Neil's 'Simple Game' captures Eckman at his colorful best


November 19, 1995|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

The book on the life and times of Charley Eckman, "It's a Very Simple Game," is out.

Fred Neil, a longtime friend and business associate of the late Eckman, wrote the book with Charley before Eckman died July 3. Eckman, a near 50-year resident of Glen Burnie, was the most colorful sports personality of our time.

The Sports Boosters of Maryland paid tribute to Eckman at Martin's West Thursday as part of its banquet to honor the "Great Baltimore Bullets."

Tom Davis of WQSR and Home Team Sports and I delivered the testimonial on Eckman with Charley's wife of 55 years, Wilma, accepting an award from the Sports Boosters.

The book is full of hilarious Eckman stories and "Ecklish" -- his own language and style. Neil does a thorough job of covering Charley's frantic run through life as a top college and NBA referee, NBA head coach, broadcaster and after-dinner speaker.

Among those who endorse the book is best-selling author Tom Clancy who wrote the foreword.

Clancy wrote, ". . . In an era of human enterprise where reality has long since been overtaken by high-flown rhetoric pontificated out by people who've never played the game or coached a game, Charley's oral history of American sports is rather like a cold shower after a hot afternoon.

"And that's why I recommend it."

North Carolina coach Dean Smith, who often had Eckman working his games, said of the book, "Eckman's book brought back memories and a lot of laughs. Charley was a truly great referee, who not only controlled the game, but added an extraordinary amount of fun. You didn't really get to know Eckman. You experienced him."

The Eckman book is available at local bookstores or by calling (410) 863-0458.

On the links

Crofton's Brian Hanczaryk, who is a senior at DeMatha High in Hyattsville, has accepted a golf scholarship to Winthrop College in Rock Hill, S.C.

Hanczaryk has started all three years as No. 2 seed at DeMatha during which time the Stags have not lost a regular-season match. Hanczaryk has won several junior opens in the summer.

A Maryland Distinguished Scholar and member of the National Honor Society, Hanczaryk maintains a 4.1 grade-point average and scored 1,310 on the Scholastic Assessment Test.

Locals part of national title

Four county high school grads played prominent roles in Reisterstown's unlimited baseball club winning the National Adult Baseball Association Championship in Phoenix in late October.

Earl Williams (Andover), Tim Butz (Brooklyn Park), Rick Such (Broadneck) and Tony Masteran (Old Mill) contributed to Reisterstown's seven consecutive victories against teams from the East, West, Midwest and Hawaii.

Williams, who played briefly in the Baltimore Orioles minor-league system, is Reisterstown's power-hitting first baseman-DH. Known for his tape-measure homers in the Baltimore Major League, Williams is the only amateur player in Maryland to hit three homers in one inning, accomplishing the feat at Saw Mill Creek Park with Wagner's 19-and-under team in the late '80s.

In the NABA tournament, Williams hit two homers and won the home run hitting contest.

Butz pitched a complete game victory over New Jersey while Such struck out 11 to win the sixth game over Modesto, Calif. Masteran was the battery mate of Butz and Such.

Another ex-Oriole farmhand, pitcher Chris Chatterton won two games for coach Bob Nash, including the final by 9-1 over Connecticut. The team's ERA was 2.30.

Third baseman Scott Gleiman, who attended Owings Mills High School and High Point College, hit three homers and batted .350.

"We hit the heck out of the ball," said Butz. "Our slugging percentage was .888 and our team batting average was .436."

Quick gridiron pops

In case you were wondering how close Meade's defensive unit, with 22 interceptions, was to a county record, wonder no more. The 1984 Annapolis team, known as the "Pass Busters," had a county-record 32 in 12 games.

* Did you realize that for the first time none of the county's 2A-3A football teams had a winning record. Southern and Northeast were 4-6, South River 3-7 and Broadneck, the county's only 3A team, was 2-8.

* Only six (four public schools) of the county's 15 high schools playing football had winning records -- Arundel (10-0), Meade, North County, St. Mary's and Severn (all 7-3), and Severna Park (6-4).

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