Litwin’s Hall of Fame Speech

To comment:

I was inducted into the South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame on Nov. 26, 2011. A number of readers have asked that I post my acceptance speech. While there were “on the fly” changes, here is the essence of my comments:

Congratulations to all of the inductees, the All-South Jersey team, scholarship recipients and others who have received recognition here today and will shortly.

A special expression of gratitude to my colleague and friend – and a true professional in every way, Dan Baker – for taking time away from his family on this holiday weekend to introduce today’s inductees.


A few weeks ago, Hall of Famer and former Cherry Hill East coach Dave Martin pulled me aside and said, “Larry, getting into the Hall is special. It probably won’t hit you until you start to speak.”

Well Dave, it did hit me as I started to prepare these remarks, and thought about my high school coach Bob Minnick and the influence he had on my life.

Then I reminisced about one game in particular. It was on a Sunday afternoon…July 8, 1962. That day is indelible in my mind. It was played at Medford’s Bunting Field. In those days, there was NO fence.

That’s the day I got a pretty lucky hit – a first inning, two out, bases loaded triple – off of Moorestown’s Ron Goodwin in the Del Val All-Star game. I didn’t take many pitches and jumped on a first pitch, fast ball, low and away…and swung late…hitting it just inside the right field line into a backyard.

For me to get a triple, the ball had to go a long way. Saying I was slow is an understatement.

My dad worked 16 hours a day…seven days a week and rarely made it to my games. And even though this was a Sunday, he was working. On this day, however, he left his store early and as I got up from my slide into third, there he was getting out of his truck…and I could hear him and my grandmother both yelling…Larry boy.

– O –

When our daughter Julie – who flew in from Atlanta last night for today – told our 8-year-old granddaughter Alana about my going into this Hall of Fame, Alana said, “Mommy, Pops has the best life. If ever I have to interview someone, I want it to be him.”

It has been the best life, because I have been pretty lucky. And that is the theme of my remarks today.

While my parents are no longer with us, my sisters and I were lucky enough to have them into their mid to late 80s – and they were rather healthy until the end.

Like others in this room, my parents taught me a number of traits that have led to this recognition by the Hot Stovers.


Certainly…both taught my sisters and me that hard work pays off. And while my father was working those 16 hour days, Mom taught us the meaning…of the word…luck and being lucky. We call them Momisms. Among them, “if you dream it, you can achieve it.” And, many times, achieving one’s dream takes luck.

As I share with my students, luck is “preparation meeting opportunity.”

So, I share this – especially with the younger players in this room. How lucky was I??? – remembering – luck is PREPARATION meeting OPPORTUNITY.

I was born to great parents who supported my every move and decision…even when we didn’t agree  – such as when I decided to take up an offer to play baseball at a small college baseball powerhouse in…of all places…Iowa. I had never been away from South Jersey.

Parsons College played a 100 game schedule. Fortunately for me, I got hurt. And on May 23, 1966, when the local radio station that carried our games needed a color announcer on short notice, I was ready…and said yes when asked if had ever announced before. That was a stretch, though. The announcing I did was the football and basketball PA at Pennsauken High School, but I always wanted to be in radio…that is…if I couldn’t play professional baseball.

That tiny fib about announcing, transitioned me from my baseball to radio career. I was lucky – I was prepared when opportunity came calling.

The luck didn’t stop there. It carried over to a Drama Appreciation class at Parsons, where a blonde freshman said yes …when I invited her out for coffee after that first class of the semester. Remember Ballard Hall?

So, to that blonde – my wife Nancy (there she is) – thank you for putting up with my baseball, my radio reporting, my umpiring and my working with literally several thousand Rowan University students over the years.

So, why am I here? Why am I being recognized by this outstanding organization?  They tell me it’s for my contributions as a sports announcer and writer…covering many high school and college games…my career as an umpire and…as a player – a little bit.

Since it’s umpiring that is first and foremost…and I am thrilled to see so many of my colleagues today and am always honored to take the field with them…here are two recollections …or anecdotes from those 35 years.

One was a couple of years ago. I had just finished a Carpenter Cup game and was heading to the car. I had to make a quick stop at one of those PortaPotties in the parking lot. I did knock, but quickly opened the unlocked door and there was a woman inside.

When she came out, I assured her…I hadn’t seen a thing. Without hesitation, she shot back…Oh, I know you didn’t. I just saw you umpire THAT game.


My other recollection goes back many years. My wife Nancy and I had been invited to a wedding in Glassboro and accepted the invite. In the meantime, I had gotten a call to umpire the plate in a Diamond Classic semi-final at Camden County College – Overbrook and Washington Township. How could I pass that up? And, anyway, I told my wife, it’s really not that far from the catering hall.

So, on an incredibly hot, humid day, I wore a blue blazer to the wedding with my umpire’s pants and finished dressing at the field. It was a great game. I don’t remember who won, but I do remember…the score was 1-0. The game took only one hour and five minutes. As we were walking back to the car, my partner… Richie Brasch…said, you know, Larry, you have time to go back to the wedding. They’ll think you just were in the bathroom. So, I did. As I walked back into hall, my wife looked “stunned,” and the bride’s father, my boss…looked at me and asked, “Are you sure you’re OK. You were gone for a while and you look a bit sweaty.” …Yes, preparation meeting opportunity. I have never told that story, publicly. I was lucky he never found out.

So, how did I get here???…Through the unending and infinite support of my family. You have already met my wife, Nancy, and now meet our daughter, Julie, a second grade teacher in Atlanta, wife of Billy Kramer…who are proud parents of 8-year-old Alana and 5-year-old Aidan; our son Dr. Adam Seth Litwin, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and his wife Claire, and my sister Janice and her husband…who is the brother I never had, Steve Barbell, who was among those who nominated me for this incredible honor.

Also at the table…E-J Campbell. E-J represents the thousands of Rowan students who drive and challenge me each day.  From the very first night I had E-J in class he has called me coach. And, like many of you in this room, I have been called a lot of things…good and bad…including Dad, Pops and BLUE. But nothing…nothing…resonates more than when a student calls me coach.

So, thank you to the Hot Stovers and all of my students, my family and to all of you coaches who inspire me to do what I do.

To comment:



Looking for job? Take advantage of holiday season

Kaitlin Madden of CareerBuilder, has some advice about making the most of holiday parties.  To comment:

She says, “Create connections that lead to future job opportunities.”

First of all, Madden suggests “being friendly with those you meet. They may provide important connections or job leads later on.” Madden lists these five tips:

1. Find a connection

2. Present a professional front.

3. Don’t be late.

4. Be interested, not interesting.

5. Don’t force the work subject.

You can check out Kaitlin Madden — and should — using Google or another search engine. She has excellent tips, including what to wear. Please keep in mind, “You are always communicating,” say Jack Horner and Mike Gross (Rowan ’03) of Jack Horner Communications.

Paul DeNucci, author, The International Networker says, “Remember that events are never about you. The way to win friends and great contacts is to make others comfortable in your presence. Be interested, not interesting.”

Advice from Larry Litwin, “Keep your business card handy. Be ready for an exchange as you complete your elevator speech.”

Remember: YOU are a brand. Package tourself properly.

Madden offers this “What to wear” advice.

In general, when picking out an outfit, Lupo offers the following guidelines:

  • Look polished, not overdone.
  • Remember that you are sending out a message about yourself professionally in the way you dress, and you want to be sure that your message is consistent. Tomorrow morning, you will wake-up and go to work with these people — conduct yourself accordingly.
  • Always be tasteful, not overtly sexy. If you’re on the fence between something sexy and something more conservative, go conservative.
  • Remember Visual Therapy’s rules. Ask yourself: Do I love it? Is it flattering? Is this the image I want to portray? Is this comfortable?  (This includes shoes, ladies!)

To comment:

Disturbing week

[To comment:]

With the losses of Andy Rooney and the champ, Joe Frazier, and the horrendous news coming out of State College, last week was a “down” week for many.  I have

communicated with many reporters and with my students — even devoting classes to the Penn State case study and how NOT to approach a crisis.

For this week’s blog, I will turn back to Smokin’ Joe. I first met him on Dec. 6, 1970. We remained acquaintances as I moved deeper into sports reporting. Back on that 1970 day at the Nevele Country Club in the New York Catskills, Champ honored me by joining me in a picture. He was there performing with his band, “Smokin’ Joe and the Knockouts.” [See link, below.] Joe was a far better boxer than  musician. But he loved music nearly as much as he did boxing.

In case you aren’t sure, that is Litwin on the left. May the Champ rest in peace.

Have a great week. [To comment:]


Herman Cain — Lack of response

To comment:

Larry Litwin’s The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook clearly lays out what one should do when faced with a crisis.

In response to GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s mishandling of facts and accusations, this is what experts say. The advice parallels The PR Playbook’s Chapter 14 — Crisis Communications.

This shifting story is a problem for the Cain campaign, says Jack Pitney, who appeared on NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Nov. 1

“This is not good political damage control,” said Pitney, a professor of government at Claremont (Calif.) McKenna College. He says inconsistency from a campaign can be much more damaging than the initial charge.

“They should have been prepared with a response right from the get go. Get your facts straight. Get your side of the story out and stick to it. And an inconsistent response, or even worse an inaccurate response, just worsens the problem that you’re facing.

Pitney says it’s not clear whether this is something Cain will recover from, or whether it’s the beginning of the end for his presidential run.

Republican political consultant Todd Harris says Cain cannot sit by. This is a story will not soon go away (thanks in no small part to 24/7 news).

Says Harris: “If they are simply just hoping that it goes away, I’m afraid they’re going to be as ill-prepared tomorrow and the next day as they have been this past week.”

Harris says a crisis like this bumps a campaign off its message. The campaign loses control. “That’s why it’s so important in a crisis situation to deal with it as quickly as you possibly can to pivot back onto your message, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to deal with it.”

As stated in Litwin’s The PR Practitioner’s Playbook, within minutes of a crisis, gather the facts and then:

Tell it first

Tell it fast

Tell it all

Tell it yourself

Litwin’s books are available at all major bookstores, click and mortar or brick and mortar, and on www.larrylitwin./com.

To comment: