From Cannons to Top Hats, Wally Hurd Has Represented the Connecticut MSBL with Dignity for over 25 Years
By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
58-year-old Wally Hurd plays in the Connecticut MSBL for the New Canaan Cannons in the South division of the 11-team, 25-over league. He started in the league in 1995 and even served as president for a half dozen years.
“I used to drive to Staten Island to play but it was an hour and a half drive,” explained Wally. “I counted the days before I turned 30 so that I could play closer to home. The league began in 1989 and was a 30-over league so I could do nothing but wait!”
I asked Wally how and when he became league president and why he gave it up.
“A buddy on my team was asked to be president and asked me to be a vice president. I couldn’t say no, of course. Then he moved away shortly after that and I took over. Regarding why I stepped aside, I frankly couldn’t take the constant problem-solving and stress of it all. It was draining my baseball juices so I went back to playing and managing.”
Wally’s baseball path in Stratford, Connecticut, began as the usual baseball kid who played Babe Ruth at 13 and then high school ball, without playing in the summer. In his junior year of high school, he had some schools looking, including Yale, but didn’t play college baseball. He met his wife during that same junior year and the rest, as they say, is history.
Now basically retired and living in Norwalk, Connecticut, Wally’s focus is coaching the kids.
“I love teaching softball to the kids, beginning as early as eight years old. I have been doing it for 25 years and coached my daughters all through high school. I coached high school softball for 12 years.”
Getting back to baseball and the Connecticut MSBL, Wally is far from retired from the field.
“I am now playing first base and sometimes second base for the Cannons, who are managed by our current league president Henry Boynton. But I have played every position over the years. My son, who just graduated from college, is now 23 so I have to at least keep playing in the league for a couple more years so that we can play together. Maybe one of these days we can get to Arizona and the MSBL World Series and play in the Father/Son division. I have never been there and would love to give it a try.”
Wally’s baseball coaching legacy happens to include one of the premier travel teams stemming from the Connecticut league.
“I managed the Monroe Top Hats tournament team for many years. We played in a lot of MSBL tournaments, as well as many regional ones. We get to the Fall Classic almost every year and occasionally the Holiday Classic, with Vegas in the mix once in a while. I gave up managing, as it was very time-consuming, but I still play for them off and on. I was also happy to be a member of the DC Express which won the 2014 Fall Classic 45+ Central Division championship.
The players on the early Top Hats teams were very, very close. Their families came to the tournaments, we took personal vacations together, and we all looked forward to seeing one another. It was a special bunch that is hard to replicate.”
I asked Wally if he had a special moment from his years in the league. It involved a sort of ‘in your face’ moment, though a friendly one.
“Early on in the league we were playing in a championship game and the manager said he was batting 13 guys, which was a little odd for such a big game. The other issue was that I was batting 11th! What happened was surreal, in that, I hit two home runs from the 11 hole and we won the game. To this day I will bring that up every time I see him!”
“I always shake my head that Steve Sigler had a thought and made something out of it. He made it work and took it to the next level. Thank you for giving us a platform to chase our dreams.”