Nutter, Bob (2014)
Bob Nutter grew up in Portland, Maine, attending Deering High School and then the University of Southern Maine. Bob now resides in Kennebunk with his wife Kathy and his two boys James and Rob. He has been employed by Liberty Mutual of Dover, New Hampshire for the last 19 years.
Bob captained the Deering Rams and was named team MVP during both his junior and senior years. He was an All-State 2nd Team selection in 1971 and added All-Telegram League 1st Team honors in that same year, compiling 6 wins on the mound and hitting .345. He was instrumental in Ralph D. Caldwell Post’s state legion championship in 1970 and was named to the All- Tourney team.
From 1977-1979 Bob attended the University of Southern Maine where he compiled a career batting average of .377. While at USM, Bob received several honors including All-NAIA district first team as a shortstop and All-Maine first team as a first baseman. Bob continued playing baseball for ten plus seasons in the Portland Twilight League earning MVP in 1978.
Bob Nutter was a Jack of All Trades---and the Master of a few as well. During his playing days at Deering High School, Caldwell Post American Legion, University of Southern Maine, and the Portland Twilight League, the right-handed power hitter had two unique claims to fame. First was his versatility, it being widely acknowledged that over his career, he started a meaningful game at all nine positions. “The guy could play anywhere,” Phil Martin, Scarborough High Coach of 33 years, said this spring upon hearing of his former assistant coach, and former Twilight League adversary being selected for induction into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame. “There were games in the Twilight League where I swear he could play a couple infield positions, play some outfield, and also either pitch or catch, in the same game. That is pretty rare. Most guys don’t want to do that—or can’t,” said Martin. Hall of Famer Martin later hired Nutter in the 1980s to be his assistant coach at SHS.
The second arrow in Nutter’s baseball quiver was great and uncanny timing. “Nobody in 25+ years in the Twilight League was a better player in the 8th or 9th inning than Nutter,” said HOF catcher John Gleason. “Man, it was just incredible. Time after time, he just got the job done. I never played with anybody else who could perform like that.”
Husky Athletic Director Al Bean said Nutter was one of the players who helped establish a strong USM baseball tradition. Bean said it was fitting that Nutter go into the Hall of Fame since he and teammate Ed Flaherty had so much in common. “Bobby and Eddie certainly made their mark as great baseball guys at Deering (High) and USM. He was a good one while he was here at the university.”
Phil Martin said Nutter was that rare person who could not only play the game of baseball but who could also coach it. Nutter was assistant coach for Martin in 1986 when Martin skippered the Redskins to a State Class B baseball title. “Bobby had a nice touch with the kids,” Martin remembered, praising Nutter’s tact and grace. “He was always coming up with suggestions that made a lot of sense. He knew the personnel well. He was a really funny guy, a joy to coach with.”
Bob also coached under Ed Flaherty for Caldwell Post and later became head coach at Massabesic High School for three years until business obligations prevented him from continuing in that role at the school. Bob then moved on to summer ball, organizing Kennebunk’s entry into American Legion play and joined with Kevin Philbrick in coaching the club for nine seasons, leading them to three state tournaments.
Dan Warren, General Manager of Libby-Mitchell Post 76 in Scarborough, said Nutter made a mark on Legion Ball. “He wanted his sons and other Kennebunk kids to have a great Legion experience,” Warren said. “He thought having their own team was the only way to go about it. He put the team together, raised the money, bought the uniforms and equipment, and coached it. Everybody liked him and respected him. He was a guy who wanted to get something done---so he just went out and did it.”
Perhaps Nutter’s crowning achievement in local baseball was as a parent. His son James was struggling with a personal issue that affected his ability to play both at the high school, and later, college level at USM. When James finally acknowledged publicly that he was gay, Dad Bob Nutter moved strongly into his corner. “These issues can be hard on families because it involves change,” Warren said. “But Bobby was very impressive. Letting his son know he was there for him, and answering questions that some people in Legion ball had when they asked how he was doing. As much as any hard line drive he hit for Caldwell Post when playing at Deering Oaks, I will remember Bob as a compassionate human being and an exemplary father.”