Mary Clarke, better known as "Baseball Mary" throughout Virginia Babe Ruth and the SoutheastRegion, joined the Greater Manassas Baseball League (GMBL) in 1972 and served continuously until her death in March 2019. Her 47 years of service to Babe Ruth baseball included 17 years as GMBL President as well as service in every league capacity short of fields and grounds. Mary was the tournament director for many District, State, and Regional tournaments and was instrumental in starting the Manassas Memorial Day Tournament, an event that has continued for over 25 years. Throughout her many years of service to Babe Ruth baseball, Mary always held the interest of the kids, both those playing on tournament and recreational teams, as her foremost priority.
Having had eight children and five grandchildren participate in the league, Mary contributed many times as manager and commissioner in the T-Ball, Rookies, Minors, Majors, and Babe Ruth divisions, winning several league championships during those years. She was an extremely knowledgeable coach and a fierce competitor with a winning record. She was a standout in the 1970s when female coaches were very uncommon. She helped mentor countless children both on and off the field and gave so much of herself volunteering and giving back to the community.
Mary was well known to be a very persistent and persuasive fundraiser. She served as GMBL's primary sponsorship chairperson for many years and consistently performed above expectations in that role during both strong and weak economic conditions. In the early 1980s, when the league had outgrown its facility at the time and had nowhere to go, Mary was instrumental in coordinating a door-to-door effort looking for a benefactor to donate some land to build new fields. After partnering with the Mayor and local city government officials, they were able to convince IBM to donate the land that the current GMBL complex now occupies. Then, partnering with many area merchants and construction companies, they were able to complete the site preparation and facilities enhancements to make the complex a reality in 1983.
In more recent years, Mary spent a large amount of time pursuing donations to support The Ann Clarke Dollard Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit started in her late daughter’s name to provide direct relief for individuals with cancer living in northern Virginia and the surrounding area or towards supporting community health programs. When not at the fields, taking care of her grandchildren, volunteering, being Woman of the Year, organizing fundraisers, serving on the city’s Safety Advisory Board, or a host of other altruistic pursuits over the years, she enjoyed spending time yelling at the TV during Redskins games, watching Judge Judy, and texting her older granddaughters her uncensored opinions of various Bachelor/Bachelorette cast members.
Baseball Mary attained incredible levels of accomplishment and recognition—her tenure, contribution, and desire to provide for the greater community continue to provide inspiration to her fellow volunteers. She was a Lifetime Board Member and a fixture at the GMBL complex. She truly loved the game and there was no bigger fan of the kids who played the game!
Year Nominated: 2019
Year Inducted: 2019
Jim Guzdowski has been umpiring baseball and softball for 31 years and has been a member of the Babe Ruth National Umpire Association (NUA) for the past 26 years. He has umpired 15 Babe Ruth Southeast Regional Baseball tournaments and has served as the Umpire-in-Chief (UIC) in 8 of those tournaments. He has also umpired 9 Southeast Regional Babe Ruth Softball tournaments and has served as the UIC in 8 of those tournaments. Jim also has umpired in many Virginia state and district Babe Ruth baseball and softball tournaments, and has served as the UIC in many.
Jim has been consulted on numerous occasions with the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional Commissioner regarding rules changes for the Rookie division in baseball and the 8U division in softball. His recommendations are presently reflected in the current Southeast Regional rules for those age groups.
Jim is also a Virginia High School League (VHSL) varsity official in baseball, softball, and basketball. He has been a member of the Bull Run Officials Association for 26 years, and he serves on the training committee for that association.
Jim is a retired major crimes detective with the Prince William County Police Department in Virginia. He was a patrol officer for 6 years and a major crimes detective for 22 years. Interesting to note that he has assisted Scotland Yard in a homicide investigation and participated in the investigation of the DC sniper case. In addition, Jim has appeared on the national television show Unsolved Mysteries regarding a 10-year-old murder case. As a result, the suspect was apprehended in Phoenix, AZ within 24 hours, extradited to Virginia, and convicted.
Jim lives in Manassas, Virginia with his wife, Susan, and continues to serve his community as a civilian crime analyst in the Violent Crime detective division of the Prince William County Police Department.
GMBL has been offered an amazing opportunity to share with you reduced cost CPR/AED training through Florian CPR, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide low-cost CPR certification to Manassas area volunteers. The organization was founded this July when our own GMBL Senior Babe Ruth League Member, Steven Smith, was saved by teammate, Paul Dow, after a freak accident during baseball practice as the team prepared for their Southeast Regional appearance. Their story made Local, State, National and International news. If you have not heard about the miracle, you can find the story link below as published by Babe Ruth Headquarters and local Inside NOVA:
GMBL strongly encourages all league members to be CPR/AED certified as volunteers. Do you want to Learn CPR? Now is your chance! Florian CPR wants to help you. They will certify you in the life saving skills of CPR and the proper use of the AED for just $21.
All instructors and staff are volunteers. The $21 pays for equipment, instructional supplies and your certification with the National Safety Council. CPR and AED training saves lives. Simply select the $21 – Volunteer Coach Pay for Yourself Option on the Class Sign-In, identify yourself as a GMBL Coach/Volunteer.
Sign up today! You never know when you may be able to save a life tomorrow!