Eck, Lobel honored at Ironstone gala

Eck, Lobel honored at Ironstone gala

Ironstone Farm’s baseball-themed Spirit of Giving Gala on Saturday, Nov. 4 knocked home more than $250,000 for our Andover nonprofit that night. The party is Ironstone Farm’s major fundraiser of the year, providing critical support for the nonprofit programs that provide therapy for children with special needs, veterans and others.
This year’s gala honored Hall-of-Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley and sports anchor Bob Lobel for their spirit of giving and tremendous contributions in the community at large and to Ironstone Farm’s nonprofit programs specifically.
Known for its willingness to take a big swing at fun and reinvent itself each year, Ironstone Farm’s gala annually delivers something unexpected. This year’s “vintage baseball” theme included ballpark appetizers served by hawkers, nacho and french fry stations, a test-your-pitching arm game with radar gun and more, before guests even entered the main auditorium for a night of great times in support of a great cause.



Jon Abrams and his Billy Joel’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Show entertained the crowd with a full concert at the end of the evening.
Jon was one of the stars of the national Broadway tour of the Billy Joel/Twyla Tharp musical “Movin’ Out.” He also is the music director at La Salle Academy in New York. He was joined tonight by a cast of talented musicians including Billy Joel’s original lead guitarist, David Brown.


One of the highlights of the evening was a conversation between Eckersley and Lobel about their high-profile careers.
Dinner, live and silent auctions for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, a baseball pitching game, and raffles for other great prizes were among the activities. Formal gala attire, including black-tie, was encouraged. Many people sported their favorite team’s colors through ties and other accessories.
All the money raised will support Ironstone Farm’s nonprofit programs, and children whose families might otherwise have struggled to continue their children’s therapy. Ironstone Farm, on Route 133 in Andover, provides therapy for children and adults with special needs, people diagnosed with cancer, combat veterans who have experienced trauma, families at risk, elders with memory issues and a new program for people recovering from addiction – using the healing connection of horses and the farm environment.

Want to volunteer or support Ironstone? Click the appropriate buttons here on our website. Or call the farm at 978-475-4056 or visit its welcome center at 450 Lowell St. (Route 133), Andover, MA


The evening would not have been a success without the generous support of our sponsors:

Cy Young Sponsors

Nancy Donahue
Bank of New England

Reverse the Curse Cocktail Hour Sponsor

West Row Café and Bar (Dave Pierre and Nancy Angell)

Sweet Caroline Music Sponsor

Rotary Club of Andover Charitable

‘Why Can’t We Get Sponsors Like These’ Sponsors

Enterprise Bank and Trust
NetScout Systems Inc.
Doug and Diana Berthiaume
Votze Butler & Associates
Mahoney Oil
David McCarthy

Big Papi Sponsors

Sacks Exhibits
George and Carol Duncan
Jim and Nancy Greeley
Ardito, Toscano & McCollum, P.C.
Lowell Five
Carolyn Burt and Steve Murphy
Anastasios Parafestas
Courtsmart Digital Systems Inc.

Pitching a Gem Jewelry Sponsor

Elyse Fine Jewelers

Green Monster Sponsors

Burtons Grille
The Savings Bank/First Financial Trust
Marge and Gerry Dugal
Circle Health
All Sports Heroes
Tewksbury Country Club
Fitness Together
Vicky and Alan Bernard
Joe and Carol Monteforte
DJ & L Realty
Bill and Diane Delaney
Tina Szoka and Greg Rheaume
Dave McGillivray / DMSE
Gustav and Vibeke Christensen
Mark Spencer
Peter Volonino
John Hayes

Walk-off Sponsors

Advertising Management Services
Anstiss & Co., PC
A.P. Michaud Insurance Agency
Tom and Kori Barenboim
Boston North Cancer Association, Inc.
Michael Breda
Conway Insurance Agency
John Corey
D-Johnson Insurance Agency Inc.
Doherty Insurance
Kay and Bill Doyle
Genesis Management Group
Roger Goudreau
John and Joanne Green
JD LaGrasse & Associates
George and Donna Leahey
Tom and Krista Lee
Lowell Spinners
Tom and Patti Mullen
Peter Principe
Sage Bank
Jane Slack
Washington Savings Bank


Dennis Eckersley’s 24-year career stands out as one of the finest for any pitcher in Major League Baseball history. He won 197 games and saved 390 more, ranking 7th among all-time career save leaders. As the only pitcher in Major League history to notch 100 completed games and over 100 saves, he is considered the most versatile pitcher of all time. He spent 12 years as a starting pitcher and 12 years as a closer. In fact, he helped revolutionize the role of closer – he was one of the first to exclusively pitch in the ninth inning.
His 1992 season was one for the ages. Posting a 7-1 record and a 1.91 ERA, Eckersley saved a Major League best 51 games. His performance earned him not only the American League’s MVP, but also the coveted Cy Young Award. This was only the ninth time in history that a pitcher received such distinction.
A six-time All-Star, Eckersley was also named one of the 100 greatest baseball players of the century on Major League Baseball’s All–Century team in 1999.
In 2004, Eckersley was honored with induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, in his first year of eligibility. He was also inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2004 and in 2005, the Oakland A’s retired Eckersley’s number, 43.
Eckersley currently serves as a color commentator for the Boston Red Sox on NESN during the regular MLB season and on TBS in the post-season. He is known for his candid, colorful commentary and analysis.
But he is celebrated at Ironstone Farm for his role on our Leadership Committee that is helping to renovate our buildings and expand our nonprofit programs – and for the day he visited and sat with our children, chatting, signing baseballs and giving them the gift of a lifetime!

A Boston sports-reporting icon for more than four decades, Bob Lobel has been a beloved sports-news anchor for WBZ-TV Boston, weekly sports program host of Sports Final and Patriots 5th Quarter, NFL and NBA game announcer, NCAA tournament sideline reporter and Fenway Park announcer.
While we applaud his amazing career, more important to Ironstone is Bob’s generous use of talent and celebrity to support charitable causes throughout New England, including Children’s Hospital, the Genesis Fund and others whose missions align with ours in helping children with disabilities. Long before Bob suffered with his own disability, he recognized the plight of others who had no voice. For this reason we award him Ironstone’s Joann Weber Award, named for a person of courage, caring and generosity where it counts the most.

Ironstone Farm thanks artist Joe Farnham for the use of his artwork to help promote and set the mood for the vintage baseball event. To see more of his vintage baseball art, visit

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