By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
Richard ‘Dick’ Prue is a 67 year old roofing contractor who is still going strong in the business world while living in Pennsylvania and playing with one of the most successful MSBL World Series entrants of all time. The Lehigh Valley Moondogs have been making the trip to Arizona since the early nineties under the guidance of long time MSBL veteran Turk Starniri. Dick has been involved with several teams since 1991 but the most successful has been Turk’s Moondogs. For Dick’s efforts and dedication to the World Series, MSBL Founder and President Steve Sigler has inducted him into the 2017 class of the MSBL World Series Hall of Fame.
“We are primarily made up of players from our local league, where I have been personally fortunate to have earned a couple of MVP awards and one pitcher of the year honor, and that’s what makes it so special,” explained Prue. “Yes, we pick up a guy here and there but we have been able to win six rings over the years and are very proud of that. There were some years we have been 100% from the league.”
Dick has been married for 47 years to his sweetheart and biggest supporter, Karen. Between all of Dick’s baseball heroics, he and Karen have been able to produce a son and daughter and eight grand children. “Karen has been by my side at every World Series. That makes me very happy.”
Dick’s pitching resume stands tall in Arizona, as he has amassed 19 wins throughout the years. They won their first championship in 2003, though by his own admission he was a middle of the pack hurler by then after his 1997 surgery. “I never won a championship game as a pitcher. Some guys were just better, but I can still look at the ring!”
Is there a special achievement that sticks out from the World Series? After a moment or two of silence, Dick thoughtfully explained, “It took us 12 years to win our first championship and our first two years down there we were 0-6. That 2003 championship was in the 40-over division. There are many wonderful memories but the first championship has to be the highlight.” In 2017 Turk and the Moondogs will be trying for ring number seven as entrants in the 60-over and 65-over divisions.
Beyond all of the on-field accomplishments, has there been a personal moment that stands out above the rest? This answer came much quicker. “We were playing in 1994 and were playing at the Arizona State stadium and on our team was Jon Furillo, Carl Furillo’s son,” started Prue. “Guys our age, of course, remember Carl from the old Brooklyn Dodgers. Jon knew I was a big Dodger fan and as I looked up in the stands I noticed a large guy watching our game and asked him who it was. He said ‘It’s Joe Black’, who was a great pitcher for the Dodgers back in he day.
So we went up and talked to him, as he lived in the area and still loved watching baseball at all levels as he simply loved the game. He just stopped to watch. Joe was a very nice guy and asked us what they were doing the rest of week. He stopped back later in the week, came into the dugout and was there to watch my complete game victory. That is pretty hard to top.”
“In 2012 Hurricane Sandy hit our area back home while we were in Arizona, which was certainly a tough time for the players and their families. As a team we concluded that we should finish the tournament but decided to offer a prayer after every game. It has become a tradition and something we continue to this day,” said Prue.
Added Prue, “MSBL is a great organization and I’m thankful that it’s a vehicle for old guys to continue to play. Everybody says it but it’s true. We wouldn’t have come every year since 1991 if we didn’t appreciate their efforts.
Any time you get an award you are appreciative of it but you think someone else is more worthy. Baseball is a team game and you don’t win with just one player. So many people have contributed to this honor. You need all the pieces to gel and our players over the years have been the conduit that has kept us together.’
Concluded Dick, “I want to thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to play baseball almost my whole life and without injury ’till the last several years. He has given me a great life here and assurance for the life to come. The personal relationships that have been developed through our MSBL teams have grown into true friendships that I value greatly.”