King, Stephen (2000)
Updated: Mar 22, 2022
He doesn't have Carlton Willey’s fastball, nor Jack Scott’s coaching won loss record, nor Billy Swift's Olympian baseball feats, but Durham native Stephen King is linked strongly in the minds of many to the game of baseball.
King, age 52, made his most visible contribution to the game in 1992 when a baseball facility he underwrote began play in Bangor. The Shawn Trevor Mansfield Complex has hosted thousands of youth and adult baseball games this past decade. A man who takes his hobbies seriously, whether it 1s music or baseball, King saw to it that the 1,500-seat stadium was sodded with genuine bluegrass; real “baseball-field mix” infield dirt hauled in from New Jersey; and drainage tiles every 20 feet throughout the field (rainy weather in the spring can be the cause for shock and horror to Maine baseball coaches and umpires).
King, an avid baseball fan and Boston Red Sox season ticket holder, added another baseball entry to his resume with the publication two years ago of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. The novel about a little girl who got lost in the woods and listened to a game featuring the pitching of the Red Sox reliever got Maine’s best known writer more national acclaim, and helped the game regain some of its polish and prominence lost when the pastime got sucker punched to the gut by the 1994 strike.
King could have written about anything. He wrote about baseball.
King graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in 1970 as an English major. A fledgling career as a part-time student fiction writer blossomed after graduation with the publication of such books as Salem’s Lot, Carrie and The Shining.
King, who lives in Bangor with his wife, Tabitha, also a novelist, has experienced phenomenal success with a string of best-selling books; movies; screenplays; and now internet-related products.
Throughout the course of his life, however, has run baseball. In addition to his role as fan, author and benefactor was perhaps his most memorable stint as Best Supporting Actor — that of Little League Father. Played out on a Bangor stage in the mid to late 1980s, the featured performer in that production was Owen King, then a 12 year old first baseman for the Bangor Little League All Star team that went on to win the Maine State Championship. One of Owen’s teammates on that 1989 team was Matt Kinney, a hard-throwing right-hander who later starred for Bangor High before turning down John Winkin’s scholarship offer at UMaine to sign with the Red Sox. Kinney currently is throwing for the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
Bangor Daily News columnist Ron Brown says King loves baseball as much as Dave Mansfield, whose son Shawn was honored posthumously by the building of the Mansfield Complex. “Few people get as close to Stephen King as David Mansfield, Brown wrote in a BDN column. “Few people know what makes him tick, and few people know the many causes and charities to which King and his wife, Tabitha, have given their money and time over the years.”
“King and Mansfield job together. They go to games together. More important, when it comes to serving Bangor’s youth, they continually plot and scheme to improve present athletic conditions.”
Brown has looked into his crystal ball to ask what would have become of Stephen King had his professional life not taken him to Hollywood, HBO, and the inside pages of Fortune magazine. Brown agrees with Martha McFarland Williams whose father (Packy) and brother (Bo) are in the Hall of Fame, Martha says if you want to understand Stephen King, a UMO classmate and friend, you have to understand he loves baseball.
“if Stephen King had never achieved his literary fame, I have a hunch he would be another Dave Mansfield — a guy in his 40s, a bit of a paunch, constantly wearing a Cap, and sporting a seasonal beard, who simply loves kids and baseball,” Brown says.
Mansfield has agreed to appear at the Hall of Fame induction banquet on behalf of Stephen King, who will be unable to attend due to prior commitments.
How Stephen King’s love of baseball helped generations of young Bangor athletes .
Bangor Daily News By Emily Burnham, BDN Staff • May 2, 2019
"“There was always a bit of a mystique around it being Stephen, sure, but once they got to know him, he was just another of the coaches,” said Mansfield, now 74, who is president of the board of directors for Mansfield Stadium. “I know it was a great experience for the kids, but I think it was just as important for him.”
"Early in 2004, two writers and Red Sox fans, Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King, decided to chronicle the upcoming season, one of the most hotly anticipated in baseball history. They would sit together at Fenway. They would exchange emails. They would write about the games. And, as it happened, they would witness the greatest comeback ever in sports"
“Baseball fiction is hard,” he wrote in the e-mail message. “There’s 25 guys on a major league squad!”
In ‘Blockade Billy,’ King Drifts Back Into Baseball
By RICHARD SANDOMIRJ
" Faithful isn't just about the Red Sox. It's also about family, friendship, and what it truly means to be a baseball fan and to be--well, faithful, come hell or high water" ( The Boston Globe ). "Of all the books that will examine the Boston Red Sox's stunning come-from-behind 2004 ALCS win over the Yankees and subsequent World Series victory, none will have this book's warmth, personality, or depth" ( Publishers Weekly ). Early in 2004, two writers and Red Sox fans, Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King, decided to chronicle the upcoming season, one of the most hotly anticipated in baseball history. They would sit together at Fenway. They would exchange emails. They would write about the games. And, as it happened, they would witness the greatest comeback ever in sports, and the first Red Sox championship in eighty-six years. What began as a Sox-filled summer like any other is now a fan's notes for the ages.
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
Nine-year-old Trisha McFarland strays from the path while she and her recently divorced mother and brother take a hike along a branch of the Appalachian Trail. Lost for days, wandering farther and farther astray, Trisha has only her portable radio for comfort. A huge fan of Tom Gordon, a Boston Red Sox relief pitcher, she listens to baseball games and fantasizes that her hero will save her. Nature isn't her only adversary, though - something dangerous may be tracking Trisha through the dark woods.
Stephen King talks baseball Bangor Daily News 11/9/14 Video
On Baseball netting
"King said he understands why the Red Sox bear responsibility but admitted he can take care of himself and that the nets “steal away the pure joy of being there.” He said the nets make him feel like he’s “paying good money to sit in a cage.”
Click on photo for Bangor Daily News article. "How Stephen King’s love of baseball helped generations of young Bangor athletes"