Cape Cod Baseball League Inducts 2023 Hall Of Fame Class, Honors ‘22 Inductee Wagner

by Brad Joyal

ted their legacies among the premier collegiate summer league’s biggest stars.

The Cape Cod Baseball League welcomed four former players and two longtime executives into the league’s Hall of Fame on Sunday during a banquet and induction ceremony at the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club.

The 2023 induction class included four former star players — Glenn Davis (Chatham), Mitchell Jordan (Orleans), Max Pentecost (Bourne) and Lance Berkman (Wareham) — in addition to Harwich Mariners president Mary Henderson and the late Jim Higgins, who had a 40-year relationship with the league before he died in March after a battle with Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease.

Former Brewster star pitcher and Major League All-Star Billy Wagner, a member of the 2022 Hall of Fame class, was also honored after being unable to attend last year’s ceremony.

“The uniqueness of what Cape Cod does is life changing,” said Wagner, who is often regarded as one of the most dominant pitchers in Cape League history. “It changed my life, because I went from obscurity to being able to be one of the greatest players in baseball. When you get the opportunity, you have to seize it.

“I’m so honored and so touched. I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to come back and accept this award.”

Henderson became the third woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining Judy Walden Scarafile (2003) and Barbara “Mrs. E” Ellsworth (2018).

“This is really an honor for me to be in this Hall of Fame with two other great women,” said Henderson, who first got involved with the league by hosting players in 1982. “I want to thank my family, my grandchildren, my children, and my husband, David, for being so supportive for the last 40 years with this league that has been close to my heart for all this time. And also Steve Englert, our coach for over 25 years. Steve, you are the best.”

Jordan was the league’s Most Outstanding Pitcher in 2015, and he dedicated some of his time talking about how much it meant to play on that summer’s team, which will go down as one of the best in franchise history.

“The 2015 Firebirds was hands down the best team I’ve ever played on,” Jordan said. “I remember people saying that summer that it was the best team in 20 years. In the moment, it’s hard to tell. But looking back, I 100 percent agree.

“So far, that team has had 14 big leaguers, three MLB All Stars, three opening day starting pitchers, an NL Cy Young Award winner and an AL Rookie of the Year. So yeah, it was nice pitching with that team around me.”

For Davis, who finished the 1980 summer with a .377 batting average to help lead Chatham to its best regular season record, returning to the Cape felt like a homecoming of sorts.

“This is an incredible honor for me, but what means more to me is the spirit I see here, the family,” said Davis, a former Major League All-Star. “I don’t know most of you, but you’re like a friend that I never had. The hospitality, the warmth, the community here is incredible. Do you all realize you have something special? Whatever happens, don’t lose that. That’s what means so much to a kid like me who came up here.”

One of the more emotional acceptance speeches of the day was given by Brian Higgins, who reminded everybody how special the Cape League is while he spoke on behalf of his father, who wore many hats for the league, including official scorer, publicist, and vice president.

“When you’re a 6- or 8-year-old kid growing up in this small part of the world, to see these giants, it just opens your eyes that there’s this whole world out there and you can get there from Cape Cod,” Higgins said. “The magic that you all put on every day in the summer for the kids that grow up here and the kids who come to maybe only see just one game, it changed my life. And it changed so many kids’ lives. Don’t ever lose sight of the magic that the Cape League creates for all the young kids who are there.”