By Roger G. Spear
By the fall of 1967, coach Warren “Red” Dean’s Farmington High School Greyhounds baseball team knew that the upcoming spring season would be its last. Farmington High baseball had enjoyed a long and rich history of success dating back to its 1914 and 1915 state championships.
In June 1967, SAD 9 District voters approved a $2.7 million bond issue to construct a brand-new district high school. The new school was slated to open in 1969.
The school’s new name was decided by a district-wide naming contest. The winning name, Mt. Blue High School, was submitted by Farmington High School librarian Dorothy Sayward, mother of Farmington High School/Mt. Blue High school teacher/coach, Galen Sayward.
As the Farmington High School players were prepping for their final season as Farmington High, local fans were wondering if the team could repeat as the Mountain Valley Conference champions, after having won it the previous two years. After all, key players and co-captains Mike Callahan, Mike Leavitt, and Paul Coombs had graduated the year before. However, there was considerable optimism given the return of veteran starters Larry Barker in center field, Dave Leavitt at third base, Jon Scarlett pitching and playing shortstop, Jim Bouffard pitching and playing shortstop, Brad Cook in right field, and Bill Hodgkins at first base.
On April 23, 1968, Farmington opened its last year of baseball in Bethel against Gould Academy. The Farmington Greyhounds prevailed 4-0 behind the one-hit pitching by its ace hurler Jim Bouffard. Gould’s only hit was an infield single in the second inning and Bouffard then retired the last 16 hitters. Jon Scarlett led the Farmington hitters with three hits.
Farmington’s next game was a close 4-3 victory over the Livermore Falls Andies behind the clutch pitching of Jim Bouffard, who went the distance allowing three hits while striking out 14 and walking only two. Farmington scored three runs in the second inning when Bill Hodgkins led-off with a walk, Dave Scarlett then doubled and Steve Moore singled to score Hodgkins. Scarlett scored on an error then Bouffard singled to drive in Moore for the third run. Farmington scored what proved to be the winning run, in the fifth inning when Jon Scarlett singled, Brad Cook reached on an error, and Larry Barker singled to drive in Scarlett. Leading hitter for Livermore Falls was Randy Hastava; Dennis Grover put in a solid pitching performance for the Andies.
The third game of the season was against the Pintos of Mexico High School. The Farmington Greyhounds came away with a lop-sided 21-8 win at Hippach Field.
On May 7, Farmington bats were unleashed against arch rival and next door-neighbor Wilton Academy. (The two teams would merge the following year as part of the new Mt. Blue High School.) The Farmington nine prevailed 19-5. Greyhound back-up players getting into action were Steve Waite, Don Heath, Richard Mosher, Kurt Reynolds, Scott Hemmingway, Bob Decker, Bill Jones, Larry Alexander, Chuck Loring and Ed Morin. Dave Leavitt had three hits for the Greyhounds. Leading hitters for the Eagles were Forrest Scott, Bruce Stinson, and Chip Sargent. The Greyhound pitching staff: Jon Scarlett, Steve Moore, Doug Jones, and Jim Bouffard all shared in the mound duties.
The team continued its winning streak on May 9 by nipping Gould Academy 5-4 at Farmington’s Hippach Field. Jim Bouffard pitched a complete game. This was Bouffard’s third win of the young season and his 10th in a row having gone 7-0 the previous year. The game was tied 4-4 in the bottom of the last inning. Bill Hodgkins opened the inning with a single and Steve Moore sacrificed him to second. Alan Coombs grounded out moving Hodgkins to third and then Freshman Dave Scarlett singled to win the game.
On May 11, the Greyhounds defeated Dixfield High School 9-1 in a non-conference game. Steve Moore had an excellent day at the plate going four for four. Bill Hodgkins drove in three runs. Jon Scarlett pitched a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts. Scarlett lost his shutout when he gave up a home run in the final inning to Dixfield’s Dick Collins.
Farmington won its seventh game in a row on May 21 in Mountain Valley Conference competition with a 13-0 victory over Mexico. The win clinched the northern division title of the MVC. The Greyhounds put the game out of reach early by scoring six runs in the first inning. Pitcher Jon Scarlett blanked the Pintos over six innings. Doug Jones retired Mexico in order in the final inning.
On May 23, in its final regular season Mountain Valley Conference game, Farmington shut out Wilton 11-0 at Hippach Field. Those in attendance witnessed a no-hitter thrown by Jim Bouffard who struck 16 out while walking only two.
Whether Farmington High School could win its third consecutive Mountain Valley Conference championship came down to playing southern division champion Williams High School of Oakland on May 28 at Kyes Field in Fairfield.
In the championship game the Greyhounds got off to a very troubling start for Coach Dean as ace pitcher Jim Bouffard gave up an unprecedented three runs in the first inning. It was at this point Dean, displeased with his team’s performance, pulled his team off the bench and held an impromptu “pep talk.” This meeting was recently described to this writer as extremely heated to say the least! Dean was a fierce competitor who demanded and expected his players to play to their maximum ability.
Once Dean’s Farmington squad returned to the field, the game changed. Bouffard settled down on the mound and pitched a complete game striking out 14. Greyhound bats came alive, catapulted by strong performances from Brad Cook, Larry Barker, Dave Scarlett, Dave Leavitt, Alan Coombs, and Bill Hodgkins. Final score Farmington High School 17, Williams High School 6.
After the game Co-Captain Bill Hodgkins was hoping Coach Dean wouldn’t think that his “pep talk” won the game because Hodgkins knew, from the start, that his team would win the championship with or without the need for special (colorful?) words of inspiration!
By season end, the last for Farmington High School baseball, the Greyhounds had won their third consecutive Mountain Valley Conference Championship with a record of 10-2, that included two non-conference losses to old nemesis Kents Hill School. Also, the Farmington team had won 24 consecutive games in the Conference.
Unfortunately, state championship games were not contested during the 1960s. If they had been, Farmington High School would have been a force to be reckoned with.
At the June 3, 1968, Farmington High School scholastic and athletic awards ceremony, a trophy was presented to the baseball player “who contributed the most to the ball club.” The trophy, in memory of R. Stewart Whittier, perhaps the best player ever to play the great game of baseball at Farmington High School., was presented by Whittier’s son Rick to Jim Bouffard. Bouffard finished his stellar three-year pitching career with a 17-2 record and a 0.98 earned run average! His remarkable 17 wins is the Farmington High School all-time record.
Coach Dean once joked to this writer that Bouffard “couldn’t break a pane of glass with his fastball! But he had “good stuff” and could locate the ball wherever he wanted it–on or off the plate.” Hitters just couldn’t figure out his pitching style. Dean also indicated that Bouffard had a huge competitive spirit. Perhaps second only to his own! One of Bouffard’s most memorable wins, besides his no-hitter over Wilton Academy at Hippach Field, was against Mexico High School’s star pitcher, Stan Thomas, who later pitched in the Major Leagues for the Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees.
Dean continued to coach baseball at the new Mt. Blue High School through the 1972 season, after which Peter Sickles became head coach and Galen Sayward assistant coach. During his nine years of high school coaching, Dean compiled a highly respectable 80-36 win/loss record.
Dean’s brand of baseball can be characterized as intense, compassionate and highly competitive. Lewiston Sun sports writer Bob MacPhee, in describing Red’s intense on-field demeanor pitching town team ball, referred to him as “The Dean of Competitiveness.” Dean’s competitive nature sprang from a deep appreciation of the special bond between athletes playing against one another. He astutely realized that the highest measure of respect you could accord the game of baseball, as well as your opponent, was to play hard all of the time.
Red’s zeal for competitive sports dated back to high school in Greenville. As a senior he captained his football and basketball teams to state championships. His blazing fastball attracted the attention of major league scouts. He signed a contract with the Milwaukee Braves in 1956. Unfortunately, an injury curtailed the promise of big-league glory.
Red Dean passed away in 2001 from complications following surgery, less than a month after learning he had been selected for induction into The Maine Baseball Hall of Fame. He was inducted posthumously that year. His induction was accepted by his son Tim, at a ceremony in Portland, on behalf of the Dean family.
On May 9, 2003, Red was honored and remembered by friends and family at Farmington’s historic Hippach Field with the dedication of a new remote-controlled scoreboard in his name. At this ceremony, Red’s sister Cheri, said her brother “brought out the best in everyone. He had a great arm but an even greater heart.”
Roger G. Spear, UMF Vice President Emeritus, is a well-known authority on local sports history and is currently working on a manuscript of local baseball, 1865-1956. He can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.