Gleaming sunshine hovered over Mission Hill on Oct. 20 for the annual Mission Hill Road Race, which starts and finishes at Kevin Fitzgerald Park. The race, which raises funds to maintain Fitzgerald Park, attracted several hundred runners and onlookers. The highlight of the day is reuniting with former Mission Hill folks such as Tom Killilea and Rich Cummings. Other faces in the crowd included Steve Ross and local author James Redfearn. Jack Todd flew in from Colorado to watch the race and reminisce with old buddies. Former Irish national handball champion Dan Martin ran the race and still looks in good shape.
During the race, I conversed with the Weldon family, including 3-month-old Owen Graves Weldon. Owen is the son of Danny Weldon and Emily Graves and the grandson of Judy Weldon and the late and loveable Dan Weldon, whose statue sits in McLaughlin Park.
Local hoop star Wayne Selden verbally committed to attend the University of Kansas on a four-year basketball scholarship. Selden, who grew up on Mission Hill, was pursued by several colleges, and his decision was reported by ESPN. He will officially commit to Kansas at a signing celebration Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Shelburne Community Center in Roxbury. Shelden is currently a senior at Tilton School in New Hampshire.
I knew Selden was a gifted athlete when little Wayne was 4 and the bat boy for Winnie’s Pub in the Mission Hill Softball League. He would play catch with the players, urging them, “Throw me a fast ball.”
Congrats to local Boston Police Officer Evan Nunez, who received an award for bravery last month for arresting a suspect in Roxbury under adverse conditions. Evan, who lives in Mission Hill, is the son of BPD Officer Tony Nunez. Tony, who also lives in Mission Hill, is known as the “Singing Policeman” because he is also a talented crooner.
Jeanne St. Cyr celebrated her 60th birthday Oct. 17 at a festive surprise party in Stoneham. Jeanne, a lovely woman who grew up on Cherokee Street, is a 1970 Mission High graduate. Jeanne’s late dad, incidentally, Al St. Cyr, was a World War II veteran and a former commander of the Mission Hill Post. Jeanne’s mom Mara still lives on the Hill.
Happy 65th birthday to John “Harpo” Foley, Nov. 29. John is a 1966 Mission High School graduate who was a bruising fullback on the school’s football team. John, a retired postal worker, accompanied me and my son, Robert Martin, on a Las Vegas trip last month. John was adept at picking football winners, even cashing a winning ticket on Seattle’s comeback win against the Patriots.
Happy birthday to Marie Chetkauskas, a gregarious Mission Hill woman who was born Nov. 6. Marie, who manages property in the S. Huntington Avenue area, occasionally stops by the Mission Hill Post to say hello to the boys.
Dan Mullin putted to victory in the annual Killion-Mission Hill golf tournament last month at the Captains Golf Course in Brewster, Mass. Mullin, who works for NE Moves Mortgage, shot an impressive 82, topping the talented field of Mission Hill golfers. Col. George Rollins finished second, three strokes behind Mullin.
Growing up at Tobin Court in Mission Hill, I remember my neighbor, Jim Monahan, a good athlete, particularly as a baseball pitcher, despite his being handicapped with a paralyzed right arm. I was amazed at how Jim would hold his glove under his bad arm and switch it to his left arm after each pitch, always ready to field his position. Jim comes to mind because recently on the Dan Rea show on WBZ, Rea interviewed Jim Abbott, who pitched in the major leagues in the ’90s despite being born with a half of a right arm.
Monahan pitched for Mission High School, and in 1960, the inspirational southpaw threw a no-hitter against Boston Trade School. The first baseman in that game, incidentally, was Leo Higgins, a terrific Mission Hill athlete.
The late Kenny Bottary, a hard-throwing right-hander, pitched a perfect game for Mission High in 1971 at Jefferson Park. In that memorable game, gifted shortstop Eddie Gillis calmly fielded the last three ground-ball outs.
Nice touch by the bartenders at The Crossing, who are clad in spiffy white shirts and ties. Across the street at the Mission Hill Post, there is no truth to the rumor that their bartenders will follow suit.
Veterans Day will be observed Nov. 12. God bless our veterans, and thank you.