Lions Retire #27 on “Bob Tewksbury Day” — February 25, 2014
February 27, 2014
With a beautiful Florida evening setting the stage, the Saint Leo University Department of Athletics retired Lions alumnus Bob Tewksbury’s No. 27 jersey during a pregame ceremony at Thomas B. Southard Stadium prior to the baseball game with the Southeastern University Fire.
Tewksbury played baseball for Saint Leo College from 1979 to 1981, earning a career record at Saint Leo of 14-7 with an earned run average (ERA) of 2.90. He was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 19th round of the 1981 Major League Baseball draft, and went on to be an All-Star pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1992.
Francis X. Reidy, Saint Leo director of athletics, began the ceremony by providing highlights from Tewksbury’s noted career. He was followed by Saint Leo University President, Dr. Arthur F. Kirk, Jr., who offered remarks and presented Tewksbury with a proclamation declaring February 25, 2014, as “Bob Tewksbury Day” at Saint Leo University.
The program continued with Saint Leo baseball head coach Sean O’Connor addressing his former teammate: “I am thrilled that you could make it today, and we are fortunate that you wore the Green and Gold,” O’Connor said. “We are here to honor you by retiring your jersey, but we will also honor you from now on every day we come to the ball park.”
With the completion of O’Connor’s comments, the crowd’s attention was directed to left field where a permanent banner was unveiled with Tewksbury’s number, No. 27, on the fence, marking the official retirement of the jersey from the Saint Leo baseball lineup.
“I am humbled by this honor. Saint Leo was a great place for me to play college baseball. I will treasure this special night forever,” said a moved and grateful Tewksbury after the unveiling of his now retired number. He proceeded to left field for photos by the banner, and shook the hand of every Lions baseball team member before the program officially concluded. He then threw out the ceremonial first pitch and it was time to “play ball.”
The Concord, NH, native played for the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, and Minnesota Twins during his 13-year Major League career. The 1998 Saint Leo Hall of Fame Inductee finished his career with a win-loss record of 110-102, an ERA of 3.92, and 812 strikeouts.
“I was proud to be part of a celebration honoring not only a great athlete, but an even better person,” said Reidy. “Bob Tewksbury, and his jersey number on the wall, will be a standard for others to aspire to in terms what a Saint Leo graduate should look like. Bob was, and continues to be, a great ambassador for Saint Leo in all he does.”
In addition to the bachelor’s degree Tewksbury earned from Saint Leo, he also earned a master’s degree in psychology from Boston University and joined the Boston Red Sox as the team sports psychologist in 2004. In 2013, he was named the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) director of player development, a role in which he will work closely with current players on post-career preparation, on-field performance counseling, and personal development.
"It was amazing to meet Mr. Tewksbury,” said senior first baseman Michael Callahan. “It is always great to hear stories from alumni about their time here at Saint Leo, and to hear it from a former Lion, who is also a 13-year MLB veteran, was truly a great opportunity. He spoke to us about how his mental game carried him through his career, and challenged us to use our intellectual skills to the best of our ability. We are very grateful we could be a part of this day, and will definitely use what he told us both on and off the field in the future.”