season.
“He’s been here forever,” said current Hyannis Harbor Hawks president Brad Pfeiffer. “He’s only missed a dozen games in the past 40 years, at home and away.”
“He was the voice of the franchise, and truly the heart and soul of it,” Pfeiffer continued. “He was president, GM, he did it all. He just spent his summers with the Harbor Hawks.
In fact, Ellstrom has done almost every job with the Harbor Hawks – including the vice president and secretary – except being treasurer.
“I don’t want anything to do with the money,” he laughed. However, he wore more hats for Hyannis than most franchises sell in their concession stands.
“He loved the Harbor Hawks; he loved everything about them, ”said Judy Scarafile. “Whenever we had an event, whether it was Cape Cod Beer or the Chili Festival, he was always the first volunteer. (He said) ‘I’ll be there,’ and always has been.
While his tenure as an advertiser lasted the longest, he actually stepped away from the mic during his years as CEO. However, he returned to the announcer’s booth, where he was a fixture and the voice of Hyannis baseball for over 20 years.
A walking encyclopedia of Hyannis Mets and Harbor Hawks lore, he bought a new scorecard every year and scored every baseball game, at home or away.
“Even during seasons when the team was not doing well, or if it was a rainy night on an opposing field with few fans present,” recalls Judy Scarafile. “Tim would be there, sitting in his chair and scoring the game. It was truly amazing.
Ellstrom never married but is survived by his father, a brother and three sisters who still live in New York City, as well as numerous nieces and nephews of whom he was a devoted uncle.
“My wife and I always called Tim ‘our oldest son,’ even though he was older than the two of us,” Bussiere said. “He took my son Will under his wing, and Will used to sit in the press box with Tim and manage the dashboard.”
Bussiere also noted that for many years Ellstrom traveled with his family for the Pawtucket Red Sox season opener, which was another of his passions.
“The Harbor Hawks were, indeed, his family,” said Judy. “There’s no question he bled Orange and Blue. He was an incredible fan beyond being a dedicated volunteer.
In 2004, Ellstrom received the Sullivan Tire Team Volunteer of the Year Award for the then-Hyannis Mets organization, for the volunteer service Sullivan Tire provided to every team in the league.
Two years later, upon induction into the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame, he received the prestigious Fred Ebbett Lifetime Achievement Award.
“He’s been there forever as a team historian,” Pfeiffer said. “He had all the memories of the team. He was in the press box every game. He bought a new book (of sheet music) every year. Can you imagine some of the names on these dashboards? “
Ellstrom also liked to get into the spirit of the theme parties Hyannis would host during the summer.
“If we had a Christmas on the night of July, he would be in the press box decked out in red and green, with a Santa hat on his head,” Judy said. “He was always happy to participate in something like this to support the cause of the team. “
She also recalled that Ellstrom was the only person who called her Jude and noted her affinity for the Dr. Pepper drink.
“He was like, ‘Hey Jude, can you tell me about a Dr Pepper?’ », She remembers.
Fittingly, during an impromptu memorial service held in her honor last Saturday night at McKeon Park, her memory was toast by everyone in attendance with a can of Dr Pepper.
While Hyannis’ team will inevitably have to look for their replacement in the announcer stand as well as within the franchise, Pfeiffer knows it will be nearly impossible.
“We won’t even think about it for months,” he said. “You just can’t fill the void he leaves.”
Bussiere noted that Ellstrom was a staple at every Hyannis board meeting, every day of fieldwork and even brought the team’s uniforms home and put them away in his basement. during the winter.
The void will likely not be fulfilled until next spring when – for the first time in over 40 years – Tim Ellstrom won’t be there.
” We will miss him. It was a real cog, ”says Bussière sadly. “He will be missed for many reasons besides the fact that he was just a wonderful man.”
Email Mike Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org.