It’s been almost exactly ten years since OOTL lost its first active owner, Carl Williard and his Mountaineers. This morning we learned that the beloved Birds of Pray owner, Bob Silks, has entered the OOTL Baseball Hall of Fame. He and Kathy endured much over the past several months, yet consistently exhibited a positive outlook.
Despite treatments and appointments, Bob faithfully continued to play his OOTL schedule. Occasionally, he would ask me a cancer-related question and we’d discuss his condition, but mostly, we immersed ourselves in the game that both of us love. Our only interruptions would be due to our dogs’ needs for a loving scratch or a trip outdoors.
Where I use a convoluted Excel workbook, Bob would always tally his team’s statistics by hand. Yet at any point while we were playing, he could surprise me with the most impressive, insightful stat about his team or one of his players. I truly savored those moments.
Through Kathy and Bob’s generosity, I was able to attend my first Orioles Fan Fest in 2014 with a long-time friend who nearly always dons O’s gear. That day, Birds of Pray superstar Chris Davis startled me by excusing himself and breezing right beside me on his way to an autograph session.
Bob also offered me tickets to a 2015 game against the A’s at Camden Yards. I asked another friend and huge O’s fan, to accompany me. We witnessed an incredible Baltimore 9th inning comeback to tie and a Manny Machado walk-off a few innings later.
Soon after I met Bob and he joined OOTL, we had a chance opportunity to actually play baseball together at Doubleday Field in Perry County in 2004. Two newly acquainted, passionate baseball fans, many of our mutual friends from WITF, throw-back wool uniforms and John Kruk combined for a special sun-soaked Saturday in May.
While Bob is now whole and at peace with Nikki, Molly and other loved ones, Kathy and the rest of us cling to all of our rich, fun memories with Bob. I am so thankful that he stayed with us through the weekend so family, friends and his OOTL family could visit.
Rest in peace, my friend.