HAPPY BIRTHDAY: E-Twins celebrate Bishop’s 100th birthday in style

Published 9:24 pm Thursday, July 20, 2017

Over the past 40 years of Elizabethton Twins Minor League Baseball, it’s hard not to hear about the extraordinary stories of Gertrude Bishop.
To recognize her efforts and dedication to the organization, the Twins took time out during Monday’s contest at Joe O’Brien Field against the Bristol Pirates to remember Bishop’s 100th birthday.
“It’s just wonderful,” Bishop said with a smile following the pregame ceremony. “I don’t feel I deserve it, but I’m very thankful they have remembered me in such a wonderful way.”
Bishop was joined by her family for the occasion as she received a first-class escort down the first base line before having received a warm welcome from fans and Twins players. Bristol players also took time out to honor her effort during the ceremony from the dugout.
During the ceremony, Appalachian League President Lee Landers read a proclamation sharing the moments of Bishop, from her being one of the original hosts for Twins players to sharing laughs about different events.”
Bishop was one of the first boosters for the organization and remained active over the years to help the players and coaches alike. Ray Smith, the manager of the team, was housed by Bishop during his rookie year as a professional baseball player.
“(He) live in our house when he was a rookie. I expect that is one of the reasons why we’ve continued coming out to the games,” Bishop said. “My grandson’s father, my son, kept a couple of the first players that came in. We enjoyed them, so we just started keeping them in our homes. We learned a lot of new people, new faces and new friends from all across the United States.
The Twins’ manager was quick to sing the praises of his former house mother.
“I think the one thing professional baseball has allowed us to do is to travel all over the world and meet some very special people,” Smith said. “One of the most inspiring people I’ve met in baseball is Ms. Bishop.
Smith spoke about Bishop’s time as an educator and inspiring students to achieve their dreams.
“There are so many people in debt to what she’s done for them,” Smith said. “Mrs. Bishop was important in lives of many of us.
Mike Mains, general manager of the club, announced the organization would be commemorating a seat inside Joe O’Brien for Bishop. Harold Mains, president of the group, also presented Bishop was a lifetime in a token of gratitude for her support.
And to cap off the ceremony, Bishop reared back to toss out the first pitch of the game.
While the Twins fan hasn’t been able to attend as many games this year, Bishop’s rally cap still sways in favor of the boys from Joe O’Brien.
“I haven’t been able to attend but one game this year, so I don’t know too much about the team this year,” she said. “But I’m going to stay for tonight’s game.”

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