By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
JAMES “Jim” Wood not only left a void in the sporting community, but a household of three generations of athletes who have all made their mark on the local and international scene.
Wood, the long-time president of the Bahamas Baseball Association, died Tuesday at home on Sea Breeze Lane at the age of 78 after suffering from an apparent heart attack.
Although the Ford, Rodgers, Armbrister and Seymour families have produced quite a number of siblings that have excelled in sports, Wood’s clan may have emerged as the leader of the pack with both male and female members making an impact.
Starting the list is the oldest sister, Della Thomas, who shined as the first female to win a gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Bodybuilding Championships. Another sister, Oria Wood-Knowles was probably one of the most versatile female athletes in the country, having played the majority of the core sports, including basketball, volleyball, softball and athletics and netball.
Other sisters, Julie, Seran, Kim and Erica all played mainly softball and volleyball at the high school level and to a lesser degree at the national level.
The Wood brothers include Dave, Andre ‘Star’, Ken ‘Blackus’, Brad, Trevor ‘Knuck’, Rico and James ‘Jimbo’ Wood Jr, all of whom played baseball when it was in its heyday and crossed over to play softball as well. Andre Wood went on to play in the minor league as both an in and outfielder with various teams from 1978 to 1983.
Dave Wood eventually excelled as a manager in baseball, both locally and with the men’s national team and today, he and Andre Wood are coaching at the Jordan Prince Williams High School, while Brad and his son, Brad Jr, are coaches at Charles W Saunders High School.
Incidentally, Dave's two sons, Marvin and Terran Wood, as well as Ken’s son Ken Jr and Brad Jr, are all making their presence felt in the New Providence Softball Association, which saw the return of Oria Wood-Knowles and her husband, Colin ‘Troppy’ Knowles back in the league as coaches on the women’s side.
She also functions as a sports officer in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the secretary general of the BBA, working alongside her father.
Many would remember Wood for the role he played as the president of the BBA for at least three decades. But it was during the BBA’s election in 1986, a dispute erupted between Wood and then commissioner Athama Bowe. That subsequently led to a tie during the vote for president.
Another election was called to break the tie, but after Bowe declined to show up, Wood was elected.
Even though the sport continued under the longstanding dispute, a fraction eventually broke away and formed the Bahamas Baseball Federation with Jeff Williams and Senator Greg Burrows as some of the leading figures.
After years of trying to resolve the dispute, Wood led the BBA as they joined forces with the BBF, led by Craig ‘Salty’ Kemp to finally sign a two-page agreement with the Bahamas Baseball Federation.
The move will allow both bodies to continue to function separately, but they will come together to collaborate on the selection of the national teams.
The sport may never get back to the glory days, but Wood left an indelible mark, not only as the BBA president, but for the role he played in bringing up his children and the countless players whom he groomed through the Heineken St Bernard’s baseball team over the years.
His influence was so important that there was hardly a time when any of his children or grand children were performing that he and sometimes, his wife, Eva, were there in the stands cheering them on. May his soul rest in peace.