You couldn’t have asked for a better day to unveil the newly-renovated “Shannon Forde Dalton Memorial Field” in Little Ferry, New Jersey on Friday. Golden sunshine, deep blue skies and warm temperatures. Officials from Major League Baseball, New York Mets and residents/police officers were on hand for the dedication of the field.
SNY broadcaster & emcee of the event Gary Cohen spoke first about how this was the 5th consecutive year all MLB clubs participated in the charity auction and renamed Play Ball Charity Auction that focused on honoring legacy of Shannon Forde. Cohen mentioned that $235,000 had been raised which is the most money raised and proceeds went to the renovation of the field.
The next speaker was the Mayor of Little Ferry, New Jersey Mauro D. Raguseo who said this was a historic day for the town and dedicating this field to a remarkable and lifelong resident in Shannon Dalton Forde. Raguseo thanked all the dignitaries in attendance especially MLB for raising all the funds from the charity auction to construct the field. He said this was not a sad occasion but to rejoice in her memory and synonymous with kindness, love and community.
Once just a grass field and clay down from the block Forde grew up in and her sister played on as children Raguseo said she organized a group of friends into a softball team that was managed by her father. He went on to say that even when she became the Mets senior director of public relations and rose up the ranks in her career she never forgot where she came from that was Little Ferry where she raised her children with husband John in a beautiful community that she loved despite a busy schedule. When an opportunity arose she helped out with a fundraiser.
Detective Mike Hinchcliffe of the Little Ferry Police Department spoke next and explained the reason the PAL(Police Athletic League) was started in 2015 was to bring the police closer to the community. Det. Hinchcliffe said it was a memorial for someone we cared about and impossible not to understand how much Shannon Dalton Forde meant to so many people.
New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon took to the podium next and thanked Commissioner Manfred, Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson, Omar Minaya, David Wright, John Franco, Al Leiter, Todd Zeile, Ron Darling, David Wright and Willie Randolph.
Wilpon said she is missed at Citi Field and even though was very sick in the end still managed to work and attend World Series games in Kansas City. Wilpon said Forder was involved in many charities that included 9/11 to Tuesday’s Children and hospital and school charities. She worked for 22 years and one of a kind. Nicholas and Kendall what a great feeling to play on a field honoring your mother and should be proud.
Forde’s niece Felicia Spinella niece was the last person to speak and was appreciative of MLB Commisioner Manfred Jay Horowitz Jeff Wilpon MLB 30 Major League teams donations. Thanking PAL organization for all hard work patience into the project from planning to completion. Spinella said Forde was humble and modest in break down barriers and shatter ceilings as she was just trying to do what was right and job no recognition and thanks needed repaid by smile on someone’s face or making someone’s dream. It made her fee happy and good inside and inspiration to everyone so selfless and caring she would help anybody and anyone loyal hard worker endlessly and tirelessly as a college intern to senior director of PR 90 work week
One of a kind and blessing and angel every accolade and honor and praise given to her she earned with blood sweat and tears hometown of Little Ferry and love of baseball. Spinella’s last comments were “Let’s Play Ball”
Afterwards the Forde and Dalton families were a part of a ribbon cutting ceremony. Forde’s kids Nick and Kendal threw out first pitches to David Wright and John Franco.
Jeff Wilpon culmination of starting as in intern and working her way through and breaking a glass ceiling and taking care of everybody.
David Wright on what Forde meant to him, “I didn’t know how to get to the ball park, where to enter, leave tickets for my family, talk and conduct myself with the media” “After that became a good friendship, a big sister/little sister where she was looking out for me and told me who to hang out with and not too, good restaurants were.” “Treated me like a little brother. Memories of Shannon will last a lifetime”
Omar Minaya on Forde’s impact “A great day and Shannon was very dear to me and my family” “As an employee for the Mets for so many years, she was a special person” “She meant a lot to the game of baseball and that person behind the scenes and be in control when players were reported and talked to the media after the game” “A big market in New York and a very difficult job working for Jay Horowitz, one of the best PR directors in the game and her standards always high and always did it with a smile and made life better for the writers and players”