Redmond, Jack (1994)
A three-sport standout at Cheverus High, Maine Central Institute, Dean Junior College and Curry College in the 40's and into the 50's with vast semi-pro baseball play to boot, Jack Redmond not only rated as the Complete Baseball Player but is now in his 46th year as an umpire -- the last active official among the 24 charter members of the Western Maine Board of Approved Baseball Umpires.
At one time or another, this third Redmond to be inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame (following brothers Dave and Dick) played every position on the diamond.
Robust Jack campaigned primarily in the storied Portland Twilight League, when not venturing out-of-state.
But he also graced the even more famous Blackstone Valley League (Massachusetts and Rhode Island) and the Old Colony League in the Maritimes.
Some sample Redmond stats and feats:
Batted .295 and .298 for Cheverus; .371 for M.C.L.; hit longest home run for Dean Junior to that time, a 461-footer as candid Jack admitted it included a downhill roll: hit .395 for Sydney Mines in the Old Colony (playing with Frere Dave) with six home runs in tough pitching circuit, also won base-stealing crown with 16; hit .310 with 5 homers for Curry.
As player-manager, the Redmond stamp was clearly on two Iwi League championships for Ray's Diner.
Jack also won the 1948 Twi batting title with his .406 mark. He was four times league runner-up in homers to Johnny Mancini.
Jack also played for the Portland Press Herald team that won the state championship in newspapers-sponsored competition, defeating the Bangor Daily News team that numbered future Braves pitcher Carlton Willey -- before the PH club lost in the New England finals at Braves Field.
With his diamond career winding down, Redmond, along with so many National Pastimers, naturally turned to softball and became a party to a Believe It or Not performance.
Jack and teammates on Tommy Legere's Bridgeway Restaurant combine, Maine champs in 1954, bowed to Howie Wilander and the famous Raybestos Cardinals as Wilander spun his 8th straight no-hitter (18 strikeouts) that Ripley took note of in his famed cartoon series.
Bridgeway's own Skip Conley, himself one of the best in New England, pitched a two-hitter with 15 Ks.
Jack recalls thinking he'd beaten out a ground ball for a hit in the 7th, only to be called out.
The umpire’s comment: “Hey, Kid, history's being made.” As for his own umpiring, the Redmond confidence and positive attitude he exuded as a player and manager has carried over as the Man in Blue ever in charge.
He's worked every level from Junior High, Jayvees, High School to 15 years on the college circuit and now, ever the candid one, he's “umpiring, on the way down" (not that there's any decline in the way Jack ‘sees em.” Jack also admits “all the playing (post-school-college) and umpiring was possible only by Carroll (The Eye) Rines (himself another institution) juggling assignments during the first 20 years.
From Legacy Page John Joseph Redmond Jr., 79 . Sept. 16, 1927 - May 14, 2007
He belonged to the Boys Club, YMCA, Elks Club, Charter member and the only 50-year member of the Western Maine Approved Baseball Umpires Association, Member of the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, and Western Maine Board of Approved Basketball officials. In 1994 he was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, along with former President George Bush Sr.