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Murray Journal

A mother's dedication: Tom Gourdin's MLB journey immortalized in Murray mini-library

Sep 08, 2023 12:55PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Tom Gourdin, a local baseball hero who realized his dreams on the fields of Major League Baseball, will now inspire future generations in Murray through a Kids Read mini-library. Even as a young boy, Tom displayed an unwavering determination to pursue his lifelong dream of playing in the major leagues, a dream that would take him from his childhood home to the professional baseball diamonds of the Minnesota Twins. In honor of his achievements and his legacy, Tom's mother, Patricia Gourdin, has partnered with Kids Read and Murray City to establish a mini-library dedicated to nurturing the dreams of young readers and perhaps inspiring future sports heroes.

Gourdin unexpectedly passed away this year at the age of 49. As a standout Murray High School athlete, lettering in football, basketball and, of course, baseball, he attended New Mexico Jr. College. The Minnesota Twins drafted him in 1991, where he played for the Twin’s organization in East Coast and Midwest Minor League teams. 

At the heart of this tribute is his mother who sponsors the initiative. Recounting the early days, Patricia said, "He started playing baseball at age 6 and used my brother’s softball glove. It was then he decided he wanted to play in the majors. It was his life dream.” From those beginnings wearing the catcher's gear, fondly referred to as the "tools of ignorance," Tom's baseball journey from Murray High School to the Minnesota Twins, according to Patricia, stands as a testament to his commitment and ambition.

Beyond the spotlight of the baseball diamond, Tom was a man of varied passions. He was an ardent lover of history, which was evident in his viewing preferences that included Discovery, History, and Animal Planet channels. “Tom always was interested in the history of the world. If he took time to watch TV, it was always to learn more," Patricia said. His fondness for nature led to a profound appreciation for trees, with the redwoods holding a special place in his heart. Tom's Greek heritage was another source of pride, culminating in a memorable trip to Greece. He also loved his boxer dogs.

"Tom never met a stranger he didn’t consider a friend,” Patricia said. This spirit of inclusivity extended beyond personal relationships to the broader community. This mini-library initiative doesn't just commemorate Tom's athletic achievements with the Twins but also encapsulates his myriad passions and values. “Tom will be remembered for his kindness, smile and his desire to help others," Patricia said. She envisions the library as more than just a repository of books; it's a beacon of hope and inspiration for young readers.

The Kids Read library's position in Murray is strategic. With a younger generation moving into the neighborhood, children can look forward to books encouraging them on to greater reading.

Patricia said, “I had seen the Kids Read libraries around Murray and thought it would be great for our neighborhood." 

The mini-library will focus on books about sports, kindness, self-motivation, and world history, aiming to inspire dreams and ambitions. The inclusion of both male and female athletes in the books further showcases the library's dedication to inclusivity and representation.

Kids Read President Lynda Brown illuminates the broader vision behind this initiative, stating, “Kids Read is motivated to provide books that are interesting, fun, and exciting for kids…we just want books in their hands." She adds, “By honoring a local sports person with this library, we feel children will be motivated to discover the kind of commitment and passion that makes a sports hero.” This library, only the second in Murray to honor someone with a plaque, marks a special milestone for the community.

A core aspect of this initiative is ensuring its longevity. Brown assures that with Patricia's assistance as the library’s ambassador, the collection will be refreshed with relevant books and the structure will be maintained in prime condition. “Working with his family,” Brown said, “we will keep the library filled with pertinent and specific books.”

Brown encourages the Murray community's involvement, noting the generous support they have already provided. “We always need families to host a library for the future of our cities' kids, to donate books for children grade 1-6, and to simply spread the word across the valley for us.”

In addition to the mini-library, Patricia is set on preserving Tom's memory in multiple ways. Plans to establish a scholarship at Murray High and a donation to a boxer rescue in Tom's name are already in motion.

To contribute or get involved with this initiative and other Kids Read projects, contact them at [email protected]. λ