Tom "Sky" Skibosh covers the Wauwatosa, Brookfield and New Berlin prep scene for Community Newspapers. If something is going on in local sports, Sky has an opinion about it. If you agree or not with what Sky says, we want to see your comments.
If I had to pick one word to describe Wally O’Malley it would be a hard decision to choose between persistent and passionate. Wally, a man who was known largely for his ties to the Brookfield Bulldogs of the Land O’ Lakes baseball league, passed away Oct. 13.
Wally, with his red face and white hair, never met a baseball conversation he didn’t like, especially when it came to his beloved Brookfield Lakers (now Bulldogs).
I met Wally when I was a player for the Lakers. At the time, Wally was the head honcho on the board of directors. When manager Larry “Skip” Majeskie retired, he recommended me for his job. I ran the team for four years, and we played in two leagues.Fact of the matter was no one else wanted it. But being only 19 years old, I figured I would have a hard time getting approved with the ‘old’ guys on the board — O’Malley was in his 40’s and Elmer Cardo, Sr. was probably in his late 50’s at the time, and they pretty much made the decisions.
I ran the team for three years, took a year off, and came back for another season before getting my PR job with the Milwaukee Brewers. We had a young Laker team and played in two leagues – the County Major and the Lakes, and it took some doing to convince Wally to let us play in the County Major. He didn’t want us saving our best pitchers for the other league if we weren’t winning in the Lakes.After I left the Lakers for a job with the Milwaukee Brewers, Wally, who was a big shot PR guy with Harnischfeger, would now and then work his way into the press box and ‘ask’ me to get his Japanese clients’ names on the scoreboard.
I had attended Wally O’Malley Day prior to a Bulldogs game in 2007. I hoped to spend some time with my former players that day, but I when I got there, Wally put his arm around me and asked me to handle the public address system for the game.
It was hard to say no to Wally because he had a passion for baseball and the Lakers, who later became the Bulldogs, and most of all, he cared about people.
My friendship with Bonnie Martin, who died Oct. 11, was more indirect. Her husband, Dave, and I managed our oldest sons in the Elmbrook Little League, winning a title in our final year together.I remember Dave had a direct line for his business and his baseball duties. He emphasized to me to only call that line unless it was an extreme emergency. Most people know I don’t have much patience, so I called the home line once and let’s just say Bonnie explained to me that it was Dave’s line I was supposed to call and it would be better if I did that in the future.
I never did use that line again.
Bonnie was a quiet, but tough woman, who kept Dave — who was even more excitable than I was as a coach — in line. Bonnie was well-known throughout the community because of her work as a social worker with the Brookfield Police Department.I found out over the years that Bonnie suffered from a littany of severe medical problems and was constantly in pain. About six years ago I saw a different side of Bonnie. I had a situation with my youngest and she had seen a lot in her position and helped us out tremendously.
Bonnie and Wally are two good people who touched a lot of lives and will be missed.