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He was single and probably 30. Little League Majors. Springfield VA. I was 10 and big for my age. I'm still big for my age btw. 2 10 year olds could be on each team. The draft had pitching, running, and hitting. Pitching I was wild but I threw slow. Running I was the slowest of everyone. Really. Hitting: we got ten pitches. I swung at the first 9 and missed every one of them.  Then I hit the tenth one out and that was enough for him. He told my dad he thought I was projectable, though I don't think that word was in the baseball lexicon in 1966. Maybe "had potential?" I would play for him for three years. I struck out every time I was up that first year, probably once a game cuz of LL rules. He said just keep swinging. I did get better, not a lot but I wasn't a disaster by the time I was 12.

He looked like Clark Kent but a lot shorter. Same glasses though.  He chose the Tigers for our team name because we got to wear imitation major league caps and he liked the way the D looked.  He told us he didn't care if we bent the bills of our caps, which was all the rage in Springfield little league that year.  Some kids bent their bills into Ms and some into upside down Vs.  I left mine alone and he said "I like what you did with your cap."  

He wore white V-neck t-shirts to practice.  My mom wasn't thrilled by that but she liked him otherwise.

He was great.

I was ionized but I'm okay now... Buckaroo Banzai

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Always had a cigar in one hand and a Budweiser in the other.

Reminds me of my Red Shield football coach in 6th grade. But his was a cig and a National Bo.

He wasn't the head coach, but a club official of some sort who helped out whatever team was practicing, but there was a vet who had lost most of his arm in Korea. We all loved it when he hit fly balls, partly because he was good at it, but mostly because we were in awe of his ability to reach for a ball, toss it, grab the bat stuck under his stump, swing back, and send the ball into orbit.

When I played LL players had to make teams. The league was 10-12yos with a handful of players who were good enough at nine years old . I was one of them.

My coach was about thirty. He had pitched in the Cubs organization. He was an anti Semite. He didn’t know I was Jewish until Passover. Someone told him I wasn’t there because I had to go to synagogue.

He always pitched BP. From that day forward he hit me every BP. We didn’t have mandatory play. I very played little except for one at bat against the biggest most challenging, hard throwing 12yos. I struck out every time up. I had six or seven at bats in eighteen games.

I had been told by my parents not to tell anyone I was Jewish. It could only make things worse. I got my playing time in all the pickup games we played day after day in the summer. The guy didn’t return when I was ten.

What I got from that season is don’t ever let a coach you don’t like run you out of a game you love. Just toughen up and take it. Life will get better.

Last edited by RJM

13 first year out of LL, first year Dad not coaching would have been 1981. There was a tree beyond the fence in right field it was maybe 500 or so feet from home plate. Mental errors, lack attention, stupid kid horseplay immediately resulted in going to see named the tree Charlie!! He expected full dead sprint immediately from the location you currently were standing at. Didn't matter if you were in Right field or 3rd base you best be up and moving ASAP. And if he wasn't happy with the sprint you got to do it again. The man was prick tyrant but also one hell of a baseball coach, I was probably lucky to have even though i hated him every moment I was around him, which was 13 to 15u. He was a D3 college baseball coach and very successful one in the spring. Ended up being AD at the school and has a field named after him.

I had the good fortune this past summer to reconnect with my HS basketball coach. I hadn't spoken to him literally in 30 years. As we caught up with each other i told him he was the most influential figure in my professional life outside of my father. He was stunned, the man was Social Studies teacher who used to have a TV reserved for his classroom for Thursday and Friday of NCAA tourney hoops and would issues passes to Varsity basketball athletes he liked to visit. It was a right of passage to get the pass...he asked how why. I told him i learned what and how it is to be a part of team / family from him, I wasn't a star in hoops, i did the little nasty stuff and was happy to get 10 minutes a night to do it while giving a real player a breather. But I never doubted my value or worth to the team and he created an environment where we would have killed if he needed us to.

I have used that to build employee loyalty and buyin...certainly not to the same level but the process is similar and commitment to the team is the same, the money part gives me a little extra ability to stroke the guys i need to! Ultimately they are about the same and both have treated me well.

Interesting thread Smoke.

Don't remember much at 8 years old (3rd grade), probably because there wasn't much to remember.   My parents had moved from New England to Toledo, OH as my Dad got a promotion.   We would move back to New England when I was 10 years old when he got promoted again....praise the Lord!  I don't recall my parents coming to many of my games as I could ride my bike to the field and I had two younger brothers.

1) When we won the League championship (still have the 1970 plaque in the attic for some reason) I remember the Coach taking us to Dairy Queen.  I had a banana split. This is probably my foremost memory of my first coach at 8 years old.

2) I wanted to catch but the coach wouldn't let me practice or play behind the plate.  The coaches son was the catcher.  Back in those days, coaches put the chubby kid behind the plate.  He fit the catcher profile of the Bad News Bears or Sandlot movie character actors.

3) I was number 9 because I played right field until they discovered I could throw the ball well and pitch better than most of my teammates.

4) Or I was number 9 because I batted 9th.  At that age, I couldn't hit probably because I couldn't swing the bat.  I'd figure it out a couple years later.

You can always count on Smoke for a nostalgic topic. I played Little League in Oklahoma City in the 60s. Our team was the Windsor Hills Astronauts. I honestly don’t remember one thing about my first coach - or any of my Little League coaches for that matter. My memories are more of a teammate named Clint Sanderson. Clint lived on the same street as we did and we were together all the time, especially during the summer. We both threw very hard for our age and we were the only players who could safely play catch with each other. So I caught when Clint pitched and he caught when I pitched. We were best friends and were both super competitive. If I wasn’t happy with Clint’s effort during a game I would throw the ball back to him harder than he pitched it. And he would do the same to me. On a couple of occasions it resulted in one (or both) of us in tears. It was one of those first best friendships where we each thought our job was to push the other as only kids can do.  But the other teams players couldn’t hit us so we won all the time. In 2019, when I was up in Oklahoma all the time watching my son play, I decided to see if I could find Clint. I even drove thru the old neighborhood. I was able to find an article about his career as a rescue helicopter pilot and I thought that was pretty cool.

My first Little League team (early 70's) could have been the Bad News Bears.  The manager was a friend's dad who was a super nice guy, meaning he let kids do whatever we wanted and had fun after-game get togethers.  He always had a cigar in his mouth.  The assistant coach would drink a six pack before practice and just stood around, never saying or doing anything.

We actually had pitching rules, 6 innings per week.  So a team with 2 decent pitchers could each pitch complete games every week and win the league.  One trophy was given out at the end of the year to the winner of the league, Imagine that.

I also remember we had Ron Bloomberg as a guest speaker at our year-end league banquet.  He was a pretty big deal since he was a Yankee and we were in NJ.  He was also the first-ever DH in MLB.  It was really cool having him there until he announced he was leaving the banquet with 30 kids waiting in line for an autograph... it seems they only paid him to stay until 8:00pm so he left.  Not cool to do to a bunch of kids.

Played LL in Cambridge, MA in the early '70s.  Strongest memory is of the heavy flannel uniform that gave me a terrible rash.  The coaches played to win.  Just about every night after the game was over all the coaches from the league (and the umpires) would drink beer in the parking lot and play 8 tracks in the car stereos.  The year end banquet was the social event of the season, standing room only every year.  The champions got nice trophies and no one else was mentioned.

I couldn't tell you what year it was that I played for him or even how old I was at the time, but I vividly remember the effect that he had on calming me down and letting me know that everything was gonna be OK when I was about 25 and my dad was having open heart surgery the next day.  Pure coincidence that him, his wife and a their grand daughters were walking into the grocery store that I stopped at on my way home from the hospital that night.  I saw them walking in when I was pulling into the parking lot, once inside I saw them down another aisle and called out to them a few times but didn't get a response, finally called out "coach" and he turned around.  We talked for just a few minutes, all while one of his grand daughters was pulling on his shirt wanting to know who I was.  Still amazed at the calming effect that conversation had on me a decade or more later.

I also remember damn near crying like a baby a his funeral a few years later.  Probably had the biggest impact on me outside of relatives and one of the big reasons that I got into coaching.

Ok, so my very first coach?  We moved from Kentucky to the general area I live in now.  I was 10.  I didn't have a ball glove and dad found one in the trash.  It was for a left-handed thrower.  The local recreation director heard about my brother and I and asked us to sign up.  We did and I was placed on his son's team.  It was terrible.  They had not won a game and there were only 2 games left in the season.  He told me I didn't know how to wear my glove.  LOL  I explained to him that I was right-handed.  He asked me what position I played and I told him pitch and catch.  I didn't know the names of positions.  He started me as a catcher since they supplied the catcher's mitt.  We lost but I did pretty well.   Then, comes that last game and I am the pitcher.  I had never pitched before but I could throw really hard.  I hit a player in the first inning in the ribs and he was crying as he took 1st base.  From that point on, no one wanted to step into the box.  We won!  That single game made me a hot commodity for next year's player draft.  This coach was also young and not married.  I think he was still in high school.  This was the only year he coached and I think it was because his dad made him coach the team.  He was a good guy and actually came to watch most of us play when we got into high school.  Oh, when we won that last game, I remember a lot of parents giving him money for the treat after the game.  It was a big deal.  We got candy AND a snowcone. 

My first coach, I was 10, had moved to the USA from Pakistan when he was a teenager. He was a huge Pirates fan, every summer until I was 13, he would take his son and I to a Pirates game. To this day, Manny Sanguillen is still one of my favorite players. He helped to grow my love for baseball. The biggest impact was that he didn’t cut me from the team at tryouts. I was cut when I was 8 and 9 (remember them days old timers), he stuck with me and by the time I was 12, I became a starter at 2nd and never looked back.

I was probably 7 or 8 and had a college kid coaching the team.  I thought he hung the moon because he was in college and surely must know baseball.  I guess we were typical little kids who didnt pay attention and talked to much. His favorite saying was "Hey!  Silence is golden so shut up and get rich..."  Maybe that explains why I am still working and not yet retired.  Also had a high school football coach who told a kid that wanted to quit the team - "You cant quit, Ill quit ya!"  Oh the good ol' days of coachisms...

When I was a kid you found out whether or not you made summer teams in the newspaper. You found out if you made school teams on the hallway public bulletin board. There were a lot of painful facial expressions in the school hallway on cut days. I remember sitting on the steps waiting for the afternoon paper to find out if I made LL.

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