Crawford, Richard (Rick) (2014)
Rick began his baseball journey in Little League 2 in Portland Me. He is the son of George and the late Lorraine Crawford. With his older brother Joe and younger brother James they covered the playgrounds and Portland parks playing baseball almost every day in the summer. By the time Rick reached high school he had a reputation as a steady middle infielder and consistent hitter.
At Portland High Rick settled in as the starting second baseman. He was named captain of the varsity team in his senior year. Like so many before and after him, Rick holds coach Edson Hadlock in the highest regard. In his senior year, Rick batted .322, scored a league high 22 runs, 8 stolen bases, and made 71 out of 76 chances in the field. For his efforts Rick was named the 2nd baseman on the 1969 All-Telegram team. He also received the Robert Tanner Memorial Award as the Team MVP.
Rick decided to go to the University of Maine at Presque Isle to pursue a degree in physical education and athletic administration. The baseball coach at UMPI was Peter Storey. It did not take Rick long to establish himself as a solid college Div. 3 player. In his first college game, he had 4 hits including 2 triples and 7 RBI’s. He was the MVP of the team each of his first 3 years at school. Showing his leadership ability at a young age, Rick was named captain of the team each of his last 3 years at the college. Despite being tucked in northern Maine, his talents were noticed through -out New England. Rick was a first-team selection on the All- Northeast All-Star team his sophomore and junior years in school. A season ending injury sidelined Rick for most of his senior year,
After graduation Rick began his professional career in Calais Maine. He was a physical education teacher as well as the varsity cross country coach, JV boys basketball and varsity baseball coach. In his 4 years as Cross Country coach, Calais went 65-9 as well as the 1975 Eastern Maine Regional champions.
His two year record as JV basketball coach was 34-2. When the varsity basketball coach stepped down right before the 1975 season, Rick took the reins as head coach. In his one year as varsity coach he led Calais to 18-0 record and the number one seed in the Eastern Maine class B tourney. Despite an early loss to Hampton, he led the boys to an incredible year. All this set the tone for the1976 baseball season. This team had a tremendous record. They only lost one game all year. On a June day in 1976, Calais won their only State Class C Baseball Championship. They beat Massabesic 10-6. This was the crowning achievement for this small Maine town. Six times since, they made the state championship game only to fall a little short. Rick left Calais the next year for Brunswick. In only 4 years, Rick left a wonderful legacy for other coaches to follow.
In 1970 Rick began his playing career in the Portland Twilight league. He was the starting third baseman for the Falmouth Townies. It did not take him long before he was batting fourth in the line-up. He played under Dick Loubier for two years. In 1971 Rick led them to a 5-2 record in the talent laden Labor Day Tournament. In 1972 Rick played for Yudy’s Tire. He became a steady player on a very talented team. In 1973, Rick placed fifth in the league batting .391. In 1974 Rick played for Haverty Buick. He led the league in hitting at .481 with a league high 38 hits in 79 at bats. He scored 29 runs, 5 doubles, 3 home runs, and 27 RBI’s. He also had 13 stolen bases, 52 total bases, and .658 slugging percentage. At the time, the league was extremely competitive. Included in the top ten batters were future Hall of Famers, Ron Butland, Tony DiBiase, George Ferguson, Frank Davis, John Mullen and Dennis Libbey. In 1975 Rick played for the Maine Merchants under Ziggy Gillespie. He batted .341. with 30 hits in 88 at bats. He also had 13 stolen bases and 21 RBI’s. That same year brother Joe Crawford, a mainstay for many years in the league batted ,329 with 5 home runs and 19 RBI’s. Rick continued his fine play for another 7 years. In 1980 he hit 4 home runs in one game, all off Hall of Famer Steve Conley. A feet matched only on a few other occasions in this era of the league. Carroll Rines stated, “ Rick Crawford was known for his consistency and fine play.” In high school, college, and the Portland Twilight league, he showed tremendous ability, great character, and a hard work ethic to achieve all the accomplishments in his life.
Rick was the Athletic Director of Brunswick high school for many years. His experience helped lead the school to many athletic accomplishments through several decades. He did coach baseball for Brunswick Jr. High, was the assistant coach at Bowdoin College and most recently at Mount Ararat Middle School. Rick lives in Topsham Me. with his wife Michele, and has a son Michael and a daughter Chelsea. From his many years as an educator and coach, Rick has affected so many lives in a positive way. The Maine Baseball Hall of Fame is fortunate to have him as a member.