BANGOR, Maine — A committee that includes the mayors of Bangor and Brewer, ex-Maine governor John Baldacci and former University of Maine College World Series Most Valuable Player Joe Ferris are taking steps to bring the Boston Red Sox World Series trophy to Bangor again.
The trophy made its way to Bangor after the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and 2007. It also visited Presque Isle in 2004, and that city also wants a chance to view the new trophy.
The Red Sox won their third World Series title in 10 years Wednesday night when they beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in game six at Fenway Park in Boston.
Bangor Mayor Nelson Durgin and Brewer Mayor Kevin O’Connell signed an invitation to the Red Sox on Thursday to bring the trophy to the new Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The invitation was drawn up by Tanya Emery, business development director for the city of Bangor, after a committee meeting where some members wore fake beards, following the Red Sox model for team bonding.
The other members of the committee included Emery, radio personality Dale Duff, Irv Marsters and Thomas “Skip” Chappelle.
The committee is also looking into holding a fundraising luncheon or dinner and possibly a parade if they can attract a coach or players.
Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield is an Orono native who lives in Standish, and shortstop-third baseman Xander Bogaerts played in the Senior League World Series for his Aruba team in 2009 in Bangor.
“Our goal right now is to get the Red Sox to acknowledge that they want to bring it here,” said Durgin. “This is a big deal. There is a lot of enthusiasm especially after they clinched it at home for the first time since Babe Ruth played for them in 1918.”
“Hopefully, they’ll want to showcase the trophy to the people who support them. Fenway Park is near and dear to our hearts,” said O’Connell, who has a picture of his son Kyle tagging out Bogaerts during that 2009 Senior League World Series.
Kyle O’Connell was the second baseman on the Brewer team that played in that series.
“Our goal is to get the trophy here and then work on the other things,” said Chappelle referring to the dinner, luncheon and/or parade. “We’d have a controlled showing of the trophy for baseball-related people like coaches and players, and then we would have a public showing so all fans can see it and hopefully get some pictures taken with it.”
Chappelle said he and the other committee members have moved expeditiously to send the invitation to the Red Sox.
“Hopefully it will happen. Maybe we’ll get it the same day they bring it to Portland. The big thing is the timing,” said Chappelle. “We wanted to get involved in this right away and push the right buttons to get it up here. You’ve got to be prepared. Things can move fast. We have no feel for when we could get it.”
Durgin said they would have to coordinate it with the availability of the Cross Insurance Center.
Chappelle said another ally who could help them land the trophy along with coaches and players is Red Sox part owner Phil Morse. Phil and his wife Susan (Keene) are 1964 University of Maine graduates who have donated over $4 million to the university for improvements to the Alfond Stadium and Morse Field on the Orono campus.
Following the 2007 World Series, the trophy was brought to Bangor and Orono. It was on display at the University of Maine’s Alfond Arena and at WZON-AM’s annual Hot Stove Night at the Bangor Civic Center in January 2008.
In 2004, it was on display at the Bangor Civic Center, and it also made stops in Portland, Bethel, Presque Isle, Lewiston and Newry.
Presque Isle City Manager Jim Bennett prepared to send an invitation to the Red Sox to bring it back to Presque Isle.
“It’s a long shot that … any members of the team will come up,” Bennett said Thursday morning. “When I [worked] in Lewiston, we sent a letter when they won [the 2004 World Series] and asked the team to make an appearance, and they ended up sending the trophy.”
A long shot it may be, but Bennett and northern Maine residents of an extended Red Sox Nation do have good reason to be optimistic.
“Over the last two times [the Red Sox] won, the team and the trophy have gone to larger communities and state capitals,” Bennett said. “I am sure that tradition will continue, but I think it would be really nice for them to consider going to some of the other parts of Maine including [Aroostook] County where we really appreciate the team and would show them a good time.”
Bennett also has a personal interest in that World Series trophy, as Ginny Tardiff, 99, the lifelong Sox fan featured on the front page of Tuesday’s BDN is Bennett’s grandmother by marriage.
“I think she is pretty excited this morning,” Bennett said. “We opted not to call her last night [because] we figured she had other family members there with her watching the game.”
Knowing that his grandmother-in-law finally was able to see her beloved Sox win a championship at home made this year’s series victory all the sweeter, Bennett said.
“Fenway is just such a special place,” he said. “I’ve seen many games there, [and] it may not be the fanciest or the most luxurious park, but it’s probably the coziest and the one that makes you feel like you belong there, [and] that you are among friends.”
Gov. Paul LePage also congratulated the Red Sox for winning the title.
“I am so proud of the Red Sox and the effort they put into this series,” said LePage in a news release. “Not only did they play hard and come back after some tough losses, but they finished “Boston Strong.” After the tragedy in Boston earlier this year, the Sox really wanted to deliver for their city. They deserved this win and, even better, fans in Boston and all of New England deserve it too.”
BDN writer Julia Bayly contributed to this report.