Sutton, Mark (2012)
Growing up in Topsham, Mark Sutton’s early baseball memories grew out of Sunday afternoon ballgames between the Green and Sutton families on the Greens’ homemade diamond. Neighborliness took a back seat to competition, however, and the baseball spark was ignited.
Mark’s family moved to Augusta when he was 10 and the slick-fielding shortstop enjoyed a sparkling career for Coach Jeff Trundy’s Cony Rams, graduating in 1978. Trundy recalls the challenges of reining in the sometimes volcanic intensity of his budding star: “Sutty was always an extremely competitive athlete, but at times the frequent failures in our grand game led to some difficult and trying times. He eventually learned to embrace the challenges of the game and went on to achieve some remarkable things.”
Mark enjoyed a sensational senior year at Cony and followed it up with a terrific summer of legion ball. At the legion tournament in Togus, he drew the attention of UMO Coach John Winkin who was there to recruit Mark’s teammate Ed Pickett. Ever the astute talent evaluator, Wink saw a future second baseman in Sutton and convinced him to come to Orono.
Winkin’s faith in Mark’s potential to play at the college level was a game-changer. “Coach Winkin’s influence changed the direction of where I was headed. I had no aspirations of going to college until he convinced me I could play at Maine,” said Sutton, emphatically. “Winkin, and playing baseball at Maine, changed the course of my life.” Sutton’s career at Maine meshed with the arrival of Billy Swift, Mike Coutts, Jeff Paul, Kevin Buckley, Bill Reynolds, Rick Lashua, Ed Pickett and other home-grown talent who led the Black Bears to repeated appearances in the NCAA regional tournament and College World Series. Mark played on two CWS teams, with the 1982 squad finishing tied for third, and made the Regional All-Tournament team that year along with fellow 2012 Maine Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Peter Adams.
Mark was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 20th round of the 1982 draft and signed with them after the College World Series. He played two years in the Rangers minor league system, finishing with Tulsa in the Double A Texas League.
Sutton returned home to play two more years for the Auburn Asas in the Portland Twilight League. Those summers afforded Mark the opportunity to play alongside future major leaguer Mike Bordick who was then honing his shortstop skills at UMaine. It was also a chance to reunite with Jeff Trundy who managed the Asas and observed a fully matured, deeply respectful and appreciative ballplayer who had grown up since the tempestuous Cony years. Trundy noted the Sutton-Bordick relationship with the quiet pride of a teacher who knew he’d finally gotten through to his student: “Sutty and Bordi became great teammates and the cerebral Sutty took Mike under his wing and helped him, pointing out not only the finer points of playing defense but providing some invaluable wisdom on handling the game’s occasional failures. It was an opportunity to observe Sutty and the personal growth that had taken place with him, both as a person and as a player. A very unique and satisfying coaching experience for me.”
Mark entered the mortgage lending business in 1999 and today works as a mortgage officer for portfolio loans at Sanford Institution for Savings.