Glove, glove me do

Odds are one of the four Republican state senators in Massachusetts has a better chance of getting one of his bills passed than he does of catching a foul ball at a Major League Baseball game. Unless that senator is Robert Hedlund.

The 11-term incumbent from Wey­mouth is a magnet when it comes to foul balls, going back to grammar school when former Red Sox third-base coach Eddie Popowski fielded a couple foul balls and tossed them into the stands, where the young Hedlund grabbed them.

Since then, Hedlund has caught three more foul balls at Fenway Park and another at the old Shea Stadium in New York. He also caught one at a spring training game, though he dismisses that the way ball players dismiss Grapefruit League results. (A couple years ago the Wall Street Journal tried to determine the likelihood of catching a foul at a Major League Baseball game and put the odds at somewhere between 884 and 1,189 to 1.)

“My first one was a one-hander off the bat of Don Baylor,” says Hedlund, relishing the memory. “I held onto my hot dog with one hand and snagged it with the other.”

Meet the Author

Jack Sullivan

Senior Investigative Reporter, CommonWealth

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is now retired. A veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is now retired. A veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

He missed a ball a few years ago in Cincinnati when he dropped a foul that smacked his hand at “about 100 miles an hour.”

Hedlund says, tongue firmly implanted in cheek, that the foul ball experience has made him a better legislator. “It’s taught me to be alert, nimble, be able to maneuver and adapt, stay focused and, of course, to be fiscally conservative, since I didn’t drop the hot dog,” he says.