Former Sox Manager Joe Morgan Delivers Keynote

Auburn Little League held its annual banquet last night at the Auburn-Webster Elks in Auburn.  About 130 people gathered to honor the 2013 Auburn Little League championship and All Star teams as well as Sportsmen of the Year recipients.  Special Guest speaker Joe Morgan shared some advice and anecdotes from his baseball days.

After opening remarks, league president Dave Nordman announced the Sportsmen of the Year recipients for each division.  Players are nominated by their coaches and then selected by the league members for Sportsman of the Year honors.  Recipients for 2013 were Owen Fitzgerald in AAA (8-12 year olds); Rick Therrien Jr., in Majors (9-12 year olds); Nick Bartoli in Intermediate (11-13 year olds); and David Nelson in the Junior Division (13-14 year olds).

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David Nelson, Nick Bartoli, Owen Fitzgerald and Rick Therrien Jr. receive Sportsmen of the Year awards.

 

Joe Morgan then stepped to the podium to address the crowd.  Morgan, Red Sox manager from 1988-1991 and a former major league player, orchestrated the “Morgan Magic” run to the American League East championship in 1988.  When an audience member asked Morgan what it was about that ’88 team that led to the turnaround, he replied dryly “It’s probably just because I was a terrific manager.”

Morgan talked a bit about major league baseball today. “Pitchers today are so much better than they were twenty, thirty years ago.  You hit .300 today, You’re really doing something.”  Responding to a question about the Red Sox post season batting woes, Morgan reiterated “Like I said, these guys are so good.  They’re facing the best pitchers on one of the best teams in baseball.”

Morgan went on to say that Dustin Pedroia was the best fielding second baseman he has ever seen.  “Me and Theo [Epstein, former Red Sox General Manager] were the only ones who said Pedroia would be a big leaguer.  Everyone else said he was too short, he swung too big.  He showed them all wrong.

Another attendee asked who was Morgan’s favorite player when he managed.  Morgan’s answer? “I liked them all.  They made me a fortune.  I don’t say anything bad about any of those guys, they put a lot of money in my pocket!”

Imparting some advice to the young baseball players in the room, Morgan did not offer any magic.  “Swing a bat every day.  Throw a ball every day. You have to work really hard.”

Following Morgan’s entertaining keynote talk, several Little League teams were honored for their 2013 achievements.

Trophies were awarded to the AAA and Major League division champions.  The Junior League and Major League All Star teams received trophies and jackets.  Tee shirts were handed out to all the 12 year old players ‘graduating’ from Little League (Major Division) and moving to Junior League.  Also, 16 year ‘graduates’ received shirts.

Finally, trohies and jackets were awarded to Auburn’s Intermediate All Star team, which represented Massachusetts at the East Regionals in Commack, New York.  Team Manager Nick Hammond described the experience as “a trip of a lifetime for these kids.” Upon earning the berth at Regionals, the team needed to raise $6,000 to make the trip.  “These kids raised $13,000 in a little over two weeks.  It was incredible.” said Hammond.

The Intermediate All Star team roster was: Nick Bartoli, Mike Robichaud, Nick Kamyck,, Matt Bregman, Elijah Olacio, Coleson Hammond, Colin Lutz, Tyler Lavallee, Cam Ganong, Anthony Miranda, David Nelson, Joe Walsh, Brendan Coomey, and manager Nick Hammond.