Taking a swing to aid community
Some might say local car dealer Don McCullough saved baseball in Marysville. In fact, one person nominated him for a Spirit of Freedom award for buying the Gold Sox when the team was at the brink of folding two years ago.
"I remember sitting in City Council chambers when at first Don balked at the idea of taking on, of all things, a baseball team, but his pride for his city secured his spot in Marysville history by being the man who saved baseball in our town," wrote Lawrence "Noah" Scully in his nomination of McCullough for the One Nation Spirit of Freedom award.
But McCullough said he does not want to be portrayed as a saint.
"I just happened to be in the right spot - or maybe the wrong spot," McCullough said. "I just know if we hadn't taken it on we would have lost baseball for years."
McCullough, who already owned Don McCullough Dodge Chrysler, took on the troubled Gold Sox team in November 2002 when he announced plans to run the team with team president Bob Bavasi as a consultant.
McCullough said he would never have done it without the partnership with Bavasi.
Since the purchase, the team has held its own financially, finishing in the black the last two seasons.
"We didn't get rich but we haven't gone broke either," McCullough said.
Would-be sponsors are starting to call McCullough - sponsors who would not have called before, but who see the team has stabilized and want to support it.
More important, the team is here to provide a much-needed activity in the community, providing jobs and entertainment in a city where there isn't a wealth of either.
"It's an important part of our community, especially with things to do, because there isn't much to do," McCullough said.
Appeal-Democrat reporter John Dickey can be reached at 749-4711. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nominated by: Lawrence Scully
"... his pride for his city secured his spot in Marysville history" in his letter nominating Don McCullough for a Spirit of Freedom award in the One Nation category