Gleason, John (1993)
Early evidence that John Gleason, Jr. would have a long and productive career in baseball came in 1965.
That year Gleason was captain and most valuable player on the South Portland Junior High School team that won the Greater Portland championship.
At South Portland High, Gleason captained the baseball and basketball teams.
He won the Harrington Award in 1968 as the Riots won the Telegram League Championship.
The Harrington Award is presented to the Telegram League catcher who displays the ability, sportsmanship and character exemplified by Dick Harrington in his long career as catcher and umpire.
As a senior, Gleason was recipient of the E. Lester Blake Memorial Plaque presented annually to the South Portland baseball player who emulates the ability, leadership and competitive qualities demonstrated by the late Riot and Bowdoin College catcher and captain.
Gleason went on to the University of New Hampshire, where he was a four-year member of the varsity and captain of the Wildcats in 1973, his senior year.
He was behind the plate when another Mainer, Pete Dresser, was on the mound.
They formed the battery for two very good Morrill Post American Legion teams.
A fixture in the Twilight League for more than 20 seasons, Gleason contributed his athletic ability and personal resources to help keep the league alive.
Gleason developed a reputation for helping younger players. That trait stems from his personal experience going back to Little League.
As an eight-year-old he sat along on the bench.
As a 12-year-old and a regular, he made it a point to sit with and encourage the younger members of his team. After graduating from UNH, Gleason participated in and sponsored baseball schools for little league and high school students.
Gleason's long career is testimony to his perseverance and personal courage.
He began Catching at age 10 - a scrawny youngster who went behind the plate because no one else wanted to play the position.
As a 40-year-old, he was still at it, throwing out runners, setting up pitching sequences and maintaining his weight at a level only 10 pounds above his college days.
in a position where head-on-collisions at home plate are accepted, Gleason has been remarkable for his durability. He missed the 1973 Twilight League season because of torn ligaments, the result of an injury in his final game at UNH.
He was also restricted for a short period because of a sore arm, but remained in the lineup as a designated hitter.
Always recognized as an outstanding defensive catcher, Gleason was precise in fundamentals.
He had a quick release and thorough Knowledge of opposing hitters.
Playing for six teams, Gleason was a frequent all-star selection.
His long-range objective when he was young was simple: when he was 40 he wanted to be catching in the Twilight League.
the Twilight League was gone - renamed the Northern New England Semi-pro League - but Gleason was still there.
Part of the reason can be attributed to some advice from his father who coached him in Little League. The advice?
He told his son that if he became a Catcher, he would always make the team.
Coaches Corner Booth
John Gleason - UNH Baseball, Portland Icon Podcast .