Griffin, Eddie (1989)
Eddie Griffin has been surrounded and encouraged by Maine Baseball Hall of Famers for 50 years. He rejoins their classy company tonight.
The son of Ireland natives Nora and Edward Griffin, born in Portland on April 3, 1927, little knew what excitement lay ahead when, at the age of five, he crossed the bridge to residence in South Portland. Eddie thought he was leaving the United States. Only the main streets were tarred, and 32 Boothby Ave. wasn’t among them.
From the sixth grade on, Eddie has been on a roller coaster ride in Sports Heaven. His latest “high” is sponsorship of a new team in the revised and upgraded Portland Twilight League now known as the Northern New England Semipro League. He’ll start at the bottom Dut, with typical optimism and enthusiasm, doesn’t think that lowly station will be permanent. At any rate, the game’s the thing for him.
“Griffin Rescues Portland Twilight Baseball League,” a Portland Press Herald headline about 25 years ago, referred to sponsorship of a Twi team so as to complete the schedule after original backer withdrawal. That’s been typical of the Griffin direct action style for almost 40 years.
American Legion team in sponsor trouble? See Eddie. Need a bailout or startup money in any sport? Call the Griffin Club. Few questions asked. ‘Get the uniforms, get going, and Good Luck!”’ It wasn’t that easy for Griffin as a youngster, but he had the good fortune of standout coaches and playmates. His sixth grade team at Frank |. Brown School, coached by Maine Hall of Famer Wayne Roberts and featuring Hall of Famer southpaw Herb Swift Sr., captured area grammar school honors.
Eddie s high school career was a tale of adversity including a bout with rheumatic fever. But he did manage a 2-2 record pitching fora sub-par 4-12 Riot Varsity Squad.
After sparkling outfield roles in 1950 for D.A. Fogg’s Twi Baseball Champions and Home Decorators’ state fast pitch softball titleists, Griffin entered the service. He pitched middle relief and finished up for the Munich, Germany Broncos. ‘The Broncos were the best team I ever played for , declared Griffin. Eddie pitched in 50 of the 75 games. Griffin that year pitched a no-hit, no-run game, and 12 years later for Peaks Island duplicated that feat against Cliff Island.
Promotion, barnstorming, and a passion for all sports have been Griffin's way of life the past quarter century. The late Maine governor Jim Longley said it best “The name of Eddie Griffin is synonymous with athletics and sporting events in The Greater Portland Area.”’
From the Maine Irish Heritage Trail
Perhaps the best-known Irish site in South Portland is the Griffin Club, a restaurant and bar located at 60 Ocean Street, across from the Bridgeway Restaurant. The club originated as the "Dugout," and was situated further up Ocean Street.
Edward M. "Eddie" Griffin (1927-1993) was born in Portland, the son of Edward and Nora Greeley Griffin, Irish immigrants. He graduated from South Portland High School, saw active service in the Army during the Korean War, and was employed for nineteen years with the Canadian National Railroad. In 1966, he purchased the Champ restaurant at 95 Ocean Street which had been in operation since 1936. Eddie renamed it the Dugout Sports Grill and the place became a popular hang-out, especially for sports fans who could often meet famous basketball and baseball players (including many Celtics and Red Sox players) and boxers at the place. Griffin became a well-known sports promoter in Maine.
In 1974, Eddie purchased 60-62 Ocean Street, one half being a restaurant (the Log Cabin Restaurant for many years). Here he operated Eddie Griffin's Dugout and The Griffin Club until his death in January 1993. Griffin had suffered for many months with terminal cancer and the previous fall a "live wake," in which over eight hundred people attended, was held for the man who had done so much for sports in the area. For the next fifteen years his widow Marjorie Pender Griffin operated the club until she sold it to a longtime employee and bartender. Irish and sports memorabilia can still be found within its walls. From circa 1920 until 1942, local Irishmen Lawrence J. McCabe and Edmond W. McLaughlin owned grocery stores at 62 Ocean Street with various business partners.
"Published in the Sun Journal on Jan 22, 1993. Sports promoter Eddie Griffin dead at 65. PORTLAND - Eddie Griffin, a well known Maine sports promoter, has died at age 65. Griffin died Thursday at Maine Medical Center.
Griffin owned The Griffin Club, a South Portland tavern. He funneled thousands of dollars to youth and adult sports teams and sponsored basketball, baseball, bowling, football and softball teams.
He also promoted boxers and boxing shows, including one at Stevens Avenue Armory last month. At The Griffin Club, he served sports celebrities and fans alike."
From Portland Press Herald Posted April 17, 2018
‘Spirits’ remain as South Portland’s former Griffin Club disappears