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Augusta Babe Ruth

In 1957, Dick McGuire, Sam Laflin, Lloyd Pilsbury, Owen Marble, Fred Morton, and other members of the Army Maine National Guard felt there was a need for a baseball program for young people in the greater Augusta area. Little League had been established for youth in ages ranging from 8-12 but there was no baseball program for young people 13 and over except American Legion and players ages 13, 14, and 15 generally were not mature enough to compete with Legion players who were generally much older. Due to the efforts of the aforementioned individuals, the Augusta National Guard Babe Ruth League was formed. Four teams of 13–15-year-olds participated in this inaugural season.

Team sponsors were Fiore Cadillac, The Elks, Ft. Western Tire Company, and Pulp & Sulphite Local 57. The following year, the league obtained a charter from Babe Ruth Baseball and became an official part of that program. Sam Laflin was named the first president and other prominent members were Dick McGuire, Fred Morton, Lloyd Pilsbury, and Walter Golden. Many of the coaches were National Guard officers and/or enlisted personnel. Games were played at Capitol Park and Williams Field.

The league entered All-Star play its first year and captured the Maine State Championship, advancing to the Eastern Regionals where they were eliminated 2-0 by Connecticut. For many years, the National Guard funded the Babe Ruth league and provided housing for visiting teams when necessary and transportation for all-star teams competing in Maine and out of state. The Armory Committee of the Maine Army National Guard ran Beano on Thursday nights and held dances at the Armory for years. People of my generation recall the Jack DiJohn Trio which performed at many of the dances. Money from these events helped to fund the Babe Ruth league along with sponsor fees, registrations, and tag days.

From its humble beginning in 1958, the league expanded to include teams from the surrounding area including Hallowell, Gardiner, Farmingdale, Windsor, China, Vassalboro, Pittston, Randolph, Whitefield, Palermo, Sidney, and Richmond. The driving force behind the development and expansion of the league was Dick McGuire, a well-known sports enthusiast and longtime baseball and football official.

Dick was president of Augusta Babe Ruth for many years and went on to become State Commissioner. Dick was well known in Babe Ruth circles at the state, regional, and national levels and was very instrumental in getting two regional Babe Ruth tournaments held in Augusta. The first regional held here in 1974 was played at Capitol Park. The Eastern regional at that time included Puerto Rico which drew a lot of attention because of their ability which seemed to be a little above the majority of the other teams that competed. The second regional was held at McGuire and Morton fields in 1983 and Dick and Joe Linscott were co-chairs of that event.

Shortly after both baseball fields were completed in 1979 and 1980, they were unnamed and referred to as the Babe Ruth fields. I felt it would be appropriate to name one field after Dick McGuire in recognition of his many years serving the youth of the greater Augusta area and particularly his involvement with Babe Ruth baseball. As a member of the Board of Directors, I made a motion to name the primary field Dick McGuire field. All members were in full agreement and a dedication was held at the site in July of 1980. I am sure Dick was touched by this recognition and it gave all of us who had associated with Dick over the years a good feeling to do this while Dick was living.

Dick remained active in Babe Ruth right up to the time of his death. Knowing that Dick was seriously ill, the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Dick in a special ceremony which was held at the Augusta State Armory. Gary Burns was instrumental in bringing this off as Dick would not have lived long enough to be inducted in the regular ceremony held in July. Many people attended the induction ceremony at the Armory, and it was a fitting tribute to one that had given so much of himself to others.

Fred Morton was not as well known in Babe Ruth circles as Dick McGuire but to those he associated with he was considered a great guy and commanded a great deal of respect. Fred was one of the original founders of the Augusta Babe Ruth league and served as player agent for many years. Fred was in declining health when the induction ceremony was held but I am sure it meant a lot to him, his family, and his National Guard comrades.

Augusta Babe Ruth Presidents

Sam Laflin
Dick McGuire
Joe Linscott
Dana Winslow
Ken Bridges
Don Santerre
Garry Markoff
Mark Yerrick
Al Cloutier
Gary Duncklee
Laurie Clarke

Team Sponsors

  • DAMONS
  • DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS
  • ON-TARGET
  • UNITED PENTECOSTAL CHURCH
  • NATANIS
  • BOWIE BROS-WELL DRILLING
  • Mc DONALD- PAGE
  • AMERICAN AWARDS
  • BRADY PALMER REAL ESTATE
  • SENATOR INN
  • DENNIS PIZZA
  • POST #2
  • S&M RADIATOR
  • GRANTS
  • MR. MARKET
  • FT. WESTERN TIRE
  • PULLEN BROS.
  • PULP& SULFITE
  • MSEA
  • L&M
  • FIORE CADILLAC
  • HALL-DALE
  • GOSLINE-MURCHIE
  • TOWN OF CHINA
  • TOWN OF WINDSOR