Boston Herald Article / Walter Bentson
is a man with a mission.
One of the state's top umpires and President of the Boston Park League
is battling a debilitating muscle disease.
But before it slows him down much further, he
wants to make sure there's help for those who came before him.
has primary lateral sclerosis (PLS), a neurological disease in the same family as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, the disease that claimed baseball Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig.
There are no assurances what the future holds for him, but the fate of friends claimed by ALS - and their families - rests near the top of his
For 15 years, Walter
has umpired all over New England.
From Boston's local amateur leagues to the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League, Bentson
has truly loved the game of baseball and has carried himself with class and respect every step of the way.
Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald wrote a stirring piece on Bentson back in June of 2005 entitled "True Blue."
Even as his
disease has slowed him down, Walter
has been determined to keep doing what he
loves over the last few years.
Just last season, Bentson
umpired over 100 ballgames.
Entering 2006, Bentson
has finally come to the hard decision that it's probably time to retire from his
on-field umpiring duties.
That is - after he
umpires one last game…a game truly like none other.
is currently training at Be Well Tanger Center
, part of the Shapiro Clinic at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital
for a different sort of marathon - the 100 Innings of Baseball Spectacular to benefit Curt's Pitch for ALS.
will be behind the plate for the first pitch at Worcester's Fitton Field, (the home field of the College of Holy Cross
and the Worcester Tornadoes), and plans to be in the very same spot when the game concludes, some 30+ hours later.
sees this as a challenge to himself and to those familiar with his
story to step to the plate and support the ongoing battle against ALS.
will be raising funds to start a scholarship program through the ALS Association MA Chapter
- money to help the children of past and future friends get a college education despite the staggering costs associated with living with ALS.
hard work off the field throughout the Massachusetts baseball circuit.
In addition to being Boston Park League president, he is currently Umpire-n-Chief for City of Boston High Schools, RBI program, Yawkey League, in his second term as a Director for both the College Baseball Umpires Association (CBUA) and the South Shore Umpires Association (SSUA).