TRURO, N.S. – Scott Baillie knew his buddy was hurting inside and wanted to help.
His longtime friend and baseball teammate, Joe MacPherson, was going through a tough time in his life following the passing of his father Jim, who died of cancer at age 60 on April 26.
In a show of support to Joe and his family, Scott came up with a simple, but heartfelt gesture to honour Jim’s memory, creating a patch the D&D Bookkeeping Truro Bearcats intermediate baseball team would wear on their jerseys this season.
The crest consists of the numbers 99, in honour of Jim’s birthday, Sept. 9.
“We’re close friends, and not only that, we’re teammates and he’s going through a terrible time right now and if that small gesture will help him through this time, that’s more than enough reason to do it,” said Scott, who is also friends with Joe’s brother James, and sister Carrie.
Baseball connected Scott and Joe at an early age, however, their friendship grew about 15 years ago when they were teammates with the Bearcats senior team.
“Scott Baillie has become somebody that I can rely on – on the field, off the field,” said Joe. “He knows my children and he’s friends with my wife – that’s about as good as a friend can be.”
Joe said the loss of his dad still hurts because of the great relationship they had. He considered him his “best friend,” whom he shared his successes with and whom he could turn to for advice when life got tough.
“He supported everything,” Joe said. “Like most families, if you’re privileged enough to have a father, they take care of everything. He was everything; he was everything to me, he was everything to my family. He certainly wasn’t perfect, but his character flaws were what made him, him. Just an unbelievably consistent individual, which makes him pretty spectacular.”
When it comes to baseball, Joe chuckles when asked if his father taught him the game, and answers “no.”
“That task was given to my brother, but what my father did was introduce my brother and myself to the game that we’ve spent our whole lives playing and coaching. And without dad being the vehicle for that, I certainly wouldn’t be standing here today.”
Making the tribute even more special was the fact that Scott went through Carrie, who works at Fundy Textiles, to create the patch.
Joe, 38, starred in the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League for many years. He won a league championship in 2002, led the league in home runs in 2008, and led the loop in RBIs in both 2008 and 2013. However, his on-field successes are far from his greatest accomplishments in baseball. Instead, he cites the friendships he’s built, with guys like Scott, as his most notable highlights.
“If I’m able to build a relationship like that on the ballfield … that’s something.”
Joe said his dad would be humbled by Scott’s gesture.
“He would think it’s not necessary, but he certainly would appreciate it.”
The Bearcats wear the patch on their sleeves. Joe, however, wears his close to his heart.