DEXTER - Baseball has been called America's national pastime. Whether that is still true is fodder for debate. Yet over 50 years ago, there was no doubt which sport captured the imaginations of most Americans, and in particular, the sports fans of Maine. While the professional game has always had passionate fans, in the Pine Tree State, town team and semi-pro baseball was followed with an interest and fervor that many today would find hard to believe.
In towns like Dexter, Dover-Foxcroft and Guilford, teams competed for local bragging rights in leagues like the Penquis League and others. The Guilford Advertisers provided the area baseball fans with topnotch teams thoughout much of the 1960s and in 1968, won the Maine Yankee Amateur Baseball Congress tournament, at Auburn's Pettengill Park. This earned them the right to play in the national regional tournament, held in Albany, New York. The Advertisers were led by the late Ted Clark, longtime baseball coach at Dexter High, as well as Loren Ritchie of Greenville and Dave Gaw, of Guilford, to name but a few of their stalwarts.
Author Jim Baumer, who travelled around the state, interviewing 40 different former players, coaches, umpires and others, has captured a special segment of Maine's rich historical past. Come meet Baumer as he shares stories and anecdotes about local teams, as well as some of the other legendary baseball from around the Pine Tree State. He'll be visiting Dexter's Abbott Memorial Library on Wednesday, April 12th, at 6:30 pm. This is a talk worth hearing for anyone who remembers town team baseball and who has an appreciation of small town life from days gone by.
Signed copies of When Towns Had Teams will be available for purchase after Baumer's talk. The unique book will take readers back to the days when semi-pro and town team baseball was king. Representing the towns, teams, and players who made this period special and unique, it is must reading for anyone who loves Maine, baseball, and the heritage of this truly special time from our past.
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