MSBL League President Spotlight: Tim Hott, Long Island Midweek MABL/MSBL

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

Tim Hott’s resume reads like a favorite book, complete with yellow, dog-eared pages.  Tim is a 74-year-old lawyer by profession and Grandfather by preference.  He has been around long enough to remember the Brooklyn Dodgers knocking off the dreaded Yankees in the 1955 World Series and suffering along with everyone else as a New York teenager when the Dodgers led the west coast migration in the 60s. 

Tim started the Long Island Mid-week MSBL in 1990 with four teams and by 1993 they boasted 24.  The numbers peaked in 2009 when the league was comprised of  65 teams!  34 years later they have settled into a successful 33-team league, broken into six divisions encompassing a spring and fall session, with division names like Willy Mays, Mickey Mantle, Joe Pepitone, Cal Ripken, and Ty Cobb.  The actual ages of those divisions range from 26+ to 52+.  You can definitely sense Tim’s east coast influence!

Tim is an MSBL Hall of Fame member and one of the longest-tenured League Presidents (34 years) on the books.  He was nice enough to spend a few minutes with us recently as we continue our Q/A spotlight as part of the MSBL continuing 35-year anniversary series.  Enjoy!

Long Island Midweek MSBL Logo

What inspired you to become involved in MSBL at the beginning?  “Like everyone, I played softball in a local league and in 1988 went to a Mets Fantasy Camp.  I didn’t play baseball in school or as a kid but always managed my softball team, because of my organizational nature, and came back intrigued with playing the real game.  A good friend of mine, Ed Cantor, told me he was playing baseball on Sundays in Long Island, in what is known as the original MSBL affiliation and run by MSBL Founder and President Steve Sigler.  The next year after Ed and I went back to fantasy camp, I then decided I wanted to play baseball more seriously.  One essential element to this was that I told my wife that I would always leave the weekends free for the family since we had kids running around, so I needed to devise a league that played during the week. 

That led to my starting a brand-new league, which wasn’t yet affiliated with Steve’s MSBL.  I got a hold of my softball players and tried to get a league started that played during the week.  I wrote an article for the local paper about going to fantasy camp and wanting to get a league started in Great Neck.  I had a meeting with interested guys and set up a tryout date. 

I drafted two managers, which led to two complete teams, and then by luck, a team in Steve’s Long Island MSBL wanted to add midweek competition so that they could play more baseball.  We ultimately started with four teams on two high school fields.  Thursday was baseball and Tuesday was softball.  The concept caught on fast, as the next year we had 12 teams and had to use both high school fields we had set up, so softball became an image in the rear-view mirror!”

How did the Midweek League become affiliated with MSBL?  “Steve Sigler and I had a mutual friend, Ed Cantor, who played in Steve’s league, as I mentioned previously.  Ed mentioned our league to Steve, Steve called, we met, and the rest is history.  I remember going to Steve’s house and talking about it.  He was still working full-time elsewhere then, as he was just getting the whole MSBL concept jump-started from his dining room table.  We both shared the same approach.  By the way, Steve still pitched in the league back then and he threw gas!”  

What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learned through your years as League President?  “Be flexible.  Listen to your players and coaches.  You must become more adaptable.  As a businessman, you need to anticipate your customer’s needs and stay ahead of rules and anticipate certain scenarios.  The same goes for a league president.”

What advice can you offer first-year League Presidents?  “Heavy lies the head that wears the crown.  Take responsibility and take charge.  Always examine rules and issues from the point of view of the player.  Is it benefiting only the president or the entire league?  Try to never answer impulsively if you are upset to caught up in the moment.  Take the emotion out of the equation and wait 24 hours to make a ruling.  Some things need immediate attention, of course, but sit back and examine both sides.”

Do you have any special experiences, remarks, or fond memories?  “In 2004 when I was inducted into the MSBL National Hall of Fame is an outstanding memory, of course.  On another level, in June of 2020, during the pandemic, I was diagnosed with stage-3 breast cancer.  My surgery wasn’t until August because they weren’t doing surgery.  I went through months of chemo and radiation but was still able to run what was left of our Midweek MSBL shortened covid season.  That is looked on as a fond memory to me only because everything is now clear of cancer and I don’t have to worry about it.

We now host an annual ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’ charity tournament and donate proceeds to Adelphi University on Long Island, where they concentrate on cancer treatments and where I also volunteer.  It is a very personal cause.”

How valuable to you and your league has MSBL National affiliation been?  Steve Sigler was the originator of a brilliant idea.  As a business person (lawyer) I recognized what a great idea it was. There are other competing organizations, so MSBL needed to be stronger and the concept grew and grew, and the positive affiliation helped our Midweek league grow as well and become more successful.  Steve and I are similar ages and backgrounds and we have hit it off in business and on a personal level.  It is a privilege to be considered a friend based on mutual respect.”

What inspires you, today, to continue in your leadership role?  It’s important that you treat people the way you want to be treated.  One night recently I had a business meeting with another lawyer at the house and the phone rang from a manager.  My colleague thought ‘Why is this guy calling and why are you allowing it to interrupt us?’  I could have let it go to voicemail, but I answered the call and addressed the situation.  You can’t ignore your people’s concerns, even if it’s an intrusion.  You must give attention to detail.  Just make the effort.  They require and deserve the attention.”

What are your experiences in any MSBL national tournaments?  “I went to the World Series from 1990 to 2004, but mostly as a manager.  One year I went solely as a player for the Aces from Australia.  This past year I went merely as the first base coach for the Long Island Panthers in the 50s.  We also went to Las Vegas from 1999 through 2020.”

Any final comments? “I am 74 years old now and have had both hips replaced, my back is not holding up, and I have had multiple rotator cuff issues.  I have never been the ‘go to’ guy on any team but enjoyed catching and being part of the action.  I stopped playing when I was 57 and I have found that managing has become easier now that I stopped playing.  I am more effective and can concentrate on the details.  The players need someone at the helm who is not just filling out a lineup.  I manage the Cubs in our 35-over division now and love every minute.

Thank you to Steve Sigler and the MSBL for providing us old guys a place to stay attached to the game we grew up with.  Well done!”