BREWER, Maine — There is one local athlete against whom all others are measured, and that is former Brewer High School star Danny Coombs.
“Our city has never really honored him,” City Councilor Joseph Ferris, who sits on the bicentennial committee, said at the council meeting Tuesday, when Coombs was recognized as a notable Brewer athlete.
After graduating in 1960 from Brewer High, where he was a star baseball and basketball player, Coombs jumped onto “the last train out of Bangor,” Ferris said. He went to Seton Hall University and then into the major leagues, signing with the Houston Colt 45’s, now known as the Houston Astros.
His baseball career, which also included time with the San Diego Padres, lasted nine years. After retiring from baseball in 1971, Coombs went on to become a high school teacher and coach for 28 years in Texas.
“He started his long career right here in Brewer,” Councilor Arthur “Archie” Verow said.
Coombs, now 70, has been named Brewer’s Bicentennial Athlete, and a banquet will be held Aug. 18 as a tribute to him. With the honor, Coombs will have his number, 21, retired at Brewer High School for baseball and basketball, Ferris said.
The event is part of several activities and events being held during the year to celebrate the city’s 200th birthday.
Councilors also thanked Nicole Gogan, Brewer’s economic development specialist, and Gibran Graham, executive director of the city’s bicentennial committee, for their efforts coordinating the recent bicentennial golf tournament, which netted nearly $9,500.
A portion of the funds, $2,500, was presented to the Maine Military Foundation on Tuesday for its “work of preserving the long history of Maine’s infantry,” as well as supporting current soldiers and the creation of a “Fallen Heroes” conference room to honor those lost in battle, Mayor Jerry Goss said.
“We do plan to do it again next year,” Goss said of the golf tournament
Three Maine Military Foundation board members — Army veteran Charles “Dusty” Fisher, a troop greeter who served in the Maine Legislature, Donna Sorkin and John L. Brooks, a Maine Army National Guard first sergeant who formerly was with Brewer’s 172nd Mountain Infantry — accepted the funds.
After the check passing, Graham gave a short presentation about upcoming bicentennial events, which include Living History Day on Aug. 18, with the Acadia Frontiersmen and representatives from Leonard’s Mills, a living history museum in Bradley; Brewer Days, Sept. 8-9, and the Sept. 15 River Celebration/Paddle Brewer, with the Penobscot River Keepers offering an all-day paddle event on 10-man canoes.
Doors open to the bicentennial banquet to honor Coombs at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, at Schooner’s. Tickets are $40, and those interested in attending must RSVP to Ferris at 989-8506 or firstname.lastname@example.org by Aug. 15.
During Tuesday’s meeting, councilors also:
• Honored Mary Lynne Hunter, who recently retired as the city assessor, for her 26 years of service to the city.
• Endorsed a new three-year contract for firefighters that gives them a 3 percent raise the first year but no increases for years two and three.
• Took ownership of the old Brewer Middle School and State Street School under Brewer Redevelopment LLC.
• Appointed Ben Birch as the interim city assessor.
• Authorized $1.1 million in bonds for upgrades to the city’s water plant. Water Superintendent Rodney Butler said that even though “we have a great source” of water, the project is mandated.
“We have to install a second treatment and we chose [ultraviolet],” he said.
Correction: An early version of this story requires correction. Brewer's economic development specialist is Nicole Gogan, not Gerber.