I think all of you know that Marty came to California from Chicago. I did too. Growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s in Mayor Daley’s Chicago, we all learned many important lessons as children. We learned that the man’s first name was actually Mayor, and Richard J was his middle name. We learned that in this life, in Chicago, you can get more with a kind word, and a gun, than with a kind word alone. We learned to vote early, and often. And we learned, which would serve both Marty and me in our later careers, “The first thing you do is count the votes; then, and only then, do you have the election.”
Now, recall one of the most important days of life in Chicago history, October 1, 1959. It turns out that in addition to Mayor Daley, there were 48,012 other people at the first game of the 1959 World Series, hosted by the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park at 35th and Shields on the South Side. This was their first return to post season play since the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal, orchestrated by Arnold Rothstein, in which certain “Say it Ain’t So” players with very low handicap indexes missed a few three foot putts to insure Cincinnati’s triumph. Among the 48,012 non-mayoral fans were my dad, my uncle, and 8-year-old me on two seats in the right field stands; and 12 year old Martin E. Ruberry, seated in the left field bleachers. Arnold Rothstein did not appear. The Los Angeles Dodgers did.
For the benefit of those too young to remember, the White Sox starting lineup was Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox, Jim Landis, Ted Kluszewski, Sherman Lollar, Billy Goodman, Al Smith, Jungle Jim Rivera and Early Wynn. The Sox jumped on Roger Craig early and won 11-0. Sandy Koufax pitched two innings of relief, so I am pretty sure it wasn’t Yom Kippur that day.
It took another 52 years before Marty and I found ourselves in the same place at the same time. Please note that I am not counting the strong possibility we met during my many visits to Shenanigan’s or Butch McGuire’s on Rush Street because, frankly, I don’t remember anybody from those nights.
Our reunion in Pebble Beach was a cause for great celebration. Just like several thousand other people, I was instantly smitten with Marty’s welcoming smile and warm embrace. Immediately sizing up another Left Coast refugee from the Windy City, we vetted each other’s credentials, preferred deep dish pizza parlor and Italian beef stand, and tried to learn, without directly asking, “Who was your Rabbi?”
We immediately decided to overlook the obvious and fatal flaw in our prospective friendship—namely, that he was from the South Side and I was from the North. In Chicago, this is what is called a Mixed Marriage, and other than for temporary political convenience among aldermen, or an inebriated post 2 AM coupling, which I guess is about the same thing, almost never works.
Marty became my sponsor when I was a candidate at MPCC—and treated me with interest and affection, even though all while I was on Probation with him for that North Side thing. He later explained that only because the applicant pool had declined due to the Great Financial Crisis did the Board reluctantly agree to consider anyone from north of Madison Street.
Having been admitted, I am forever blessed by Marty’s endorsement and introduction into our community here at MPCC. As with most things of value among Chicagoans, it was a two-fer: I got Mary as well as Marty for my California family.
Marty served in many leadership roles at Sharon and MPCC. With his encouragement, I participated in the Admissions Committee. He told me that based on his experience over the many years, the comprehensive MPCC admissions protocols could be condensed to three questions:
- “Do you know what a playground is?” he asked.
- “Have you ever been on a playground?” he continued.
- “Okay–How did you do on the playground?” he concluded.
I would not be surprised if Saint Peter had the same exact admissions procedure for Marty when he arrived at the gates, with Martin Fay of The Chieftains playing a welcoming version of “Fairway to Heaven” on his fiddle.
Therefore, I wish to propose a toast this evening,
“The 3 Fairways Fellowship Toast”
Celebrating and honoring our friend Marty Ruberry: a leader by example whose friendliness, good humor, inclusiveness and sociability are manifest; and whose memory continues to contribute mightily to the camaraderie, laughter and affection among MPCC members. We are grateful for you and how you have enriched us all!
If a brother I see three fairways or less,
I’ll brave slow play and
Come over to bless
The gift of our friendship,
Steadfast and true,
And look very much forward
To my next game with you!