New York Mets manager Willie Randolph will deliver the keynote address to the Class of 2007 at Fordham University’s 162nd Commencement on Saturday, May 19, at 10 a.m. on the Rose Hill campus.
Randolph, who was hired as manager of the Mets in November 2004, also had an accomplished 18-year playing career, mostly with the New York Yankees. He played more games at second base than any other player in Yankees history, and was part of teams that won two World Series championships as a player and four more as a coach. Randolph’s daughter, Ciara, a Fordham College at Rose Hill senior, will be among the graduates on May 19.
Randolph grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn and the Pittsburg Pirates selected him in the seventh round of the 1972 amateur draft. He spent 13 of his 18 seasons as a player with the New York Yankees, and also played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers and finished his career with the Mets.
As a manager, Randolph guided the Mets to an 83-79 record in his rookie season, the first time the franchise had finished above .500 since 2001. In 2006, Randolph managed the Mets to a league-best 97-65 record and the National League East Division title. The team would eventually come within one game of reaching the World Series, losing the seventh game of the National League Championship Series to the eventual world-champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Randolph has received numerous honors for his community service, including the Sportsman of the Year award by the March of Dimes, the Leadership Award by 100 Black Men and the Humanitarian Award by the Koby Mandell Foundation. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz declared “Willie Randolph Day” in Brooklyn on June 9, 2005.
For complete details see the Commencement issue of Inside Fordham, May 18, 2007.
By Victor M. Inzunza