Porter “Pete” Sickels was raised in Buxton but attended Deering High School where he played shortstop for coach Ara Karakasian and graduated in 1949. Sickels went on to the University of New Hampshire and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1953.
Pete was actually signed to a professional contract with the St. Louis Cardinals organization and spent the summers of 1952 and 1953 playing in the Class D Georgia State League.
Following his release from the Cardinals, Pete continued to play semi-pro ball for a number of years with the Dixfield Dixies in the storied Pine Tree League. He played with well known local baseballers, Red Dean, Bobby Downs, Bitsy Ionta and Newt Stowell.
Pete embarked on his teaching career at Kents Hill High School in 1957, teaching physics and math until 1967 when he moved to Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Massachusetts where he taught until 1970. Pete caught the coaching bug during these years as he served in a variety of assistant coaching roles at both institutions.
Returning to his home state, Pete landed at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington in 1970 and remained there for 18 years, teaching math and physics, before retiring in 1988.
Pete took over the head coaching reins of the baseball team at Mt. Blue in 1974 and led the Cougars for 4 years, compiling a 30-27 overall record including a 14-6 mark for the 1976 season. Among notable schoolboys who came under Pete’s tutelage were Gavin Kane, (girls basketball coach at Dirigo), Rick Wells and Jimmy Alexander. Another gifted player shared the same house as Pete - his son Craig, who in 1977 was a promising sophomore eager to finally play for his dad and childhood idol. In what must have been one of the most agonizing decisions of his life, Pete resigned from coaching after the 1977 season, both to avoid any hint of preferential treatment for his son, and to allow Craig unencumbered freedom to develop and prosper on his own. The elder Sickels foresaw the future with a mathematician’s precision as Craig thrived and went to have an outstanding career at Mt. Blue, albeit tempered by the sacrifice of his father/coach.
Pete’s commitment to his ballplayers carried over into the summer as well as he founded and coached the first American Legion baseball team in Franklin County in 1974. Sponsored by the Farmington Legion Post #28, Pete coached the Franklin County Rangers through the 1977 Season, compiling a 29-52 overall record.
Pete currently lives with his wife in Weld where he copes with the day-to-day struggles of Parkinson’s Disease. Always a man of few words, his actions, though limited today, continue to define a man of uncommon grace and dignity.
Porter ‘Pete’ Farley Sickels
WELD – Porter “Pete” Farley Sickels, 77, May 3, 1931 - June 28, 2008