One of the most loyal, respected and enduring members of the Waverley Baseball Club is undoubtedly PETER WOOD. Peter has served the club in many and various capacities over a very long time contributing to the Junior Program, the Seniors and the Waverley Reds.
To this day neither age nor ill-health has been able to dampen his devotion to the Wildcats who he still follows with the same passion and enthusiasm that he always has… even traveling by public transport to Altona to watch the senior Wildcats play mid-week games and still turning up to support junior baseball for Waverley early on Sunday mornings.
Nobody enjoys the successes of the WBC more than ‘Woody’ and nobody hurts more when we lose. There have no doubt been many people over many years who have loved the Waverley Baseball Club, but it would be humanly impossible for anyone to love it more than Peter Wood.
The honour of receiving Life Membership, which is not before time, is one of the highlights of his life, most of which he has spent supporting our beloved Waverley Baseball Club… it would not be the same without him!
Like most others, Peter Wood came to the WBC when he was searching for a good sporting outlet for his young son Jonathon. Fortunately he took Jon to watch the Wildcats in their second 1st Division Grand Final at Straw Field. Excited by what he saw he joined the club for the 1982/83 season.
As coach of the Under 13 Pythons he was fortunate to have, in the same league, other coaches such as David Warren, Ron Casteldine and Jeff Gittus, and club coach Dick Mason, who each gave him valuable assistance. He also had as two of his players Kelly Sheldon-Collins, daughter of Keith, and Suzy Darcy, future wife of the popular pitcher Glen Powell.
He became very impressed with the outstanding junior programs offered by the club, and even more impressed with the influence that WBC and baseball itself had on the lives of young men and women, and on families.
It didn’t take Peter very long to throw himself into the culture of the club, and to take on learning the basics of baseball coaching, umpiring and scoring in order to assist, and participate in, his son’s enjoyment of baseball. He was able to use his extensive background in sports coaching, physical education, and officiating, honed in the army over 25 years, to great effect.
Every year Peter became more involved in WBC activities. Between 1982 and 1989 he served the junior section of the club in a variety of capacities:
- Age Coordinator
- Junior Committeeman and
- VBA Delegate
In addition Peter’s wife Marion shared his involvement by assisting and virtually running the club’s pro shop for many years.
Peter’s son Jon, after performing well in the Under 15 Indians’ premiership win in 1986/87, decided that it couldn’t get better than this and branched off into other sports. But Peter was hooked. He continued to work for the club in any capacity needed. Peter and Marion became an integral part of the volunteer and social activities of the WBC.
In addition, the onset of the proposed National League, and the Waverley Reds, provided an added fillip to both of them. Aside from Redmond , the lion mascot, and “Dougie” Clarkson the game announcer, Peter Wood was probably the next most recognisable person in Reds’ folklore as the man with the red Akubra hat who always sang the National Anthem with gusto. He was the one who very often ignited the crowd involvement at Reds games, and was the original owner of the GOREDS car number plates. His wife Marion was the Office Manager for the Reds throughout the club’s existence.
‘Woody’ would never miss an opportunity to regale anyone who would listen with his endless information about what a magnificent organisation the Waverley Baseball Club is and why their sons MUST come to the club and play baseball. While he was undoubtedly passionate about the Waverley Reds, he never lost his permanent passion for the WBC and the Wildcats at the same time. Peter has been responsible for bringing many new families to the WBC as a fantastic “preacher” for all things Waverley!
After turning his attention to the Senior section of the club, his involvement did not diminish. Seeing the enormous work load heaped on Doug Clarkson and Wally Waldron, Peter volunteered to take over the bar and canteen, and, with his usual enthusiasm, put his all into this difficult responsibility.
In later years Peter, in the 70-plus years of his life, selflessly took on the job of becoming the WBC’s Media Liaison Manager in a job he did superbly for several years until only unreliable health forced him to retire. He produced terrific game reports for the local newspaper and for the club web site. He also published “game information sheets” for Division One home games at Napier Park .
He continued to contribute behind the scenes by updating the statistics sections of the senior pages on the WBC web site.
Summarising his contribution to WBC in senior baseball is not easy, but here is the best we can do:
- Ran the Club bar and canteen for several years
- Was an original Home Run member of the REDS
- Was a foundation member of the Waverley Reds and one of its most recognisable supporters
- Was at the forefront of club fundraising, including organising interstate trips with the Reds
- Has been a loyal fixture at WBC senior games and social functions while others have come and gone
- Was Media Liaison Manager for the WBC for several years, including writing reports for Leader Newspapers.
- Maintained and updated players’ statistics when ill health reduced his capacity to assist