Orioles induct superfan ‘Mo’ Gaba into team’s hall of fame

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Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini, center, meets with Baltimore sports superfan Mossila “Mo” Gaba before an Orioles game in August 2019. Credit: Dan Kubus/Baltimore Orioles

UPDATE: According to multiple reports, Mossila “Mo” Gaba died hours after the Orioles inducted him into the team’s hall of fame.

Mossila “Mo” Gaba, a 14-year-old Baltimore sports superfan who first came into the limelight through his many calls to the sports radio station 105.7 the Fan, has been inducted into the Baltimore Orioles hall of fame, only the second fan to receive that distinction, the team announced.

The award is named after William G. “Wild Bill” Hagy, a cab driver from Dundalk who held court in the upper deck of Memorial Stadium in the 1970s and 1980s, leading the signature “O-R-I-O-L-E-S” cheer.

Through his regular calls starting in 2015, Gaba won over listeners with his knowledge of the Orioles and Ravens and his sense of humor. Baltimoreans also learned that Gaba, a Glen Burnie resident, had endured many struggles in his young life, including the loss of his eyesight due to a malignant tumor at 9 months old and multiple battles with cancer.

In 2015, the Orioles invited Gaba to FanFest as a special guest, and he got to meet several of his favorite players. The club invited Gaba back for numerous appearances and events over the next several seasons.

During that time, he developed a friendship with outfielder Trey Mancini.

In the midst of a sophomore slump during the 2018 season, Mancini took time at the All-Star break to spend an afternoon with Gaba and his mother, Sonsy, at Dave & Busters.

“At the time, I wasn’t feeling so great about myself,” Mancini told The Sun at the time. “Seeing him and hanging out with him that day, it did put things into perspective and it helps to realize there are so many things in life that are bigger than baseball, too. It kind of makes your struggles seem like absolutely nothing.”

Earlier this year, when he revealed details about his own cancer diagnosis, Mancini recounted how Gaba called him at the hospital because he was worried.

“The 13-year-old kid with cancer calling me to make sure I’m OK?” Mancini wrote at The Players’ Tribune. “It blew me away.”

He later added: “I told Mo I was going to be fine. And then I told him we’d hang out again soon.”

In a statement today, Mancini said there’s no one more deserving of the Wild Bill Hagy Award.

“Throughout his battles with cancer, Mo never lost his kind spirit, his sense of humor, or his love of the Orioles. His tremendous courage and unwavering positivity in the face of such challenging circumstances have made him an inspiration to me and so many others,” he said.

Gaba has also made friends with players at the other end of Russell Street.

In 2019, the Ravens had Gaba announce the fourth-round selection of guard Ben Powers during the NFL Draft–the first time in league history a pick was read from a Braille card. The team invited Gaba out to training camp to meet Powers and other teammates, as well as head coach John Harbaugh.

Most recently, representatives from both teams, including Mancini, Powers, Orioles catcher Austin Wynns, Orioles pitching prospect Bruce Zimmermann and Ravens guard Bradley Bozeman, joined supporters in June for a parade to celebrate Gaba’s graduation from Lindale Middle School.

After learning Mo was battling cancer a fifth time, 105.7 the Fan host Jeremy Conn in June started collecting money to help Gaba and his family, raising thousands of dollars.

Earlier this month, the station brought Gaba on the air to host a four-and-a-half hour program, “The Big Mo Show, with guest appearances by Mancini, Harbaugh, former Ravens Ray Lewis and Derrick Mason, and former Oriole Adam Jones.

“It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of,” Conn told PressBox, “and it’s something I’ll never forget and I’m so happy we got to do it for him.”

Brandon Weigel


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