Shaw, Hubert (Billy) (2010)
Hubert S. “Billy” Shaw was an outstanding student athlete at Presque Isle High School. He was born January 23, 1916 to Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Shaw, who resided on Park Street. Shaw participated in track and football for two years and baseball four years. He was outstanding in baseball, playing an excellent defensive second base and establishing himself as the team’s offensive catalyst, and developed a reputation as a dangerous and timely hitter. Shaw was also the 1932 class valedictorian.
Shaw, along with Hal Cheney, Verdelle Clark, and his brother, Walter Shaw, led the Wildcats to the Aroostook League Baseball Championship in 1928 with a 9-1 record. He continued his outstanding baseball play in the Junior American Legion League, performing for the Presque Isle Midgets. The team was built around Shaw and Jack Goldstone, with Shaw dividing his time between first base and the pitcher’s mound.
Shaw entered Bowdoin College in the fall of 1932. While there he played halfback on the football team for two years and was a four-year member of the baseball team, serving as captain his senior year. He figured prominently in leading Bowdoin to Maine’s intercollegiate baseball championship. During the summers of his college years he played for the Presque Isle Indians in the semi-pro Aroostook League. He was rewarded for his excellent play by being selected as one of the players in the state to play against the Boston Red Sox in Bangor in June 1935, and was also one of the Aroostook All-Stars who played against the Boston Braves that same summer in Houlton. During his four years with the Presque Isle semi-pro team, Shaw had a lifetime batting average of well over .300 and was selected to the Aroostook League All-Star team four times.
In the summer of 1936, Shaw and Clarence Keegan of Robinson were invited to Baltimore to try out for the U.S. Olympic team. Selected players would represent the United States in the Amateur Baseball Olympic demonstration games in Berlin, Germany, and then travel to Holland, Belgium, Paris, and London for a series of exhibition games. Both Shaw and Keegan were selected to the U.S. Olympic team, Keegan playing third base while Shaw manned the first base bag.
On August 12, 1936, the largest crowd ever to see a baseball game in Europe or the United States, numbering close to 100,000, jammed Olympic Stadium in Berlin to watch two American amateur teams play a demonstration game. The left-hand hitting Shaw batted third and had the honor of hitting the first homerun in Olympic play. He struck for an inside the park homerun with a man on base in the first inning of the game, giving his team, the U.S. Olympics, an early 2-0 lead. Though the U.S. Olympics eventually lost 6-5 to their opponents, fellow American team the World Champions, Shaw had two runs batted in during the contest. Bill Shaw returned home from Olympic play in late August, 1936 and immediately joined his Presque Isle Indian teammates for a game against the Danforth AA, whom they defeated, with Shaw collecting two hits, including a double. A “Bill Shaw Day” was planned to welcome home the local Olympic hero.
After the Olympics, Shaw entered Harvard University and received a Master of Arts Degree in Biology in 1937. That fall he accepted a teaching position at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., where he taught chemistry and biology and also coached football and baseball. The chemistry laboratory at St. Albans School was dedicated in his name several years ago. Shaw played semi-pro baseball for St. Albans of the Northern League in Vermont during the 1937 season. He finished that season with a .326 batting average and played in all 59 games. During the summer of 1939, while playing for the Lancaster Pilots of the Twin State League, he sustained a separated shoulder which essentially ended his semi-professional baseball career.
In August of 1943, Shaw entered the Navy and in March of 1944 he was assigned to the West Coast Training Command Combat Information Center School in San Diego, California as a radar instructor. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant before he was separated from active duty in February 1946.
In 1947 he took a position at Bowdoin College as Assistant Director of Admissions and became the Director of Admissions in 1949. He served in that position until 1967 when he retired from Bowdoin. In 1964 Shaw was awarded the Alumni Award for Faculty and Staff, an award that recognized a faculty or staff member who demonstrated an uncommon and active loyalty and devotion to Bowdoin.
In August of 1967 Shaw accepted a position as the Chief of Policy and Regulations for Federal Student Aid Programs in the Department of Education and later served in the Bureau of Student Financial Aid in the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. until his retirement in January of 1982. He was awarded the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Distinguished Service Award in 1982.
He married Eleanor French of Somerville, Massachusetts on June 23rd, 1939. Hubert “Billy” Shaw passed away July 13th, 1985, his place in Maine baseball history secure.