Here’s a quick but wonderful tour through the lifetime friendship of Jim Cummings and Full Circuits owner Bill Cunning:
And thank you, Bill, for sharing this with us.
Read your posting of 8/31, "A Life Well Lived," again and I think it bears repeating how good the article was and how much Jim would have appreciated it.
We first connected when he was four and I was five, the early days of WWII. Our names were similar, our dads both went to Notre Dame, we attended the same parochial school, high school, we double-dated when we were teenagers, always meeting our girlfriends inside the theatre to save money, we both stretched nickels into dimes, we discovered Las Vegas mid-teens, we grew up with the Los Angeles Rams at the L.A. Coliseum, we were on the run from the disciplines of the nuns, we shared cigarettes unknown to our parents, we were taught survival skills from our elders, he was best man at my wedding and I at his, he was there when my daughter was born and I when his son and daughter were born, we were as competitive as hell, and ultimately we were launched into adulthood where we remained fast friends for life, communicating five or six times a week right up to last Thursday, the day before he died.
I mention these things only to point out I think have a pretty good idea how he thought, his philosophy and value system, his dreams, concerns, and his inner being and I can tell you that he would have really appreciated your sentiments, big time, and would have brought a huge smile to his face and busted off a couple of buttons from his chest.
Thanks again for great read.
Many, many thanks for the many, many texts, e-mails, and Facebook messages in response to yesterday’s news that Washington Bullets owner Jim Cummings had passed away. A life well lived is one that touches and makes a real difference in the lives of others. From all the reactions we have gotten to the news of his passing, and from reading the reactions on his and his daughter Kendra’s Facebook pages, it is evident that Jim touched and made a difference in the lives of many.
For us here operating this dopey little fantasy baseball league, Jim made a huge difference, and not just because he was the league’s most avid supporter. You see, it was Jim who ultimately reconnected our Livernois Clan with our dad, Guao Wee! owner Richard “Pop” Livernois, after years of, well, unconnectedness. This comes by way of league founder Joe Livernois’ account of our reconnection with our dad, the book “Road to Guanajuato: Estrangement In Paradise”:
And later in Jay’s telling:
As it turns out, Tony’s research into the deep past also served to rekindle a more recent generational connection. Tony's efforts put him in touch with a long-lost cousin, Jim Cummings, in 1999, who had also recently become interested in the vagaries of the Livernois lineage. After decades of being out of touch with the Livernois side of the family, he located Pop in Mexico. He had remembered my father – his uncle – with fondness and, like the rest of us, had lost track of him. Jim and Pop exchanged correspondence in which Jim learned with sadness of Pop’s estrangement from his children. Jim contacted Tony, brothers in genealogical pursuit, and gently encouraged him to make an effort to reacquaint himself with his father. Tony thus became the first among us to bury old hatchets.
I will always be thankful to Jim. Though he was just a name in the family tree before he called me one Super Bowl Sunday in the late ‘90s, he quickly played a key role in my life just by provoking me to reach out to my dad. That I got to know him a little bit -- through long phone calls (every call started with with a fast “Cousin Tony this is Cousin Jim” ), e-mails, a family reunion, a Stanford/Notre Dame tailgating, and this dopey little fantasy baseball league -- made my life even richer.
Tony is the one who came to Leon with a box full of videotapes he thought Pop might like to see, only to discover that Pop did not own a VCR. Tony had also produced a ninety-minute video that he thought Pop would like to see. The home video included live action of Pop’s extended family, including in-law wives and husbands and grandchildren that Pop had never met. We had all interviewed our kids, asking them basic questions about their interests, their schools and what it is like to be a Livernois. At the end of each interview, the kids signed off by looking directly into the camera – directly at Pop – to wish him a Happy Birthday. The kids were sweet and beautiful and most of them told Pop they hoped to meet him someday. Even our cousin, Jim Cummings, had created a videotape of himself and his wonderful family wishing Pop a Happy Birthday. It was fitting that Jim be included on the tape considering that he had been responsible for reconnecting us with our father a couple years earlier.
Side note: I just notice this yesterday, but it tickles me to no end: Jim’s profile picture on Facebook is the picture we featured in yesterday’s entry where he’s accepting the Ruiz Cup from his son Guy.
James Patrick Cummings
Man, this is all very hard to type. I can’t seem to get my thoughts together into a coherent piece. So I’m just going to pass along several random things...
First of all, Jim’s longtime best friend Bill Cunning, owner Full Circuits, is the one who passed the sad news along:
I asked Bill if he thought it would be appropriate to mention Jim’s passing on the SLPL today and Bill said:
Was just informed that our friend, cousin and all around great guy to all that knew him, Jim Cummings, passed away today. I'm numb, but wanted you to know right away and I'm sure you are as shocked as all of us. Very sad news.
Bill also shared something about Jim that I did not know:
I think he would love it. I know he read your Home Page comments religiously, as I do, and he thoroughly enjoyed the SLPL. As you know, he was proud of his Livernois blood and would be honored of any mention you might make of him.
Jim won the 2005 Overall SLPL Championship. Here is our report of his being crowned champ in early 2006:
Jim was a great baseball player. He played semi-pro ball and more than once hit 500-feet home runs against very good teams. Back in the day, when his semi-pro team played Cal (who I believe was competing for the college World Series at the time), Jim played so well that the opposing Cal coach recruited him for a full scholarship to Cal. In our high school there was an athlete Billy Heil who was all CIF in both football and baseball, and Heil once told Jim that he had never seen anyone hit a baseball as hard and as far as Jim could. He was a true sportsman and a very good athlete.
And here’s the photo we featured in that article:
(March 25, 2006) - Perennial-loser but newly-minted champion Jim Cummings, owner of the Washingtino Bullets, was awarded the coveted Ruiz Cup last week at his home near Ridgefield, WA, for being named the 2005 SLPL Overall Champ. "What took so long?" Cummings asked at his raucous, take-no-prisoners press conference following the Cup's presentation. "You guys couldn't get that cheap ceramic mug through customs or something?"
With the new season rapidly approaching, the normally soft-spoken Cummings ripped fellow owners and league management after accepting the prize. "So I got a mug. Big deal. Let me talk about something really important, like the upcoming season," Cummings said. "I've got two wishes for the 2006 season. One, I wish that Mr. James Woo would pay for his trades on time just like the rest of us. This will make it easier for the commissioner (Rube Furrow) and won't tarnish the ownership group any further. And two, I wish that Mr. Aaron Pankoke would continue to make boneheaded decisions like not trading for Konerko the last week of the season."
Pankoke, whose Strokes were crowned champs in 2003, was quick to respond. "Cummings, being a loser for so long, obviously doesn't know how to act like a champ," he said by telephone because he was in Arizona with his club for Spring Training. "I have two words for Jim Cummings: Use some of your award money to buy a little bit of class, willya buddy?"
Cummings softened his rhetoric a bit when asked about the Ruiz Cup presentation, attended by SLPL management. "There was no way in hell I was going to have a picture taken with that knucklehead (VP of Baseball Operations and Other Festivities) Pedregoso Rios. So I demanded that I be allowed to have my son, Guy, present me with the cup. Guy, he's the true champ of our family. He sets the example for the rest of us, guided by one rule: 'Love is the answer. What was the question?'"
Cliffy's Crushers Owner Mary Brown, when informed of Cummings' remarks at her home in California, said she was baffled. "What’s that dude's problem?" she asked. "He's like those whiny White Sox fans who spend more time worrying about the Cubs than they spend celebrating the fact that they just won the World Series. Jim, dude, brush that chip off your shoulder and just enjoy it. And White Sox fans, accept the fact that no one cares about your team but they adore the Cubs. Get over it and celebrate a little.”*
2005 SLPL Champ Jim Cummings with son, Guy, in front of an
actual game-day hat worn by the Bullets during their championship season
*For those coming to this via Facebook who don’t know that we are a dopey and sarcastic fantasy baseball league, none of what was said in that article was true except: (1) Jim did win the 2005 championship, and (2) Jim did consider Guy the true champ of his family. Everything else was us just having fun at our owners’ expenses.
We are going to stop right here for now. We will likely have more to say after some of the numbness wears off. Thank you, Bill Cunning, for passing along the news and sharing stories of Jim’s baseball prowess.
And Jim, we’re going to miss the hell out of you. You were, year in and year out, our favorite owner. The Bobblehead-of-Lettuce forever bobbles for you, sir.
Rule 10.09 (b)(9) The Official Scorer shall credit an automatic putout to the catcher when multiple fielders successfully prevent a small child from falling to his death. No assist shall be credited on the play.
If in the Official Scorer’s judgement the cameraman is close enough that he could have successfully made a play on the child with ordinary effort, the cameraman shall be given an error on the play.
So if you're scoring at home this is an error on the cameraman and give the putout to the catcher.
Awesome, awesome job, Jeren. We appreciate the clarity and the definitiveness of the ruling.
And, hey, this is fun! We’ll have to ask Skeeter to rule on miscellaneous and various other freaky life events as the season progresses.
Whiskey?! Tango?! Foxtrot?!, overeager Chinese outfielders?! Everyone knows that the centerfield calls it and the other players back away to let him do his job, like Joe Torre’s daughter did earlier this week. With all of you catching the baby at once, it’s nearly impossible to score this act of heroism. Seriously, W?! T?! F?!
Well, the weekend started Thursday night with a late night flight from Austin, TX into SFO. The joy of No Greinke My Wankee owner Miss Peyton Markie Olivarria walking the line was the main reason for the trip. However … the weekend ended up being one of those weekends we will be talking about every time we all get together. Nothing can take away from Peyton's accomplishment, but WOW!
Friday: Peyton's Big Day!
Friday went off without a hitch … if you were part of another family, but our family, well, not so much. The running around and the last minute preparations for Saturday’s party created a long morning. Then, at the graduation itself, having to sit through 350-plus horribly butchered names, the sunburns, and the horrible last-minute speeches made it all worth finally hearing the name we were all there to hear: “Peyton. Markie. Olivarria!” Echo throughout the PIT!
“Peyton. Markie. Olivarria!” Cue the Pit!
Saturday started with all the guys strategically planning a round of golf while the ladies stayed home and put on all the finishing touches. The party began around 5 pm with family and friends coming to congratulate Peyton. What would go down in a few short hours miss Cleo couldn't have predicted. THE DANCE OFF!!! Star of this would have been -- drum roll, please … Hamiltoes owner TYLER SHADDY! The breakdancing moves this white kid was putting down took me back to the movie Beat Street! All that was missing was the Super Fly Adidas track suit.
This video isn’t sideways. That’s just how Tyler dances.
After Tyler finished wiping the floor with his horrible dance moves, the party continued in the backyard. At this point, the (in)famous GOLDEN SOMBRERO was retrieved from the wall of trophies! It was only fitting I represent my 29th place team with some good luck! Kempin' It Real! owner Kyle Harmon refused to wear it for reasons we do not speak of. Okay, we’ll speak of them: He said he did not want to jinx Chris Davis, the only reason Kempin' It Real! is currently in the Top 10.
The end of the night ends in walk-off fashion! Or, for our non baseball fans, homicide. One of our beloved family members, who we have been trying to persuade to join our wonderful league, Dan the Pirate, decided he was calling it a night. Boy did he. Dan did his best to audition for an upcoming role in Law and Order SVU. So we did our best Stabler and Benson impressions.
Dan the Pirate. Calling It A Night.
Like I said at the beginning, a weekend that will continue to be talked about for a long time!
But let us not forget the real reason we were all able to come together: Peyton's graduation. Congrats, Peyton, you have made all of us so proud! Once a cowboy always a cowboy!
Editor’s Note: How is it possible that the Livernoises and Klinkhamers haven’t ended up at the same party as the Olivarrias? Or would that rip the space-time continuum and bring the planet to screeching halt?
Brandon’s “Punching-Mosters-In-Gonads” Pose
(Click to enlargenate.)
So today we hope that Brandon can get us his report so that we can post it tomorrow. C’mon, Brandon, don’t let me down.