Keeping score a cherished Brown family tradition

Posted May 04, 2009, at 9:48 p.m.

I had the good fortune in the spring of 1969 to be the official scorebook keeper for Bangor High School baseball coach Bob Kelley in his very first year at the outer Broadway school in the Queen City.

Kelley came to the Rams job via the old Fifth Street Junior High School, now called the James Doughty School.

I shared different managerial duties with a young man named Lynn Fleming Jr., who was two years younger than I.

Lynn was a championship gymnast who, like most of us kids, was very fond of the venerable Kelley.

I enjoyed the scorekeeping, and I learned a lot about the game by keeping track of all the ins and the outs of it so coach Kelley could digest it all over his late-night meal of spaghetti and meatballs — his personal favorite.

I’m sure Kelley has quite a collection of scorebooks, and knowing his penchant for detail, I’m guessing that there are a lot of memories for him in those books.

I’ve been thinking a lot about keeping score lately. Fewer things remind me of my late father Doug than a scorebook or a scorecard.

My father loved going to a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston. For him, it was the ultimate getaway. With my mother and his two kids accompanying him, it was the perfect mechanism for retreat from the rowdy battles of business.

Dad had a unique system of scoring all the action. He didn’t care a lick about all the official scoring business. He had his own way of keeping track.

If, for example, a hitter lined one to right field for a hit, he’d pencil in — he always used a golf pencil — the word “single.”

Kelley, of course, had taught us differently, but in Dad’s world, a hit was a single. He didn’t bother with marking runners on base, but he took great pride in being able to figure out his own scrawl long after the game was completed.

After the game was over and we were all snuggled in bed after the long trip home, my father would put that scorecard on my nightstand where I would find it in the morning. I have many fond memories of rereading the events of the previous day.

Back in those days, Chuck Schilling might’ve been 2-for-4 with three RBIs, while Pete Runnels always seemed to have three hits. A guy named Yastrzemski could belt out a home run — Yaz was diligently trying to own up to what Ted Williams used to do — and he always seemed to make a great play in the field.

For Dad, all that scribbled bookkeeping was the highlight of the day for him — that and being with his family — on a hot summer’s day.

Oh, my. I wish I still had all of those scorecards now. What a collection that would have been.

30-Second Time Out

I would be remiss as a longtime basketball coach in this state if I didn’t pause briefly today to acknowledge the illustrious college golf and college basketball coaching career of recently retired Husson University’s Bruce MacGregor, who gave up the golf post last week.

I always thought the University of Maine dropped the ball when it didn’t recruit Bruce to coach the men’s basketball team in Orono.

Arguably one of the best in the country at what he did, MacGregor brought a lot of class to Husson University, and I know I speak for many others when I congratulate him for a job well done.

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