Chris Greklek knew that the North Colonie Youth Baseball Association was dedicating a new plaque at the Boght Baseball Complex last Friday.
He just didn't know his name would be on it.
Greklek, a former NCYBA board member and team manager, became the first Mission Plaque honoree following a two-year stretch in which he battled multiple myeloma.
This was quite a surprise, said Greklek. "I'm just glad to be part of it, as I am for being part of this organization for the past seven years."
The trick to surprising Greklek was not telling him why he needed to be at the ceremony, said NCYBA Commissioner Bob Burke.
"It was pretty hard, but his tenure on the board ended on Jan. 1, and we voted on (the honor) soon after he left," said Burke.
Greklek's wife, Amy, was also in on the surprise.
"I was contacted by the board a couple of weeks ago to make sure he'd be here," said Amy.
"She kept asking me, 'What's this thing on Friday?' so I would remember it," said Greklek.
The Mission Plaque unveiled at the Boght Baseball Complex displays the attributes the NCYBA instills in its players " "Leadership, confidence, respect, teamwork, discipline, sportsmanship and friendship which will carry on into adulthood if but only a distant memory." It concludes with this statement: "If, at the end of a day, each player leaves these fields with a smile on his or her face, then we have accomplished our mission."
Burke said the board couldn't think of a better person to honor as the first recipient than Greklek.
"He would come to all the meetings (when he was sick), and he was always a positive person. You'd never hear him complain," said Burke.
Greklek said he was appreciative of having his name on the Mission Plaque.