Austin Herb (2003)
Herbie Austin was born in East Wilton, ME in 1928. While growing up, he played a variety of sports but he enjoyed playing baseball the most. His family moved to Kittery after he completed grammar school so that his father could work at the Naval Shipyard.
Austin competed in basketball, track and, of course, baseball for the Traip Academy Rangers.The Ranger baseball squads he played on won the York County Championship in 1944-45 and then won the Seaboard League Championship in 1947.Austin pitched his team to 40 wins during those years and he roamed the outfield when he wasn’t on the mound. In addition, he batted .357 during his high school career.
After graduation, he went back to his hometown where he played for the Wilton Loggers of the old Timber League. Here he teamed with Hall of Famer Burt “Lefty” Vinal. The two hurlers were largely responsible for pitching their team to the 1948 New England Amateur Championship. They defeated Connecticut in a best-of-three series played in Farmington and the right-handed Austin baffled the out-of State batters.
That same year, the squad qualified and competed in the American Baseball Congress Tournament in Battle Creek, MI.Austin’s play in the Midwest tourney earned him a spot on the tournament all-star team He pitched 19 and two-thirds innings in the four games at Battle Creek.
Austin’s arm earned him a tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals, but his diminutive height of 5’7” and less than bulky weight of 135 pounds was not quite what the scouts were looking for at that time.
Still he managed to impress on the striking out all of the hitters he faced during the tryout.
His pitching repertoire included a sneaky fastball,an underhand curve and a knuckleball.
He continued to play in the Timber League where he was a perennial all-star, thanks to his pitching and his bat Chis average was always well over .500).
He lived in Cape Neddick from 1980-2000 before moving back to Wilton for good three years ago. Like many former ballplayers, Austin now spends a great deal of time on the golf course and he also enjoys his other lifelong passions - hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and travel.
He’s been married to the former Jackie Baker of Wilton for more than 50 years and they have four children — Paula, Susan, Michael and Mark. The Austins have nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren, and they just moved into a new home across from the sixth green at the Wilson Lake Country Club in Wilton