Parquette, Mike (2019)
Michael William Parquette was born in Augusta, Maine in 1948. His mother, Mary Fisher and father Alonzo “Bill” Parquette were from Fort Fairfield and Augusta, respectively. Growing up in Augusta, Mike has fond memories of his early childhood days, playing pick-up baseball at Williams School, two blocks from his house. Playing catch with his father and local pick-up games were daily events. “The local pick-up games would last until the street lights came on. Broken bats were held together with wood screws and black adhesive tape,” Mike recalls.
He had early success in baseball when in 1960 he was selected as the starting catcher for the Augusta East Little League All-Star team. The team won the Maine state championship against Portland and ultimately ended up one game short of an appearance in the Little League World Series.
Mike went on to attend Cony High School in Augusta, where he was the starting catcher. At Cony, he was named team captain and MVP and was also named to the Hearst All-New England team.
The Baltimore Orioles pursued Mike following his graduation from Cony. However, Mike opted to continue his education and play collegiate ball at Thomas College. While at Thomas, Mike was chosen as the baseball team’s MVP during his Junior and Senior years. He was also listed in the 1972 publication Outstanding College Athletes of America.
With degree in hand, Mike joined the working world at Central Maine Power Company where he excelled for over 40 years in the electric industry. Despite working full-time, his love of baseball persisted and he found his way to the wacky world of umpiring. When Mike went into umpiring he simply had to trade in his catcher’s mitt for a small plate brush and indicator.
Mike was asked why he decided to continue wearing the “tools of ignorance,” when moving from baseball player to umpire. “Growing up, baseball was an important part of my life and working behind the plate was very gratifying. Once I graduated from college and entered the work force, I decided that umpiring was the closest thing to staying involved in a game I so much loved, at the same time remaining competitive and staying in shape.
Mike took on that challenge and became one of the most consistent plate umpires in Maine. He worked hard at his new venture, catching the eyes of coaches and scouts. His consistency of calls, overall hustle, and calm demeanor helped him rapidly move up the umpiring ladder. The legendary baseball coach from the University of Maine, John Winkin, once stated that “Mike was the best umpire in the state.”
As an umpire, Mike was a member of the Kennebec and Somerset Umpire Associations, the College Baseball Umpire Association (CBUA), the Eastern College Athletic Association (ECAC), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Word spread fast about this highly talented and respected young umpire. He was selected as an alternate for the Maine Guides (AAA for the Cleveland Indians) from 1984 to 1988. He also served as alternate for the AA Portland Sea Dogs from 1994 to 2010, where he would fill-in whenever a member of the regular umpiring crew was missing for a game.
Ray Valliere Sr., of Manchester, NH, a life-long friend who worked many events with Mike, was the Umpire-in-Chief (UIC) for both the USAB and IBA. He called Mike, “One of finest young umpires that I ever met and worked with. When Mike walked onto a baseball field, you could just tell that the game was in good hands. I used to call him the 3-C umpire — ‘Cool, calm, and collected’.”
Mike’s national career continued to flourish. He made four appearances in the American Legion World Series - 1988 at Middleton, CT; 1989 at Millington, TN; 1990 Corvallis, OR; 1998 Las Vegas, NV.
From 1992 to 1998, Mike worked in 6 NCAA Division 1 regionals — 1992 Central Regionals, Austin, TX; 1993 Mideast Regionals, Knoxville, TN; 1994 Central Regionals, Austin, TX; 1995 Midwest Regionals, Knoxville, TN; 1996 South Regionals, Baton Rouge, LA; 1998 Atlantic 11 Regionals, Tallahassee, FL.
Following the 1996 regionals at Louisiana State University (LSU) the tournament director, Ted Stickles, stated in a personal letter to Mike, “I enjoyed the chance to meet you and watch you work, and I hope maybe you can get back to Baton Rouge in the near future for another tournament. Thanks for doing a great job.”
In 2001, Mike was selected as the crew chief for the NCAA Division III world series in Appleton, WI. Next came four appearances in the National Athletic Interscholastic Association (NAIA) World Series held in Lewiston, ID (2002-2005).
Along with his vast national and international assignments, Mike worked numerous Maine state high school and American Legion tournaments, giving back to the sport that he loved.
When the tall and talented umpire decided to swap his catcher’s equipment for a small brush plate and indicator he never realized how far this avocation would take him. When asked about his enjoyment of umpiring he said, “Unequivocally, umpiring filled the void associated with not playing the game - the camaraderie with other officials, the love of the game, and the desire to stay connected and give back to the sport. Every game presented the challenge of calling a good game - the mental challenge of knowing the rules and always striving to improve. I enjoyed and miss umpiring.”
In closing, Mike expressed his feelings on being inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame: “For many years, my eyesight was questioned, my hearing was questioned, and even my ancestry was questioned. But with the help of many great friends who encouraged me to continue with my umpiring, this honor has made all those questions worthwhile. I am deeply honored that the selection committee found my umpiring accomplishments and contributions to the Maine baseball community deserving of election to the class of 2019. To be listed among the best in Maine is both gratifying and humbling.”
Today, Mike spends most of his free time with his son Mark, daughter Kacey, and grandson Oliver. In addition to his hobbies of hunting, working out and traveling; Mike spends the winters in Florida with his significant other of 20 years, Mary Nickerson.