Former baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent is making a multimillion dollar donation to Yale to endow the baseball coach's position there in the name of his father.
Francis T. Vincent Jr. was baseball commissioner from 1989-92 and is a 1963 graduate of Yale Law School. His father, Francis T. Vincent, was a 1931 graduate of Yale who captained the football and baseball teams.
Vincent's father played baseball at Yale under coach Smoky Joe Wood, who went 3-1 as the Boston Red Sox won the 1912 World Series. He became an official of high school, college and NFL games.
“I wanted to do something that would mean something to him and tie him to Yale baseball, which he loved, also to Yale, because I think his prominence at Yale had something to do with my being so very interested in sports," Vincent said ahead of Thursday's announcement. “I was never the player he was, but I certainly enjoyed playing.”
Brian Hamm, who became Yale's baseball coach ahead of the 2023 season, met Fay Vincent in 2007 while coaching the North Adams SteepleCats in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Vincent was president of the league at the time.
Both were friends of Tom Hutchison, a Yale infielder in the early 1990s and later minor leaguer whom Vincent helped get a post-playing job with the New York Mets. On Dec. 5, Hamm and Hutchison, now a managing director at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, traveled to Vincent's home in Florida to pitch the idea of endowing the coach's position.
“We basically spent the day with him and had lunch and just started talking about my experiences and the baseball team and kind of the current tenor, um, on campus,” Hamm said. “We started talking about his father and his interest in doing something for his father and then we basically came to the decision that naming the baseball coach position in his father’s name was in line with what he would like to do to honor his father and what our needs were in the athletics department and the baseball team, because most of our head coach positions are already endowed and named.”
Vincent grew up in Connecticut and received an undergraduate degree from Williams. He became baseball commissioner in September 1989 following the death of A. Bartlett Giamatti, who was Yale's president from 1978-86. Vincent resigned three years later under pressure from a group of owners wanting to force a labor confrontation.
Yale's baseball stadium was in 2021 named George H.W. Bush Field in honor of the former president, a friend of Vincent. As a first baseman, Bush captained the Bulldogs and helped them reach the 1947 and '48 College World Series.
Yale's softball field is named the William O. DeWitt Family Stadium in honor of the family that has controlled the St. Louis Cardinals since 1995.
Boston Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow and Baltimore Orioles general manager Mike Elias both pitched for Yale, as did current New York Mets broadcaster Ron Darling.
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