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  • Writer's pictureMaine Baseball HOF

Conley, Richard (Sonny) (1995)

Conley, Richard (Sonny) (95)

The early 1940's was a period of talented Portland High School Baseball teams, including three Telegram League title clubs. While only a freshman, Lloyd's diamond skills enabled him to crack the starting lineup of the 1941 P.H.S. Telly champions.

He followed that with two All-Telegram League seasons — as an outfielder (.386) In 1942 and as a pitcher in 1943. Lloyd's coach, the veteran Jimmy Sibson, recalled that "Lloyd had a terrific arm, the best | ever saw.

Boynton's enlistment in the Navy resulted in him missing not only his senior season at P.H.S., but also the opportunity to accept a contract offer from the Brooklyn Dodgers. Lloyd's naval career included him surviving the sinking of his ship by a German U-boat in the Arctic Ocean. His Navy stint also gave him the opportunity to play service ball with many major leaguers: Dick Sisler, Hank Majeski, Hank Sauer, etc.

Following his discharge, Lloyd signed with the St. Louis Browns organization in 1946, playing in the Wisconsin State League. Although illness cut snort his 1946 season in the Oklahoma State League, Boynton was able to finish out the year with the Portland Pilots in the New England League.

in 1949, Lloyd earned league MVP honors while campaigning for St.

Georges de Beauce in the Canadian Laurentian League. After several winning seasons as the Beauce player-coach, Lloyd finished his active playing career with the Thetford Mines team in the Canadian Provincial League.

His baseball experience and knowledge brought him back to the game in 1969 when major league baseball expanded into Canada. He served as an instructor and player evaluator for the Montreal Expos' tryout camps from 1969 through 1971.

since the 1950's, Boynton has resided in Canada. The father of three children and a retired sales representative, Lloyd lives in Sherbrooke, Quebec, where he remains active in golf, hunting, fishing, Dowling and curling.

Sonny Conley is perhaps best recalled in Maine sports lore for his basketball brilliance as the master dribbler, pesky defender and timely scorer as an All-New England guard for Cheverus High's 1948 state Class A champions and N.E. semifinalists.

But the nimble Stag spark-plug — whose Cousy-kin ball-handling wizardry keyed the minute-plus freeze that frustrated Red Barry's first Bangor team in Bill Curran’s club's 35-34 overtime win in the 1948 Class A state title game at the Expo — was to carve out a longer baseball career.

This saga gilded at every stage from grammar school through the Telegram League, then international and local semi-pro play plus military and coaching highlights.

According to his good wife, Reola, baseball was his first and favorite sport and she notes he was involved in diamond pursuits some 30 odd years, starting at South Portland's F.I. Brown school.

Sonny began as a fifth grade second baseman playing with mostly eighth graders. In this tenure, Brown defeated Lincoln Junior for the Greater Portland Championship.

Conley became the Cheverus starting second baseman half-way through his freshman season and remained in the Purple and Gold infield the rest of the way, later shifting to shortstop. As captain in his senior year, Sonny won the Telegram League batting championship with a .400 average and made the All- Telegram team.

immediately enlisting in the Army, Sonny played shortstop for the Strong Fort Bliss post team.

Upon his discharge from the military, Conley returned to campaign several seasons in the prestigious Portland Twilight League and added salient pitching feats to his ample load of credits. His local affiliations included Portland Copper and Eastern Oil.

Sonny's pitching masterpieces: Back-to-back four-hitter wins in a Saturday afternoon sweep of Limington and Scarborough in the Southwestern Maine Semipro tournament semifinals.

As a twi standout, Conley played shortstop for a couple of all-star teams that faced major league touring combines in exhibitions.

Venturing to New Brunswick, Sonny for two seasons was the ace pitcher for the McAdam Legionnaires, his hurling (to classy Portland Bowdoin catcher Bobby Graff) and timely hitting helping the Macs to the 1950 Maritime championship.

Back home came more Twi action and then a coaching stint as the Southern Maine Vocational-Technical Institute's (now SM Tech) first baseball coach.

Ali the while Sonny was also a respected basketball official for 25 years at the high school! and college level.

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