A banner that reads “Celebrate Bob Furlong Day!” has proudly hung in Shirley Price-Furlong’s living room for a year.
On Saturday, it adorned the field at Veterans Memorial Park in Calverton once again to honor her husband, Bob Furlong, who shared the general managership for the Riverhead Tomcats of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League with Patti White until he lost his battle with leukemia. He died Feb. 14 at age 58.
“I feel him here amongst us,” Price-Furlong said. “He was all about this league and the players.”
White organized the first Bob Furlong Day on July 24, 2016 to honor his generosity. Furlong, who had been with the Tomcats since their inception in 2009, was one of the HCBL’s founding fathers and a fixture in Riverhead youth sports, having coached Little League teams. He was also a big sports fan. The HCBL combined two of Furlong’s loves: baseball and college sports.
Just prior to the Tomcats game against the Westhampton Aviators, White fought back tears during the second annual Bob Furlong Day pregame ceremony as she described him as courageous.
“He not only played an instrumental role with the Tomcats, but also with getting Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League off the ground from day one,” she said. “He left us way too soon.”
The Tomcats dedicated their 2017 season to Furlong and the league is expected to present the Bob Furlong Award at the end of the season, which will go to the player who best exemplifies the highest level of integrity, teamwork and leadership on and off the field.
Tomcats pitcher Emmett Harkins said while this is his first year in the league and he never had the privilege of meeting Furlong, he’s honored to participate in the league and is inspired by his legacy and perseverance.
“Without him, we wouldn’t be here,” Harkins said.
Photo: From left, Riverhead Tomcats general manager Patti White with Shirley Price-Furlong at Saturday’s pregame ceremony. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)