Warren, Dan (2017)
“The first thing I see in my house every morning, when I get up, go to the kitchen sink, turn on the water for the morning coffee, and look out the window, is a baseball field in my back yard. We built a Little League field 20 years ago to help with overflow Scarborough Little League games. The last thing I see when I get home at night, sometimes in the darkness, and drive down the drive way, is another baseball field, in my front yard. We built a big diamond there about 15 years ago for American Legion practices, and pitcher and catcher workouts. Little babies have pacifiers. Adult males have baseball fields.”
- Dan Warren
“Dan was the smartest pitcher I ever coached in 33 years. He asked me once, after Jim Dillon had pitched us to a state title in 1986 , with a 90 mph fastball: ‘So, coach, what was my velocity like?’ I told him: ‘You were the smartest pitcher I ever coached.’ He wasn’t giving up: ‘But what kind of miles per hour was I putting out?’ I responded: ‘You never beat yourself.’ I liked these answers. I still do. Coming from me, they were a compliment. But I don’t think they were what Dan was looking for. He did have a great strikeout-to-walk ratio in three years of varsity ball at ScarboROUGH. --- 7 to 2 ---But, Jesus did he throw a lot of pitches! Go to the Maine Mall any Saturday afternoon in December. Look around at all the adult males there between the ages of 35 and 50. Dan went to full count again against most of them in the 1970s. He CAN sell raffle tickets, though.”
- PHIL MARTIN
Some people collect stamps. Some collect classic cars. Dan Warren has spent 50 years collecting baseball friends and fellow boosters. He says the benefits of the game as a teacher of life skills became clear early.
“In Little League, we traveled to Sherbrooke, Quebec for a best-of-three international series.” We lost the rubber game 2-0. I pitched. As a hitter, I struck out with the bases loaded, fifth inning.
“When we got back to Scarborough, the next day, there was an 8 x 11 inch envelope on my front porch. In it was the poem “If,” by Rudyard Kipling.
At age 11, I had a baseball coach giving me a poem about stoicism, wisdom, and perseverance. Wow. I was lucky to have that coach, Marc Corb. Hard to estimate the good influence on me. “
Life for kids on Fogg Road in the 1960s was three things, Warren says: “Baseball in the morning. Baseball in the afternoon. Baseball after supper.”
This readied Dan for a career as a pitcher at Scarborough High School, and Owen-Davis Post of Saco.
“Most every coach I ever had ended up inducted in the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame. Packy McFarland, Phil Martin, Bob Curry, Brad Leach.
“That didn’t make me a great player--God bless them all for trying!--it just taught me to love the game. What a great gift.”
After two part- time summers in the Portland Twilight League, and four days on the University of Maine Black Bears, Dan was headed , down the road, for a career as a part- time player, and full- time promoter of the game.
“Three of us from the old Triple - C conference (Portland suburbs) walked on to the UMO team, fall 1975. John Winkin was in his second year coaching. His new assistant was Stump Merrill. Stump told me I could have a uniform but I would never throw a pitch.”
The team would end up going to the College World Series in Omaha six months later, Spring 1976.
“Retirement suddenly sounded like a good idea, Warren jokes.
The 1980s for Dan were dominated by law school, and political service in the Maine Legislature, and Scarborough Town Council.
In 1987, Dan turned 30. Things changed.
“Baseball suddenly returned in my life,” he says.
Warren helped Commissioner Dean Rogers start the Southern Maine Men’s Over-30 Hardball League.
Dan would play, coach and organize several teams over the next decade. Hundreds of guys played.
“I went from being a pitcher to being a catcher,” he recalls. “At that level, if you are in shape, you catch. Not many guys can squat for three hours!”
The over-30 experience got him involved in other areas of baseball in 1989.
“Peggy Siegle had just started the first indoor baseball facility in Maine-- Four Seasons Baseball. My high school coach, Phil Martin, was her first paid instructor. He got me to start bring high school kids over in the winter to hit and throw. We did winter throwing for 20 years.”
In 1999, Warren took over the GM role of the Libby- Mitchell American Legion Post 76 team from HOFer Bob Philbrick. He did that for 17 years, in addition to being active in the state and regional Legion organizations to build Legion baseball in Maine.
Once a month, he wrote a column in the Maine Legionnaire magazine called “The Baseball Beat.”
Meanwhile, Dan got married in 1992 and the three children he would eventually father, Maddie, Sophie and Sam, would play sports.
Sam turned five in 2002, and Dan learned something.
“Little League baseball ended about June 15 each year due to parent wishes to go on post- school year vacations. So there was no summer baseball. What?!”
Warren and others started the SOUTHERN MAINE KIDS TRAVEL BASEBALL LEAGUE (KTB) in 2003. Boys in Cumberland and York Counties withdrew have a place to play ball in July.
“Up and down the Maine Turnpike corridor, Gray to Kittery,
boys ages 7-- 12 were playing baseball in gorgeous sunny summer days. We had 30 teams and 18 towns and cities involved. KTB is still going strong.”
Warren built a KTB field in his backyard, and a Legion practice diamond in his front yard.
“Some guys have a mid-life crisis in their 40s, and develop exotic hobbies. I built baseball fields,” he laughs.
More than 3,500 kids have played in the KRB league over 15 years.
Warren says he loves driving around in the summer and seeing KTB games going on.
“I think to myself: “I helped start that.’ It’s nice.” he says.
Warren says baseball has been a great adult hobby and avocation for him the past 40 years.
“A high school English teacher, Martha McFarland, the daughter of my first SHS coach, Packy McFarland, used to joke by saying: ‘Baseball is a great game, where anything can happen at any moment----and usually doesn’t!’
“I actually like that quote. Baseball prepares us for life. Be ready. Don’t miss a minute! I haven’t.”
Don Douglas, a member of the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame selection committee said Warren’s recognition is well deserved.
“We looked at Dan as one of those figures in Maine that has really taken it upon themselves to make sure others had the opportunity to play baseball. That was his passion and his goal. He wanted others to have a chance to play and he succeeded exceptionally well in doing that,” said Douglas, a 1991 Hall of Fame inductee.