In 1981, I took a part-time coaching position as Head Baseball Coach at Harris Stowe State College, at the request of my friend, Athletic Director Ted Savage. Prior to, and during my employment at the college, I worked as a police officer for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and eventually ended my career after thirty-seven years in law enforcement.
Those first baseball seasons were so special that I can’t even describe the emotions I experienced. As a coach, you spend so much time with your players that each and every one of them becomes family. Their problems become your problems, their joy becomes your joy, and they become your life. One of the players on those first teams, was your father and husband, Michael Elliott Webster (M.E.).
When I first met Mike at the meeting introducing me as the new coach, he stood out immediately. I saw his smile from across the room. After that initial meeting, I had the privilege of spending many hours with Mike, both as a player and a friend. As a player, Mike was a natural athlete. He could run, hit, throw, and think during tense situations. Mike quickly became my confidant regarding team issues and problems. Whether the team was home or away, he would be the team spokesman. These sessions usually began with Mike exhibiting his big smile and negotiating issues pertaining to practice or curfews.
I can’t recall exactly when the law enforcement conversations began, but Mike indicated that he wanted to have a career in law enforcement, and that he had applied for a position with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. After his application was accepted, I received a call from Patrol Investigators performing a background check on Mike. I couldn’t wait to tell those investigators what a wonderful choice Mike would be. Mike was a fine man, with all the skills necessary to become a law enforcement officer. Mike’s honesty, intelligence, and compassion for his fellow human beings were qualities that separated him from other young people I knew.
As the years slipped by and we went our different ways, that first team, and especially Mike Webster, would enter my thoughts many times. Mike was the kind of person that made others better, just from having known him. I am definitely not an exception. In fact, I can still see that great smile and hear his encouraging words.
I’m positive that I will see Mike again, and we’ll sit down and have a discussion about what has happened in both our lives. Just talking about Mike brings me tears of joy and makes me miss one of the best men I ever knew.