He proposed to his wife at his local sporting club. His grandfather, father and uncle are all life members of baseball clubs in Australia. But it’s not just blood that joins this man to his club and passion – there is absolutely no doubt about it – his club is his family. And that’s why Tony Cornish is the Essendon Baseball Club President.
“We have a catchphrase at our club: ‘EBC Love’. We’re our own community – we should have our own postcode.” Cornish said.
Cornish is more than a president of the club. He is a life member and has been a club member for 30 years while holding the presidency for the last eight years.
He received a whopping 2,040 votes in the Good Sports Beating Hearts competition, yet when asked how he felt about the response, he was quick to credit all of the other volunteers who help the not-for-profit club operate.
“Look it’s lovely but I can’t do it without the people around me,” Cornish said. “I’ve got fantastic volunteers that support me and a fantastic coaching staff that is second to none in the country.
“Our committee has been strong for ten years with hardly anyone leading the committee. We’re one of the few clubs in the world that has more people wanting to join the committee than there are positions available. “
The Essendon Baseball Club is flourishing with plenty of success – both on and off the field – to celebrate their spirited resurgence.
In 2015, the Club was determined as the best sporting club in Australia by Inside Sports magazine, topping a golden run of five premierships in a row.
But the success didn’t come easy.
“12 years ago we were on our knees,” Cornish said.
“Since then, we’ve won five premierships in a row for the first time in the history of the game. We’ve got money in the bank, we’ve got fantastic facilities and great club rooms on the way thanks to the City of Moonee Valley.
“The club’s really excited about the future. We’re sending kids overseas to college. We’re sending coaches overseas. We have three women’s teams as well as three players from the Essendon Baseball Club who were part of the Australian starting team that beat America in the Baseball World Cup.”
To say Cornish is driven by his love of baseball is a massive understatement. The 51-year-old continues a long family tradition of baseball lovers. Cornish started playing as a catcher when he was seven years old, going on to play professionally. He still plays, coaches and umpires while fulfilling presidential duties.
“My family has over 200 years of service to the game,” Cornish said. “My wife’s family have almost 100 years’ service to Essendon Baseball Club as well.
While juggling the demands of leading a successful and financially sound club with his own full-time business and family of four, Cornish has helped build the Essendon Baseball Club into a family.