There comes a point in time in every baseball man’s life when it’s time to hang up the old ball cap.
For Murfreesboro baseball icon Jack Jolly, the time is now.
After serving as a Major League Baseball scout for about 25 years, Jolly recently told the Chicago White Sox that his time is up.
“I’m at the point now where it’s just time to stop,” said Jolly, 85. “I don’t drive anymore and it’s tough on my wife, Dolly, and it’s a tough decision and will be tough on me.
“I just decided it’s time to hang it up. I got into scouting with Montreal part-time for two years and I’ve been with the White Sox ever since. I didn’t know that I’d ever be in it this long, but I can tell you I don’t have any regrets.”
Jolly was outstanding high school baseball coach for many years. The facility at Oakland High School was named in his honor.
“In high school baseball, you get what you get. You get what moms and dads send you,” said longtime friend Steve Peterson, who has been retired a year after serving 25 years as MTSU’s baseball coach. “In college, you go recruit who you want. Jack accepted that fact, and did the best he could with what he had.
“He built Oakland. He had to build the field and develop a lot of things. The funny thing about Jack is as long as he’s complaining everything is all right. When he stops is when I need to stop worrying about him.”
Peterson and Jolly formed a special bond over the years and often traveled around together to scout area high school talent.
“Jack has been very instrumental in all phases of baseball, from high school to professional,” Peterson said. “He still keeps close to (MTSU coach) Jim (McGuire), and he likes to be a part of the game.
“He was a very good influence on me throughout my coaching career. We spent many days and nights together talking and traveling and talking about recruits.”
While Jolly had to recently make the tough decision to retire, he looks forward to the next chapter in his baseball life.
“It will be a big void in my life, and I don’t mind admitting that,” Jolly said. “But you reach a certain age where you have to say I’ve had enough.
“It’s not the death knell. I’ll buy my MTSU season tickets and put my MTSU license plate back on the car because I can be biased now. That’s where my loyalty is. I’ll be able to go see my grandson play more. I’ll keep supporting MTSU because I’ve got so much respect for Jim McGuire. I’ll go Oakland, Riverdale or wherever they want me.”
Behind the scenes, Jolly has had a very instrumental supporter, Peterson added.
“His wife, Dolly Jolly, is the queen,” Peterson said. “She’s had to be to put up with Jack. His wife and his family mean so much to him, and Dolly is the bread and butter behind his success. She gave him the opportunity to do what was in his blood, and that was to coach.”
While Jolly is hanging up his old scouting ball cap, don’t worry. After all, his MT baseball cap will becoming to a game near you very soon.