Marvin Towny Townsend, a baseball coaching legend in Hampton Roads Virginia, once was a budding young baseball prodigy. A college All-American, drafted four times by Major League Baseball, including being a #1 Pick by the Boston Red Sox. Big and strong at 6’2 and playing shortstop in the minor leagues, he looked ready for baseball stardom until racism reared its ugly head from within the baseball dugout and ultimately putting to an end of a promising career.Towny Townsend went on to be a college coach, being an NCAA Coach of the Year Finalist, earning a Master’s in Education, and taking his Alma Mater, an underserved, urban, and predominantly African-American school in Norfolk, VA to multiple District championships. Towny and his baseball friends possessed unique viewpoints, methods, and leadership qualities helping to ignite a baseball revolution in Virginia. His coaches were a former MLB All-Star, the first player he recruited to play for his college team, a player he drilled as a pitcher to teach a lesson the first time they met ultimately ending with a brawl at home plate, an athletic prodigy with two sons who became baseball superstars, and a dude more likely to be in flip-flops and discussing mental exercises for baseball than having batting practice. The Coaches formed two separate Amateur Athletic Union baseball organizations, the Blasters and Drillers, always bitter rivals, but friends off the field. A group of players emerged from the controlled chaos of Towny and his friends. The Splendid 6 of Michael Cuddyer, David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman, Mark Reynolds, B.J. and Justin Upton took Major League Baseball by storm and each had a long successful career. The Splendid 6 played 8,370 MLB games, 35,420 at-bats, 9,346 base hits, 1,509 home runs, and 5,282 RBI across 85 MLB seasons through 2021. 15 All-Star nods and a World Series Championship. As the Splendid 6 began to see their MLB Stardom take-off, Towny was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery after surgery and multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation therapy could not stop Towny from coaching, mentoring, and showing others how to fight to the end with hope and dignity. Towny Townsend died in 2007 just as all the Splendid 6 were all playing in the Major Leagues.
Pub Date: 08/2022