12/22/2015 5:11 AM
The late, great Joe Sherman, pictured with NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman at the Cape League All-Star game at Fenway in 2011
Visiting hours will be Sunday, January 10, from 1-3 p.m. at Morris, O' Connor and Blute Funeral Home, 58 Long Pond Drive, South Yarmouth.
When it came to baseball publicity, Joe Sherman was a jack-of-all-trades and did it all with panache and a bulldog tenacity.
The 74-year-old Sherman, who served as the Cape Cod Baseball League’s senior writer, editor, league historian and director of special projects, died on Saturday after a long illness.
Sherman, a Falmouth, Mass., native, spent several years living in West Yarmouth with son Stephen, daughter Janice Sherman O'Brien, and his wife, Alice, who died three years ago. Sherman also served as Cape League's statistician and publicist in the early 1960s, while also overseeing coverage of the league as sports editor of the Cape Cod Standard-Times.
He was a member of the CCBL committee whose efforts brought about the “modern era” of the league starting in 1963, which combined the Upper and Lower Cape Leagues into one entity and began the process of becoming sanctioned by the NCAA, where all competing players would have remaining college eligibility.
Sherman was a former editor of the Cape Cod Standard-Times in the 1960s, later worked in television and radio in Worcester and on Cape Cod, and spent two stints on the editorial staff at the Boston Herald. He also did a stint as a minor league hockey executive with the Cape Cod Cubs. He retired 10 years ago as special projects editor after 29 years with Brockton’s daily newspaper, The Enterprise.
He rejoined the Cape League in 2006 as website editor and later became coordinator of special projects. He continued to contribute stories to the website and to the league's thrice-yearly publication, Cape League Magazine, and was a member of the league’s Hall of Fame Committee advisory board.
“Joe Sherman was the only man that could put a baseball into space,” said CCBL President Chuck Sturtevant. “His knowledge of ‘who's who’ in baseball was next to none.
"Back in 2006 when I was retiring from Falmouth and we were playing Y-D at Campanelli Field in Brockton, Joe put together about nine of my former players now in the majors on video congratulating me on my retirement. The video included Darin Erstad, Mark Loretta, Kevin Cash and Adam Kennedy. To this day, I’m not sure how he did it. He also arranged the Green family to Fenway to be recognized at our All-Star game at Fenway Park. May Joe rest in peace. He has earned it.”
Sherman conceived and oversaw the 2011 “Spaceball” project, which resulted in a Cape League baseball being carried to and from the International Space Station on the Space Shuttle Endeavour by shuttle commander Capt. Mark Kelly.
In a moving ceremony that preceded the 2011 Cape League All-Star game at Fenway Park, NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman presented the ball to the family of 9-year-old shooting victim Christina-Taylor Green.
“Joe was a one-man show. Let himdo his thing, and he could literally put the Cape Cod Baseball League next to the stars,” said longtime friend and Cape League colleague Dan Dunn. “Joe’s left hand sent a CCBL game baseball on the Space Shuttle. With his right hand, he used that very ball to comfort a grieving family.
“Joe found ways to surprise every CCBL veteran I know and honored our colleagues often, but every person he pulled into his projects truly seemed honored to be a part of his amazing tributes," Dunn said. "Some of us were lucky enough to see Joe with his best pal (and son) Stephen building jigsaw puzzles at home.
“Talking virtually any sport with Joe was a history lesson. His love of sports, Cape Cod, media relations and his friends and family was always front-and-center. I remember many of us trying to limit Joe to a 'brief' update of his latest special CCBL project. Wouldn't we all welcome just one more Joe Sherman “crazy” idea … and of course, we all know he could make it happen. Joe was one of my best pals in my CCBL tenure. I'll miss you buddy,” Dunn added.