The Baltimore Orioles announced July 28 that beloved Orioles superfan Mossila “Mo” Gaba has been elected to the Orioles Hall of Fame as the second-ever recipient of The Wild Billy Hagy Award.
Mo, a resident of Glen Burnie, Md., began calling in to 105.7 The Fan’s sports programming in 2015 at the age of nine. Unbeknownst to his mother, he would call in on afternoons when he got home from school to share his unparalleled knowledge of Baltimore sports with local fans and radio listeners. Despite losing his eyesight due to a malignant tumor when he was just nine months old, and enduring four different battles with cancer throughout his life, Mo’s infectious laughter and enthusiasm quickly captured the hearts of local sports fans, making him a Baltimore celebrity and a household name.
As just the second-ever recipient of The Wild Bill Hagy Award, the Orioles honor Mo as one of the most passionate and devoted fans in franchise history. The award, which was established in 2007 following the passing of William G. “Wild Bill” Hagy, expanded the Orioles Hall of Fame to include fans who have inspired others with their devotion to the team, and demonstrated an exceptional commitment in support of the Orioles. Appropriately, Hagy, who rooted for the club year in and year out, was named the first recipient of the award in 2008.
Mo’s celebrity status has grown tremendously since 2015, and he regularly makes appearances at Orioles games and events. Mo was invited as a special guest at Orioles FanFest in 2015, where he was able to meet some of his favorite Orioles, including infielder Chris Davis. He has since attended a collection of notable Orioles games, including in 2017, when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch as part of Kids’ Opening Day, and in 2019, when his “Play Ball!” call on Kids’ Opening Day officially marked the start of a new season. After inspiring countless fans and Baltimoreans with his positivity, PressBox recognized Mo as the 2019 Sportsperson of the Year.
As his involvement with the Orioles grew, so did Mo’s relationships with the players, most notably Orioles infielder/outfielder Trey Mancini. The two met for the first time in 2017, beginning an extraordinary friendship. During a challenging season in 2018, Mancini spent time with Mo during the All-Star Break, which he credits as helping him break out of his slump in the second half of the season. When Mancini rebounded with a remarkable 2019 season and was the Most Valuable Oriole, Mo was in attendance for the ceremony to surprise his friend.
“There is no one more deserving of this incredible honor than Mo. 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,” shared Mancini. “It is fitting that Mo will now have a place in the Orioles Hall of Fame alongside some of the most iconic figures in franchise history, and for him to be honored as the recipient of the Wild Billy Hagy Award is truly special. I could not be happier for my friend, Mo, and his mother, Sonsy.”
Mo, who is also beloved by the Baltimore Ravens, made history last year when he became the first person to announce an NFL Draft pick read from a Braille draft card. Mo announced the selection of Ben Powers from the University of Oklahoma with the Ravens’ fourth-round pick (No. 123 overall) in the 2019 NFL Draft.
In June of 2020, Mancini and Powers, along with Orioles catcher Austin Wynns, pitching prospect Bruce Zimmermann, representatives from the Orioles and Ravens, and hundreds of friends, family, and supporters attended a special parade to celebrate Mo’s eighth grade graduation from Lindale Middle School. Some of those same friends also called in to speak with Mo as he hosted “The Big Mo Show” with Jeremy Conn on 105.7 The Fan in early July, fulfilling one of his lifelong dreams to host his own sports radio talk show. Dozens of Baltimore sports celebrities, both past and present, as well as scores of fans called in to spend a few minutes chatting with Mo.
Mo’s positive energy has been constant throughout every battle and continues to bring the entire city of Baltimore together in the face of ongoing crisis. His unwavering positivity and kindness are qualities every Baltimorean aspires to emulate. Mo Gaba has impacted more people in his 14 years than most people do in an entire lifetime, and the Orioles are honored to forever celebrate him as a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame. A complete list of Orioles Hall of Fame members can be found at Orioles.com/hof.
Given the unusual circumstances of the 2020 season, additional details about Mo’s formal induction will be announced at a later date.
— Baltimore Orioles press release
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles