Rev. Maurice Vincent Goan began playing baseball when he was knee-high to a bottle of birch beer and although he didn’t grow much bigger — becoming the smallest player to ever win a Telegram League batting title in 1925 — he was reputed to be a splendid centerfielder at bat and in the field.
Described by sportswriters as being “Willie Keeler at bat’’ and “Tris Speaker in the outfield,” Father Goan had a 1925 season where he carried his Catholic (now Cheverus) High School team on his back. Nicknamed “Mossy, though no moss could ever gather on this speedy rolling stone, he batted .577 that year, had a .827 total base average, didn’t make an error and stole nine bases.
lt was the kind of season that comes along as often as Haley's Comet, like say Carl Yastrzemski’s miracle year of 1967. Another noteworthy fact was that Father Goan never committed an error-in his high school career, and could pitch when called on, though that was infrequently.
He also played college ball, sparkling there too, for Holy Cross College. And later toiled in the Railroad League and played some semi-pro contests for the Westbrook All-Stars.
He not only was a crafty student of the game, but of the books too. He went overseas to Belgium’s Louvain University for further education, returning in 1933.
He was indeed ‘a man for all seasons.” Father Goan, versed in all baseball fundamentals, is a living example that big physical stature in sports plays second fiddle to heart and desire.