Baum, Raymond (2007)
An outstanding player, coach, and academic mentor, Ray Baum is Rumford’s 2007 contribution to the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame.
A catcher at Lisbon Falls High School, Baum was his team’s captain in 1926. The following year he attended Kent’s Hill Seminary and caught for their baseball team. From 1928-1930 he captained the squad at Bay Path Institute in Springfield, MA. During his final year there he was offered the opportunity to join a Cleveland Indians farm club, but opted instead to complete his secondary education in order to keep a financial commitment he had made to his father.
Baum spent a decade playing summer semi-pro ball in the Pine Tree League. He spent five seasons each with the Lisbon Falls Lemons (1927-31) and the Lewiston/Auburn Buccaneers (1932-36), and later managed both the Rumford Papermakers and the Augusta Loggers.
While he enjoyed success as a player, his greatest impact was as a developer of young men through his teaching and coaching. He served two terms as coach of Stephens High School in Rumford, from 1932-45 and again from 1950-56, winning a state championship during each of his stints. In 1937 Stephens edged Cony 1-0 in a preliminary game, defeated defending champion Livermore Falls 7-5 in the semi-finals, and dominated Winslow in the championship game, 10-1. Seventeen years later Coach Baum led Stephens High to the school’s second Maine state title, beating Cheverus (7-6), Thornton Academy (3-0), and Stearns (5-4) en route.
Ray Baum passed away on January 2, 1986, but is anything but forgotten by the legions of people he influenced through his coaching and 41 years of teaching at Stephens High. Testimony to Baum’s lasting influence comes from former UMaine head football coach Walt Abbott, now an associate professor at the university who played for the 1954 state championship team. “He was a mentor for all who played for him. Many of his players continued their baseball careers as players and as coaches,” says Abbott, who has spent more than half a century working in athletics. “Coach Baum was one of the reasons that I have devoted my life to sport. Coach did not just emphasize baseball. He molded us into men, always stressing the value of proper social behavior. He encouraged us to take pride in our academic work. With his mentoring he helped shaped the lives of those who played for him.”
Ray Baum led by his gentlemanly example and continually focused on teaching the fundamentals of baseball. His players could always expect positive reinforcement and encouragement. His legacy as a teacher and coach made him a respected icon in Rumford.
Ray Baum was the beloved husband of Stella Politis Baum (deceased), and the proud father of Raymond Jr., Beverly, and Edward. His life was blessed with 8 grandchildren, and many more great grandchildren.