2017-05-12 / Front Page

Warren receives call from Maine hall

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

This summer, Scarborough lawyer Dan Warren will be inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame after years of making sure youth in the area have an opportunity to play the sport, which he learned to love from a young age. (Michael Kelley photo) This summer, Scarborough lawyer Dan Warren will be inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame after years of making sure youth in the area have an opportunity to play the sport, which he learned to love from a young age. (Michael Kelley photo) Scarborough lawyer Dan Warren learned to love the game of baseball at an early age Now, after decades of experience as a player, coach, general manager and even umpire, Warren has been elected to the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, a group that since 1969 has honored hundreds of individuals for their contribution to the sport over the years.

Warren, the longtime general manager of the Libby Mitchell American Legion baseball team and founder the Kids Travel Baseball summer league, will be honored at a July 23 ceremony at Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland with the other 2017 inductees, who also include Gil Arnold, Dennis Damon, Dave Gaw, Dave Littlefield, Ben Lowry, Paul Mitchell, Brian O’Gara, Dave Paul, Elmer Rising and Derek Soule.

The Maine Baseball Hall of Fame is located in the Portland Room at Hadlock Field in Portland and is open during Portland Sea Dog home games.

“I don’t need the recognition. There are a lot of people that helped me growing up and put in a lot more volunteer hours than I did. There are a lot of people not in the Hall of Fame that deserve it, so I’ve always kind of resisted (being included),” Warren said. “As my late mother would say “you didn’t have to thank me, but it is nice you did.’”

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.

Warren’s time with baseball started many years ago, as an avid neighborhood baseball player.

“I was lucky to grow up in a neighborhood with a bunch of kids who loved to play the game. We get up in the morning – on Fogg Road – in the summer and play ball. We go in have our peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and go back out to play all afternoon,” Warren said. Warren was a part of Scarborough Little League before securing a spot on the high school team as a pitcher and infielder. He started playing Legion baseball, a summer league for high school players, after his sophomore year in 1973 on a team made up of players from Old Orchard Beach, Saco and Scarborough. Warren played teams made up of other high school players, including teams that unlike Scarborough at the time, were playing in Class A.

“That was a real eye opener,” Warren said. “All of a sudden we were playing these kids from Portland and schools that had 800 kids in their high schools.”

After graduating from Scarborough High School in 1975, Warren headed up to the University of Maine and tried to make the baseball team as a walk on his freshman year. His collegiate baseball career lasted all of four days after he learned that he had no chance of pitching for the team.

“I decided to announce my retirement. They seemed to do OK without me,” Warren said of the team, which went to the College World Series tournament that spring.

It was the first World Series berth for the team under long-time head coach John Winkin, who from 1975 to 1996, led the University of Maine to College World Series in 1976, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1986.

That 1976 team had two pitchers who would go on to play in the Major Leagues: Bert Roberge, who played for the Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox Montreal Expos from 1979 to 1984 and Fred Howard, who made 29 appearances for the 1979 White Sox.

Another, Brian Butterfield, the son of Jack Butterfield, who coached UMaine from 1957 to 1974 and a scout for the Yankees from 1977 to 1979, has been a professional coach and manager since the late 1970s. Butterfield served as the third-base coach and bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays for a decade and since 2012 has been coaching third base for the Boston Red Sox.

After graduating from UMaine in 1979, Warren went to law school at the University of South Maine and opened his practice, Jones and Warren in the old Scarborough post office at 243 Route 1 in 1983.

Warren focused on his law practice and stayed out of baseball for most of the 1980s. He remained a fan of the game and often caught parts of Scarborough High School baseball games at the high school field nearby.

“My office is 434 feet from Scarborough

High School, for 35 years, I have had quite a connection to the team,” he said.

Warren returned to baseball in 1989 when he, along with Dean Rogers, the former public address announcer for the Portland Sea Dogs, helped to start a local over-30 baseball league, after Warren read an article about it in Sports Illustrated. Warren remained in the league for a decade until 1999 when his attention turned to Legion baseball once again, this time as a team general manager.

Bob Philbrick, the general manager of the Libby Mitchell American Legion Post 76 team was going to fold the team after years of behavior issues, extensive travel and lack of interest from new players. Not wanting to see the team eliminated, Warren told Philbrick he would have a new team up and running within 30 days.

“I knew how hard it was to have a league and knew how hard it was to get one in your town,” said Warren, who has built baseball fields in the front and backyard of his Spurwink Road home.

He reached out to former Scarborough High School and Thomas College baseball player Rick Libby and recruited 20 players to play on the team that season.

“The rest is history. I had a good run, almost 20 years,” Warren said of his general manager’s post, which he held from 1999 to 2016.

Recognizing desire in Little Leaguers to continue baseball after the Little League season ended in mid-June, in 2002 Warren started Southern Maine Kids Travel Baseball for baseball players 6 to 11 years old.

That first year only Scarborough and Saco had a team, but by 2006, the league had grown to 35 teams. The league is still going, but Warren is no longer involved.

After a 15 year absence, Warren returned to the baseball diamond in the summer of 2015 as a player in the over 45 baseball league in the Bath/Brunswick area. His return to the sport he loves only lasted one summer due to an injury he sustained while running the bases in which he blew out both hamstrings.

Now, instead of playing, or running a baseball team, Warren enjoys the game as a spectator and especially watching his son, Sam, a sophomore, pitch at Trinity College.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarbroughleader.com.

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