The rich heritage of grassroots baseball in Maine includes numerous benefactors whose generosity of spirit and checkbook was instrumental in the development of organized youth leagues and town teams throughout the state.
Bud Cook has long been acknowledged as such a figure in the Farmington area. With his induction today into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, the well-deserved recognition becomes official.
A 1944 graduate of Wilton Academy, Bud served in the Infantry and Army Air Corps in World War II. Bud later attended Southeast Missouri State where he played football and spent his college summers past-timing with semipro town teams in Cape Girardo and Perryville, Missouri.
Bud and his family returned to Farmington in 1952 and Bud began his 32 year career at Morton Motor Company, eventually buying the firm in 1970.
Bud quickly recognized the abundance of young ballplayers in Farmington, not all of whom were getting a chance to play, and founded the Farmington Pirates, only the second youth league team in Farmington. Bud built a powerhouse ball club, playing against teams from Strong, Temple, Jay, Livermore and Wilton, while developing a fierce cross-town rivalry with the Braves.
Bud led a group of town fathers in constructing and equipping the first regulation little league field in Farmington.
Counting Little League, Pony and Babe Ruth Leagues, Bud served as head coach or assistant for 15 years in addition to two terms as commissioner of Little League baseball in Franklin County.
In 1972 Bud rejuvenated the dormant Farmington Flyers, a legendary town team from the 50’s and 60’s. Bud recruited Warren “Red” Dean, who was the varsity baseball coach at the Farmington High School, and Roy Gordon, head coach at the University of Maine at Farmington, to spearhead a talented ball club that won 32 straight games en route to a Pine Tree League Championship. Icing on that memorable cake were two other Cooks on the roster - Bud’s sons Randy, a catcher, and Brad, the right fielder.
Bud’s commitment to promoting and supporting baseball in the Farmington area is complemented by an outstanding career in public citizenry including membership in Maine Masonic Lodge #20 A.F. & A.M., the Kora Temple Shrine in Lewiston and American Legion Post 28 in Farmington. He is a Charter member of the Farmington Kiwanis Club and a past King Lion. Bud also devotes countless hours of volunteering at Franklin Memorial Hospital.
While the record of Bud’s service to the Maine baseball community is impressive enough, his more enduring legacy may be his ardent support of well-qualified but under-recognized ballplayers from Franklin County. Thanks to Bud’s diligent research and dogged advocacy, the doors of the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame have welcomed numerous deserving inductees from Franklin County.
Those boys will no doubt make him feel right at home.