Heddericq, Charles W. (1981)
CHARLIE HEDDERICG The euphemism “You’re too small to play’ was a constantly repeated enemy to the ears of Charlie Heddericg. Nonetheless, with determination and courage as allies, Heddericg not only played sports, but he excelled in them, particularly baseball.
His lack of size first came into prominence at Whitman (Mass.) High, his hometown, when as a 112-pounder he starred as a catcher in baseball and as a quarterback in football. Graduating in 1925, the 118-pound Heddericg tuned up a year at Maine Central Institute before entering Colby College.
There his career blossomed. A beaming 130-pounder, Heddericg quickly made freshman baseball, football and hockey teams, captaining the baseball team in his senior year, just as he had done at MCI and in high school. An excellent receiver, he could wield the bat too, his collegiate career average being .280.
So boisterous was this recently selected Maine Baseball! Hall of Famer behind the plate, talking the ears off of batters, pitchers and umpires in rapid fire, that he acquired the nickname of “Chattering Charlie.”” However, the little fire-brand was always popular and lovable to teammates and foes.
The only time his size was a handicap occurred when impressed major league clubs still refused him a tryout. ‘“Maybe | would have fooled them too,” he said at the time.
Although he played with many semipro and professional (not major league) teams, Heddericg’s real claim to fame was at Brewer High, where he carved out a baseball legacy, even though he never won a state title. His teams were drilled in fundamentals and had to play seven days a week.
“When | was a kid we played all day long in the street, on vacant lots, anywhere we could,” the 76-year-old now living in Brewer said, his love for the game still fueled as he scouts around for his favorite team—the Boston Red Sox in an unofficial capacity.
Brewer High School Hall of Fame
Charlie Heddericg taught Civics and History at Brewer High School from 1944 to 1971. As his teaching career commenced at Brewer, he also coached baseball, basketball and football. Although he coached three sports, Heddericg was best known as Brewer’s long term baseball coach of twenty seven years. Whether on the field or in Civics class, Heddericg had a tremendous impact upon thousands of kids!
Charlie Heddericg grew up in Whitman, Massachusetts where he starred as a football player and as a catcher in baseball. After graduating from Whitman HS, he attended Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield, Maine for two years where he continued to play football and baseball. He then went on to Colby College where he was a standout catcher for four years on the varsity baseball team and captained the team his senior year. While at Colby, Heddericg also played freshman basketball as well as freshman and varsity hockey. It was at Colby that his “peppery, talkative style” earned him his nickname “Chatterbox Charlie”. During his college summers and for several years after graduating Colby in 1930, Heddericg was a player and often player-manager on a number of semi-pro baseball teams throughout New England including a two-year stint playing professionally. Heddericg earned a Master’s Degree from Bridgewater State Teachers’ College in Massachusetts which then launched a long career in education beginning in 1942.
Some say it was only his physical size, a mere 130 lbs., that kept him from making it in the big leagues. Although small in stature, Charlie Heddericg had a very, big heart. His passion for baseball was infectious. His accomplishments as a player, coach and scout were numerous; but, his love of the game transcended all. Coach Heddericg liked to play as many games as possible so to give more boys the opportunity to play. To Heddericg, baseball was a game “from the heart.” Won-lost records, statistics and championships were not of foremost importance to him. Playing the game the right way every day was foremost. Learning the fundamentals and the finer points of the game as well as having fun were the staples of his philosophy. In his second year at the helm of Brewer High School Varsity Baseball, Heddericg coached his team to a Northern Division Penobscot Valley Conference title in 1945.
Heddericg was also a “Bird Dog Scout” for the Boston Red Sox from 1944 until he passed away in 1990. As a “bird dog” scout, he analyzed players and submitted reports on them to the player development office. With an intense desire to see Maine players in the major leagues, he was responsible for countless prospects getting a shot in Boston. For all those years he kept an eye on the high school, college and American Legion players, he never got paid by the Red Sox. He did, however, concede to accepting used Red Sox equipment which he doled out in droves to the youth in the area. Larry Mahoney of the Bangor Daily News wrote, “Baseball is and always has been Charlie’s first love. He has been like the Santa Claus of baseball. Charlie might have been rich if he had not given away so much money to kids he met at ballgames. It also is impossible to count the number of baseballs, bats, uniforms and equipment signed by Red Sox players that he gave away for many, many years upon returning from spring training in Florida.”
Charlie Heddericg was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981. The Brewer High School District Trustees voted on August 3, 1987 to name Brewer’s new baseball field the Charles Heddericg Baseball Field.