Meader, John C. (Johnny) (1997)
A three-sport late-bloomer at Portland High School in the WWI years, Johnny Meader was most closely identified with baseball thereafter as he left his mark -- every inch the flaming competitor on many a college and semi-pro diamond in the Northeast and Canada.
This true Bulldog was the All-Telegram shortstop for Portland's league contenders in 1944; solid in all phases of defense and offense, far-ranging afield with a sure glove and accurate arm, knew his way around the bases, one way or another.
An early introduction to the renowned Portland Twilight League in 1943 -- between his junior and senior years at PHS -- saw Johnny help the “Y” Mariners to that circuits championship.
After two years of Navy service, 1944-46, Meader enrolled at Portland Junior College and played three seasons for that institution's classy aggregation of former schoolboy baseball standouts.
Along with stints in a Canadian league (St. George de Beauce) and for the Guilford (Maine) Town Team under the management of Maine BHOF 1974 inductee Phil Clark, Johnny got in some telling licks in the Portland Twi and Downeast leagues.
The epic Meader achievement came in 1948 when he not only won the Twilight loop’s batting championship but also the Most Valuable Player award as shortstop for the Yudy’s Tires entry, league champions (company owner Yudy Elowitch, 1982 MBHoF inductee, the second baseman).
Meader’s all-round prowess gained him a baseball scholarship at the University of Maine in 1950, but Johnny opted instead to accept a basketball scholarship at American International College In Springfield, Mass., where he also extended his baseball career.
The summer of 1950 also saw Meader move over to the other side of the keystone as second baseman for the talented Portland Pilots, successors to the Forest City’s entry in the recently-folded Class B New England League.
The Pilots of legendary catcher-manager Freddy Harlow, 19/4 MBHOF inductee, won the Downeast League championship.
That fast circuit included the Augusta Millionaires (including future Red Sox stars Harry Agganis and Ted Lepcio); the Auburn Asas formed by Bernal Allen and managed by Chick Leahey, 1979 and 1982 MBHOF inductees, respectively, the Farmington Flyers and the Kennebunkport Collegians.
Meader would likely have had a longer baseball career, but as Johnny tells it, “A doctor in Springfleld, Mass., found a heart murmur and believed it was time for me to give up strenuous sports and officiating.” Having settled in West Springfield with wife Margaret, whom he met in his A.C.|. term, Meader worked 34 years for Sears Roebuck, recently retiring as head of the home appliance division.
The Meader’s raised three children and moved back to Maine to be near their grandchildren. They now reside at Higgins Beach, Scarborough, where they vacationed every summer.