Davis, Eugene (1991)
When baseball fans talk about the coaches of the ‘60's and 70's, they always cite Gene Davis of the South Portland Red Riots as a real classy act. Gene Davis was a teacher-coach of great integrity and exemplary sportsmanship--he produced men as well as ballplayers.
He always recognized that preparation for life was more important that preparation for athletics.
Gene was a four-sport athlete at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln for three years. He lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track in 1941-42. In the 1943 State Class B Track Meet, he placed third in the 440 to help Mattanawcook to its only State Title. His speed he put to use on the diamond with the semi-pro Lincoln Blue Jays in 1943, to May 1946, Gene answered roll-calls for Uncle Sam's Navy during World War Il. Upon his discharge, he returned to baseball as an outfielder with the Lincoln Boys Club and to the classrooms of Hampden Academy where he graduated in 1947. From 1947 to 1952, Gene pastimed with the Hampden VFW in the Waldo County League.
A teaching-coaching career beckoned and Davis tutored baseball at Hermon High School from 1953 to 1958, winning the Central Maine League title in 1956. In 1959, he moved to South Portland to become a baseball and football aide and, in 1965, he was appointed head baseball coach, a job he held until 1973. Gene's Red Riots were always a contending force and his 1968 were repeat titlests and, in 1970 and 1972, the Deering Rams of Freddy Harlow (HOF) took tie-breaking games to deny Davis two more pennants. One of Gene's products was future Major Leaguer and Hall of Famer, Jim Beattie.
Some of Gene's other boys were All-Telly Leaguers Dick Wong, Bob Lapp, Bobby Seymour, Bob Curry, "Chop" Ballard, batting champ Bruce Charles, Steve Brown and Dale Doughty--mention only a few of the fine performers he directed.
From 1967 to 1972, Gene teamed with Leroy Rand, Cape Elizabeth assistant, in handling the Stewart P. Morrill Post American Legion team. Leroy labels these the happiest of his countless summer seasons as the very talented Caper-Riot combines won State Titles in 67 and ‘68, and always were in the thick of Togus tourney battling.
"Gene was an excellent third-base coach, and | always regarded us as a coaching team. He was enthusiastic, optimistic, and a great role model. It was a joy to work with him--seasons I'll always cherish.
Following his coaching days, Gene umpired for three years and was a dedicated "man in blue" respected by players and fellow umps.
Gene has been married to the former Virginia (Ginny) Bridges for 41 years--and Ginny was a wonderful "Mother" for all Gene's baseball boys. Their marriage was blessed with a charming daughter, Sandy.
Welcome to the Hall, Coach! You have always been a Hall of Famer In every respect.