When you have done everything from build a "Field of Dreams" to construct the first pitcher's mound in the Soviet Union, you have likely seen it all. But Monday night, Salem native Murray Cook received something as big as one of the many baseball fields he has designed over the years - his own day in his hometown. Council officially proclaimed September 27, 2021 as Murray Cook Day in the city. Please take time to read the proclamation and learn more about one of Salem's most successful citizens.
WHEREAS, Murray Cook has shared his talents to the game of baseball beginning here in the City of Salem and abroad for over 5 decades; and
WHEREAS, Murray Cook began his career in 1974 as a ball boy at the age of 13 at what was then Salem Municipal Field with the Salem Pirates before working on the grounds crew mowing grass, fertilizing, striping the field and packing the mound; and
WHEREAS, Murray Cook built the first ever pitcher's mound in the Soviet Union during the Diamond Diplomacy Tour in 1989; and
WHEREAS, Murray Cook managed the spring training facility for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos in West Palm Beach, Florida for seven years, earning sportsTURF Man of the Year honors in 1990; and
WHEREAS, Murray Cook, as Disney's Athletic Field Turf Consultant, developed and managed the multi-sport Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida ; and
WHEREAS, Murray Cook, as President of BrightView Sports Turf Division, used his expertise to provide worldwide scale events such as the 2004 & 2008 Olympic Games and World Baseball Classic tournaments; and
WHEREAS, Murray Cook contributed to improving and redesigning the National Mall in Washington, DC between the Capitol Building and Washington Monument in 2012 prior to the Presidential Inauguration; and
WHEREAS, Murray Cook devised a plan to hold a baseball game on an active Army base, creating a 12,500 seat stadium at Fort Bragg in North Carolina in 2016, earning recognition as USA Today's Ballpark of the Year, and
WHEREAS, Murray Cook headed a team to create a new 8,000 seat stadium in Dyersville, Iowa adjacent the iconic Field of Dreams in 2021; and
WHEREAS, Murray Cook has traveled to over 60 countries representing the game of baseball and his hometown of Salem, Virginia both in spirit and with the occasional hat or shirt with the city's logo or name; and
WHEREAS, the City of Salem values Mr. Cook's tireless effort to expand the game of baseball around the world, sharing his knowledge to younger generations and wishes to recognize his accomplishments that started here in the city; and
WHEREAS, Murray Cook played a vital role for the City of Salem in the field design, construction, installation and continued resource for City staff for Salem Memorial Ballpark and Moyer Sports Complex, which are in daily use today; and
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RENÉE FERRIS TURK, Mayor of the City of Salem, Commonwealth of Virginia, do hereby proclaim September 27, 2021, as MURRAY COOK DAY in the City of Salem, Virginia in honor and recognition of his worldwide success that began right here in Salem.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the City of Salem to be affixed this the twenty-seventh day of September in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.