Remembering Bill Law

BillLaw-InMemorium-Article

Earlier this week, the Durham Bulls’ beloved Team Ambassador and long-time PA announcer Bill Law passed away at the age of 88. Bill meant a great deal to many people in the Triangle, including the Bulls’ front office. Here, members of Bulls’ organization share their thoughts on the team icon.

Ken Tanner, Star of the Game Host

I remember the days when Bill would come in the press box every night before the game and we would kid him about the Red Sox .Those sessions would expand out to include Bill’s tremendous love and knowledge of the game of baseball and great stories of the players and managers he’d been associated with over the years in the minor leagues as well as the majors .Good times, great stories, and Bill’s wonderful sense of fun and fair play. He will be missed greatly.

Morgan Weber, Manager of Corporate Partnerships

Bill was a good friend.  He and I shared many conversations, a few tears, and a lot of laughs! One of my favorite Bill Law moments was after the 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game Luncheon at Cameron Indoor.  Once the luncheon was over, I walked over to Bill with my phone in my hand and said “You look so dapper today…we need to take a picture,” to which he replied, “A SELFIE??!?!?”

I look at him surprised and asked, “You know what a selfie is??”

He said, “Yeah. They FASCINATE me!”

So we took a selfie.

Morgan and Bill

Scott Pose, Radio Broadcaster

I first knew of Bill as a visiting player when he was the PA announcer at the DBAP for the new Triple-A Bulls. His voice had this warm, inviting quality that made everyone feel like they were at home. Little did I know then, we would become friends. Baseball brought us together and I am forever grateful. Only the greatest game on the planet could do that. There are many outstanding people in baseball but Bill was at the top of the list. Not only was Bill warm and inviting as his voice suggested, he was so much more. The best way I can describe Bill is he was the epitome of class, he loved his family, the Bulls, the Rays and the Red Sox. We would tease Bill about his loyalty for what seemed to be the entire American League East, but he was entitled as the Bulls Ambassador. He was always sure to tell me he disliked the Yankees and all who played for them, but he highlighted somehow he was able to make a rare exception for me.  He will be missed. All were lucky to have ever known Bill. I will never forget him.

Matt Sutor, Director of Communications

When I first met Bill I was amazed at how revered he was by those around him. But after three short seasons it became apparent why he was so beloved – he cared deeply about those he saw at the ballpark, and about the Durham Bulls.

Bill never failed to put a smile on my face. Whenever I saw him at the DBAP I made sure to go up to him, shake his hand, and ask how he was doing. His answer was always the same: “I’m doing alright.” At that point the conversation would pivot to me, as he’d ask how everything was going, if I was still having fun, and if Mike Birling was giving me too hard of a time. Bill had a way of making everyone he spoke to feel important, feel welcome and feel loved, and that’s what I’ll remember most about Bill Law.

Krista Boyd, Director of Marketing

Over the past five seasons, I’ve been blessed to work with the best of the best in baseball at the Bulls. Bill and I only officially worked one game together when he filled in on PA while Tony Riggsbee was off at Spring Training in 2012, but what an experience that game was. It was my first time running a show at the DBAP and Bill was kind enough to guide us through the process. Through his kind smile and encouragement he made me quickly feel a part of the Bulls family and for that I will be forever grateful.

Bryan Wilson, Director of Merchandising

Mr. Law was so much more than a friend to me, and many of the Bulls staff.  He was a mentor, and a father figure to all of us.   He loved the Bulls more than any of us, but he also taught us by example of what it meant to be a part of this organization.  He taught me to love every second and never take this job for granted.  He would come into the store almost weekly to say hi, have a conversation and ask me “Bryan, what do you have that I cannot live without?”  We talked about baseball, life, family, or anything else that came up.  Bill always asked about my kids, and frequently said how much he enjoyed seeing them growing up running around the park.  But he also reminded me to spend as much time with them as possible because they grow up way too fast.  Mr. Law, thank you.  Thank you for the conversations, laughs, life lessons and friendship.  We will all miss you dearly.

George Habel, Vice President

This is difficult to explain, but Bill’s voice was always a component of the ballpark to me. We have the signature brickwork and steel beams, and Bill’s voice reverberated throughout the structure. Our ballpark has a certain look, and because of Bill, it even has a sound. It truly met the criterion of “unique” – a Boston accent mellowed (or sweetened) by a lifetime spent in North Carolina. We will miss Mr. Law…deeply. I have not known a more loyal member of the staff. But I can still hear his voice at the ball yard.

Mike Birling, General Manager

I remember the first Bulls game I attended.  I had just been hired late in the 1998 season with only a few games remaining.  I knew the Durham Bulls were this iconic franchise, but didn’t know much about the incredible history at that time.  The first time I heard Bill Law’s voice come over the PA system it stopped me in my tracks.  It was so distinctive and so “historic.”  You could just tell he was creating a relationship on a nightly basis with our fans from behind a mic.

Coming from a Single-A team where every inning we were doing on-field promotions and also had an on-field MC I knew that was something I wanted to bring to Durham.  Well, Bill wasn’t the happiest person when I told him he would still do the announcing, but he would have a person on-field that would do the promotions.  For those that knew Bill know he wasn’t afraid to say what was on his mind and he made it very clear to me that this wasn’t the smartest thing to be doing.  I could tell our relationship was going to take some time to grow.  Can’t say I blame him with some young kid coming in and trying to change the way the Durham Bulls were doing things.  Eventually Bill understood what we were trying to accomplish and did everything possible to make the transition work.

One of the toughest moments of my career with the Bulls was transitioning Bill off the mic.  He was so proud of his streak of doing every single game that was ever played at the DBAP.  This team and this ballpark meant everything to him and he didn’t want the day to come where he wasn’t a part of that.  Well that day finally came and he was heartbroken, but that is also the time that mine and Bill’s relationship got stronger.  We transitioned Bill into the role of Team Ambassador and he just fell in love with the new role.  He was so proud of taking on new projects or being the voice of the Bulls at many speaking engagements.  It seemed to have given him a new life with the Bulls.  Well, that life came to an end a few days ago.  The Bulls family is heartbroken over that loss.  You just don’t see people anymore with the passion and love that he had for the game of baseball and especially his Durham Bulls.  There are so many memories of Bill that will last with me forever, but the most important thing I know is Bill is back behind the mic calling baseball games in a much better place than here at the DBAP.

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