Scoreboard honoring Dylan Newman unveiled at Southold High School

The brief, remarkable life of Dylan Newman was celebrated Thursday at Southold High School, where a new scoreboard at the baseball field was dedicated to a native son who left an indelible mark on everyone who knew him — and many that never met him.

 Alternating between tears and laughter, Dylan’s father, Todd, gave what he called his “hall of fame speech” — which, in message and spirit, echoed Lou Gehrig’s “luckiest man on the face of the Earth,” farewell address at Yankee Stadium in 1939.

Mr. Newman said Thursday’s ceremony was a celebration.

“At his funeral, I said … ‘I will mourn you today and I will celebrate you the rest of my life,” Mr. Newman said. “Today is one of those days.”

Standing beneath the new scoreboard on the edge of left field, Mr. Newman said “this speech is like a hall of fame speech to me, because Dylan deserved to be in three Hall of Fames.”

Dylan deserves to be “in the Southold Hall of Fame, for what he did to get on that field every day,” Mr. Newman said. “Not a lot of people know, but between the chemo … no one here really realized what it took for that kid to get out of his car to come play on this field.”


Next up, the Baseball Hall of Fame.  “He should be in it just because he loved that game more than anyone I knew in my life. He loved the game of baseball,” Mr Newman said.

“The next one is the human Hall of Fame,” Mr. Newman continued, fighting back tears,  “because he was an incredible person. He never, ever said a bad thing about anybody.”

Pausing, he leaned into the microphone to add, “He’s not his father,” and then laughed along with the crowd.

Even so, interviews with Dylan’s friends and family suggest he is very much his father’s son.  

Dylan’s mother, Tanya Newman, barely skipped a beat when asked about the roots of her son’s resilience.

“Him,” she said, pointing at her husband. “Dylan was on SoHo TV with the school, and he called [his Dad] his hero.”

For years, the Newmans have vacationed with Tony and Nancy Maaiki of Riverhead, whose son Evan was one of Dylan’s close friends growing up in Southold.

Asked where Dylan’s courage and determination came from, Ms. Maaiki said, “Todd. He is the strongest, most stubborn person I’ve ever met. He makes things happen.”

Her husband agreed.

“There’s no impossible in his book,” Mr. Maaiki said. “He’ll try and try and try until he gets it done.”


Halfway through his eighth-grade baseball season, Dylan’s persistent hip pain led to a diagnosis of Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. He endured radiation and chemotherapy sessions and in the summer of 2018 underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his pelvis and fibula.

By that fall, he had completed a 53-week chemotherapy regimen and was in remission. He had missed his freshman season due to treatment and his sophomore season to COVID-19, but he returned to baseball in the spring of 2021.

Mr. Newman said Dylan’s quiet determination to play ball stunned even his doctors.

“He’d walk to practice after having chemo, and then puke at home. I don’t like harping on it, but what he did to play baseball? No one does that, going through what he was going through.”

Dylan and his parents never discussed the possibility of his death, the couple said after the ceremony.

“He never gave up, ever. I wouldn’t let him and he didn’t want to,” Mr. Newman said. “We never, ever talked about death. Never, ever, ever, ever, because it wasn’t happening. We wouldn’t let it happen.”

Mr. Newman said the process of getting the existing scoreboard moved to a nearby junior varsity field so Dylan’s new scoreboard could overlook the varsity diamond was a daunting task that required all kinds of help.

He thanked his friends and neighbors and local businesses that turned out to offer their services, including “Jeff Standish, Mark Schill,  Roman Wilinski, Bobby Corrazzini, Tate Klipstein – ‘cause he was there mixing that concrete, Charlie Manwaring, … there’s Tap from Tap’s Iron Works, he’s amazing. He said ‘just tell me where and I’ll be there.’  The concrete crew — Wayne Miller … Tom Sheeran for the conduit to get the electric to the other side. Bob for doing the electric, Chris Meyer …”

After the ceremony, Mr. Newman, who works for the county, and Ms. Newman, a Riverhead Police Dept. dispatcher, said their son had set his sights on SUNY Oneonta, where he planned to room with his friend Brendan Duffy and play college baseball. 

“I said, ‘What do you want to do after that? He said, ‘Dad, I want to be a social worker at Sloan,’ Mr. Newman said, referring to cancer care hospital Memorial Sloan-Kettering. I said ‘Why do you want to go back to Sloan, you spent so much time there?’ He said, ‘Dad, if I can help someone get through what I went through, then I’ll be alright.’ He is the kindest human I’ve ever met in my life.”

The idea for the scoreboard came from Randy Frankel, co-owner of the Tampa Bay Rays and a South Fork resident who owns several vineyards on the North Fork. Mr. Frankel and his wife donated the scoreboard through their Randy and Barbara Ann Frankel Foundation. Last fall, Mr. Frankel also donated $25,000 to start the Dylan Newman Forever 5 foundation, which he matched on Thursday with a second check for the same amount. The foundation provides scholarship money to local high school seniors and financial aid to families with children battling cancer.

In an interview after the ceremony, Mr. Frankel said he first learned about Dylan’s plight from a news article.

“There was an article online that someone brought to my attention and that’s when I started digging into [Dylan’s story]. It was just something that kept me intrigued, and kept me going and following it, and I just wanted to get involved,” Mr. Frankel said.

Late last fall, Mr. and Ms. Newman met with Mr. Frankel at his Rose Hill winery. They spent hours together, sharing Dylan’s story, and later visited the baseball field together.

“You know, if this is Dylan’s home,” Mr. Frankel recalled saying to the grieving couple, “why don’t we get a spot for him to watch every game, and bring some luck?”

On the spot, Mr. Frankel said, he “challenged [Mr. Newman] to make this happen.” He estimated that it was about two months after they had buried Dylan.

“And that’s when I knew this guy could be in my foxhole anytime, because he was going to get it done,” Mr. Frankel told the crowd. “Here we are today — it happened.”

Mr. and Ms. Maaiki said that Dylan’s drive amazed them.

“As bad as he was at the end, after chemo or surgery, he’d still come over,” Mr. Maaiki said.

“The last time he was at our house he wanted to make it down to the basement for some reason. And we couldn’t figure it out.”

Ms. Maaiki picked up the story.

“And by that time he wasn’t walking so well. But he was determined to get to the basement.”

Mr. Maaiki said they eventually learned why.

“He wanted to see Evan’s baseball cards.”

Last week, Mr. Maaiki, whose son Evan goes to Oneonta, joined Mr. Newman on a visit there to see Evan and Brendan Duffy, who had planned to room with Dylan.  

In his final season last spring, Dylan played 11 games, finishing with a .333 batting average, .500 on-base percentage and 10 RBIs.