Clark, Frederick (Ted) (2009)
In 2005, when Lisbon Falls author Jim Baumer dedicated his book When Towns Had Teams, “To Ted Clark, who epitomized town team baseball,” it shined a light on the career of a man who personified “the glory of their time,” the heyday of town team baseball in Maine.
Frederick “Ted” Clark was reknowned as a three-sport star at Stephens High School in Rumford, graduating in 1947 and moving on to play basketball and baseball at Farmington State Teachers College, while hooking up with Cash Clark’s semi-pro Farmington Flyers in the summer of 1949. It was during that season that Clark’s reputation as a prodigious home-run hitter began to take hold as the lefty slugger belted 20 round-trippers well beyond Hippach Field’s friendly right field porch.
Clark entered the Air Force in 1950 and played service ball all over Europe. He caught the eye of pro scouts and signed a minor-league contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, playing one year with their Class D affiliate in Georgia.
Returning to Farmington in 1956, Clark resumed his basketball and baseball career, graduated in 1958, and took a teaching and coaching position at Newport High School. Ted moved on to Dexter High School in 1962, embarking on a 21-year teaching and coaching career at that school.
While at Dexter, Ted taught history and coached football (Assistant), basketball, and baseball. He coached the Tigers’ baseball team from 1963 up until his retirement in 1983, winning three straight Eastern Maine titles from 1970-72. In 1972 Clark was the Maine State Coaches Association Coach of the Year.
Ted also found time to extend his playing career as he caught on with the Guilford Advertisers in the Central Valley League, later the Penquis League, and enjoyed several productive years with teammates Loren Ritchie, Dave Gaw, and Dick Barstow. It became a common occurrence for Clark to launch baseballs not only over the fence at Guilford’s home field but into the Piscataquis River, located just down the bank beyond right field.
“The Advertisers were a veritable murderer’s row,” writes Baumer in his book. “With hitters like Clark, Gaw, Ritchie, Barstow and Tim Rowe, it wasn’t unusual for the team to hit two or three homers a game. In 1968, the Advertisers clouted 52 home runs in their 38 games, led by Ritchie’s 11.”
After the Advertisers won the State YABC tournament in 1968, several players moved on and the team gradually disbanded. For that one shining moment capturing a six to eight year span in the 1960’s, Guilford was emblematic of the fusion of local pride and talented ballplayers, elevating a small hamlet of 1,000 into a formidable town team force in northern Maine. Ted Clark was part of the glory days in Guilford and it was a fitting end to his playing career.
Ted was inducted into the University of Maine at Farmington’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996.
In 2003, the Town of Dexter dedicated the town’s baseball field in his honor.
Ted passed away in 2005. He is survived by two daughters, DeeDee Killilea who resides in North Carolina, and Margaret Veazie of Dexter. Both women have enjoyed successful coaching careers in field hockey and basketball and attribute a large measure of that success to their dad. Says DeeDee: “He was a wonderful father and role model. The success my sister and I have had is because of him. He taught us so much through life and playing baseball. He took us to baseball games all over the state to get us out of the house and give my mother some peace and quiet. Anyone who ever met Ted Clark knew there was something special about him.”
The Maine Baseball Hall of Fame is honored to open its doors to the quintessential town team ballplayer. Just like a mighty blast into the Piscataquis River, Ted Clark has hit yet one more home run.