Schoppee, David (1996)
“To the gods, to the fates, to the rulers of men and their destinies!” goes a line in the bridge part of the world-famous University of Maine “Stein Song.”
Well, the diamond gods or fates weren’t very kind to Portland’s Dave Schoppee, but they can’t take away from the sturdy catcher-turned pitcher, a ten-year professional baseball career - frustrating though it eventually became, that any Pine Tree Stater would be justly proud of.
Ultimately, Dave became just one step away from the majors before yielding to the joint handicap of tendinitis and a bullpen surplus for the parent Boston Red Sox.
He did make the Sox’ 40-man camp roster three straight years but the call-up never came despite the fact that he had twice led the Eastern League (AA) and the International loop (AAA) once in a three year Span.
Schoppee, 6-3 and usually around 205 pounds in his pro journey, was an all-star at various stages from Little League on.
As a Deering High sophomore, he caught for Deering High’s repeat state Class A champions in 1973 under legendary coach Fearless Freddy Harlow (HoF ‘74).
in “74, Dave was named the catcher on the All-Telegram League team. In ‘75, Harlow converted Schoppee to pitcher and all he did was fashion a 5-0 regular season record with a sharp assortment and excellent control, adding a key three-hit, 21 strikeout shutout victory in the playoffs with South Portland for repeat All-Telly honors en route to the league Championship.
Schoppee soon signed with the Sox in the 16th round of the draft to start his mixed experience in the minors.
For one reason or another, Dave lingered for five seasons at the Class A level (New York-Penn, Florida State, Carolina).
In time, he realized he couldn’t blow the ball by batters the way he did in high school, so he developed an effective sinker and helpful forkball and in the process was switched from starter to reliever.
At last, it appeared Schoppee had found his proper niche. Promoted to the Sox’ Double-A club at Bristol, Conn., in the Eastern League, he compiled two glittering campaigns back-to-back, 1980, ‘81, league Fireman of the Year and team MVP each season.
Dave went 8-3 with 19 saves and a 2.64 ERA in ‘80: 8-2 with 22 Saves and 1./6 for the league champions with a victory and two saves in the 81 playoffs.
Came ‘82 and the at-long-last promotion to the Sox’ Triple-A club at Pawtucket that brought an ironic mixture: Schoppee led the league in Saves with 15, but he dipped to 4-6 and a 3.26 ERA, and his always favorable walks and hits per inning ratio increased.
Tendinitis, stemming from overwork in winter ball in Puerto Ricotook its toll.
He was 3-2 with a 6.58 ERA in ‘83.
And while he still made the Sox 40-man roster for ‘84 camp, the call up never came and he was released instead.
Schoppee nonetheless looked at his experience as “10 good seasons In professional baseball.
I was invited to three major league training camps, and gave it my best shot and that’s all anybody can do. plus I have plenty of good memories and I’ve made lots of friends.”
David Lawrence Schoppee
Born: April 24, 1957 in Bangor, Maine, USA