Paterson, Ed (2015)
“Baseball is a metaphor for life. It is timeless, never perfect, but always aspires to perfection. And when it is done right, it is beautiful.” But a good pitch is sometimes wrong and a bad pitch is sometimes good, a line drive is sometimes and out and a blooper or dribbler is sometimes a hit, it follows no rules only trends and is always cyclical. From lyrics by the musical rock group, Dire Straits(The Bug), “Sometimes you’re the Louisville Slugger, Sometimes you’re the Ball!” What else can you do and get things wrong more times than not and still be considered a success! One just needs to create more at bats, more attempts,
and things tend to balance.
- Edward H Paterson
“Of all the players I’ve ever played with or against, I consider Eddie Paterson to be the best defensive outfielder I’ve ever seen. He had all the tools: able to read balls off the bat quickly, foot speed, ability to run balls down no matter where hit, an accurate gun for an arm and the assurance that if his glove touched the ball, the ball found a home. The finest outfield play I ever saw during my playing days was a Willie Mays catch he made at Hosmer Field in Rumford. There was no way that he could catch up with a ball hit straight over his head almost to the fence in center filed...but he did. I’ll never forget that play.”
- Bitsy Ionta
For Ed Paterson the passion still burns deeply for America’s pastime and after a lifelong commitment and dedication is being recognized by the Maine Baseball Hall OF Fame.
Paterson is slated to be inducted in to the MBHOF during ceremonies this summer at Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland. The Rumford native has always been intrigued with the sport and regardless of the situation his intentions were geared to enhancing the beauty of the sport.
“I fell in love with baseball when I was real young, as my father,’’ Ed Paterson said, Edward “Pinky” Paterson was a very good third baseman in the old Timber League and Pine Tree League. ‘’I never saw him play baseball, as he was 40 when I was born, but used to watch him play softball in his later years. He loved to hit fast pitching. He used to take me out in the yard and play catch, bat wiffle balls and tennis balls. The elder Paterson loved the Boston Red Sox and Ted Williams, while his son idolized Carl Yastrzemski (Yaz).
‘’My father taught me to watch intently and listen to the announcers explain different aspects of the game,”Paterson said. ‘’He would explain things to me so I understood. You could say I learned to learned vicariously, something not a lot of youngsters do today. Most of the game and the understanding of it became engrained in me at a very early age.’’
Paterson was fortunate to learn the fundamentals early on in Little League Baseball under the tutelage of Maine Hall of Famer and Baseball Hall of Famer Mike “Mico” Puiia. The elder Paterson and Puiia were team mates at Stephens High School and won the Class A state championship in 1936. This also included playing pick-up baseball games as a child for many years with close friend and neighbor, MBHOFer Steve LaPointe
The friends grew-up in Strathglass Park and a gang used to play in the field “Pines” in the common area of the park and also in the Sand Lot, which was where the garages were at the end of the park. Artie Taylor (MBHOFer), Bill Bulger and Roger Pepin had built a field between the garages, adjoined by the elementary school.
Also at a summer camp on Worthley Pond, a field right behind the camp, neighbors built a make shift backstop, base paths and burlap sack bases. It was the size of a large Little League Field.
Paterson played one on one fast pitch with a tennis ball, backstop with strike zone. When brother Kip, who was 4 years younger, was old enough, the two would play together.
“My father definitely was a great influence,’’Paterson said. “Watching and helping my brother, Kip learn the game was inspirational and very motivation. Also, my brother in law, Tom McBean, who is married to my oldest sister, Kris, was a great influence. He was one of the best players to come out of Rumford. I used to go to all his Pine Tree League games and sit in the dug out.’’
Taylor was the coach, which included players Bob Russell, Mike Mickeritz, Harris Elliot (Maine Sports HOF). McBean was an excellent pitcher and left handed power hitter; was drafted by the Chicago Cubs and played single A.
Paterson followed suit by playing in the PTL from 1976-1998 and was originally a second baseman and then a SS. He converted to center field in 1983, due to speed, ability to read fly balls and strong throwing arm; was considered one of the best center fielders of the era.
Paterson was also prolific offensively, batting at the top of the line up, usually lead off, batted .300-.450 (mostly in mid to high .300’s) most years. Usually led team (and most likely league) in runs, walks, triples, outfield putouts and assists.
He led team in home runs (7 one year in 20 game schedule) and hit 3 HR’s/8 RBI in a game against Lisbon). Rumford won championships in 1985/1987 while playing with MBHoFers LaPointe, Mark Palmer and Ionta.
After graduation, he played JV baseball at Colby, but at 5’6” 150 lbs, he decided to concentrated on studies and has enjoyed a successful career as an insurance agent. Throughout the decades, Paterson has developed insights about himself and athletics.
‘’Competition is a like a endorphin or a pheromone to me, but it manifests itself as a lifelong lesson. There are different ways to compete,’’Paterson said, who has played Men’s Senior League (now renamed Pine Tree League) from 1999-present. ‘’Although it is a natural instinct for most, one has to learn how to compete, why and when. It separates the good from the average and the great from the good. It has to be done in a way that is fair yet aggressive. It has to be done both individually and collaboratively. The team concept and learning to play correctly while winning or losing with others is the ultimate bonding experience. Take away war and survival from human existence and we have competitive sports.’’
He added that although everyone wants to win, not all know how to win with humility and lose gracefully. In sports, especially amateur, the real lesson is developing life long memories and relationships with others through camaraderie, which all can relate to. Commonality through experience becomes almost as close as family!
Paterson, currently President of Western Mountain Cal Ripken League and head umpire, considers himself a traditionalist, however, all things change. Still, some things, like life are universal and proven regardless of change. We have to adapt and evolve, but baseball is timeless and things about it are imperfect, like people.
“’We can tweak things some, like a designated hitter, for the better of the game (that is still left to debate), but ways that are proven to work will always work, because life is limited though human existence endures,’’Paterson said. ‘’Changes evolve and but are cyclical. Baseball like life works because it is pure and Holy! God Bless both.’’