Friends Flock to the Ballpark to Remember Keith Haller

Friends and family of the late Keith Haller listen to former U.S. Rep. Michael Barnes (D) tell Bethesda Big Train fans about his friend. Left to right: Michael Haller, Keith's son; Stacy Haller, his wife; Barnes' grandsons; former Montgomery County Councilman Bruce Adams, a co-founder of the team; and former U.S. Rep. Constance A. Morella (R). Photo courtesy of Bill Bronrott

There wasn’t much Keith Haller liked better than a hot day and a trip to the old ballpark.

Haller, the pollster, political strategist and community activist who died in December at age 70, couldn’t make it to the Bethesda Big Train game at Shirley Povich Field on Saturday night, but he was there in spirit. In fact, you might say he was the guest of honor.

And man, was it hot.

More than 50 of Haller’s friends and compadres showed up for a pre-game picnic, then watched Haller saluted by some of his best friends and greatest admirers during a pre-game ceremony on the field.

A seat at Shirley Povich field honors the late Keith Haller. Photo courtesy of Bill Bronrott

“Keith Haller was one of the great Big Train fans from day one,” said Bruce Adams, the former Montgomery County Councilman and co-founder of the team, which plays in the Cal Ripken summer collegiate baseball league.

Haller’s connection to Montgomery County civic affairs began during his years as the top aide to former U.S. Rep. Michael Barnes (D) in the 1970’s. From there, he built a polling and communications business – and became an integral part of the community.


Former U.S. Rep. Constance A. Morella (R) told the crowd of some of Haller’s good works – promoting hunger relief and arts programs, creating the World of Montgomery festival and the Best of Montgomery awards. He was also a co-founder of Maryland Matters.

“He had passion and compassion for the county and community,” Morella said.

“He was an idea person – just a fountain of information and ideas,” Adams said.

As he stood on the pitcher’s mound, preparing to watch his grandsons throw out the ceremonial first pitches before the game started – with Haller’s wife Stacy and son Michael nearby – Barnes reflected: “Keith Haller loved Montgomery County and he loved Maryland. And more than anything, I think, he loved baseball.”

P.S. The Big Train beat the D.C. Grays, 9-6.

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Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.


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