In all of his years of playing and coaching baseball, Jack Maguire has never had the kind of challenge he currently has with the Concord Baseball Club.
“Every day, I say I want to teach them the head-first slide,” he said. “They say no.”
The Concord Baseball Club has about 20 members, the number of players who show up varies from week to week, and meets at Emerson Field at noon each Friday. The youngest player is 55. The oldest is 83. That would be Maguire, who pitches batting practice.
“I played for BC High,” Maguire said. “Mostly, I did a lot of coaching.”
Rick Frese, the team’s captain, started the club in 2011 with the help of the Concord Recreation Department, which allowed the club use of the Emerson softball field next to the tennis courts. The club was a revival of the original Concord Baseball Club that started in 1879.
Mostly, when they get together each Friday, it’s for batting practice, with wood bats.
Rick insisted we use wood bats,” said Daniel Donaghue, who is an English professor at Harvard University when he’s not taking a few swings or shagging fly balls.
Most of the men who show up every week played in high school, but not much since then.
“Most of us also played softball,” said Bryan Windmiller. “I also coached my kids when they were younger.”
Even if they don’t have the same power that they had when they were younger, they can usually get the bat on the ball. Other things are a little more challenging.
“I talked about this with everybody, when you’re in the outfield and there’s a pop-up, you realize you lost the ability to track the ball when it’s coming right at you. Also the acceleration. It’s a skill you had when you were younger and you didn’t realize you had until you don’t have it. It takes a while for it to come back.”
“I’d play in the outfield,” said Joel Cowan. “I’d see the ball hit out here and say many years ago, I could catch it.”
Ssid Maguire, “It’s still fun, but it was a lot more fun 10 years ago.”
They all still have a love for the game, however.
“We talk a lot about baseball trivia,” said Jeff Clanon. “Rick knows a lot about the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves.”
The club is always looking for new players. For more information, contact Rick Frese at firstname.lastname@example.org.