|Title:||Coach, Contributor: Baseball|
Charles “Chatterbox Charlie” Heddericg, Coach, Contributor:Baseball 1944-1971
Watch the induction tribute to Coach Heddericg here (Presented at the BHS HOF banquet on 10/13/16)
Charlie Heddericg taught Civics and History at Brewer High School from 1944 to 1971. As his teaching career commenced at Brewer, he also coached baseball, basketball and football. Although he coached three sports, Heddericg was best known as Brewer’s long term baseball coach of twenty seven years. Whether on the field or in Civics class, Heddericg had a tremendous impact upon thousands of kids!
Charlie Heddericg grew up in Whitman, Massachusetts where he starred as a football player and as a catcher in baseball. After graduating from Whitman HS, he attended Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield, Maine for two years where he continued to play football and baseball. He then went on to Colby College where he was a standout catcher for four years on the varsity baseball team and captained the team his senior year. While at Colby, Heddericg also played freshman basketball as well as freshman and varsity hockey. It was at Colby that his “peppery, talkative style” earned him his nickname “Chatterbox Charlie”. During his college summers and for several years after graduating Colby in 1930, Heddericg was a player and often player-manager on a number of semi-pro baseball teams throughout New England including a two-year stint playing professionally. Heddericg earned a Master’s Degree from Bridgewater State Teachers’ College in Massachusetts which then launched a long career in education beginning in 1942.
Some say it was only his physical size, a mere 130 lbs., that kept him from making it in the big leagues. Although small in stature, Charlie Heddericg had a very, big heart. His passion for baseball was infectious. His accomplishments as a player, coach and scout were numerous; but, his love of the game transcended all. Coach Heddericg liked to play as many games as possible so to give more boys the opportunity to play. To Heddericg, baseball was a game “from the heart.” Won-lost records, statistics and championships were not of foremost importance to him. Playing the game the right way every day was foremost. Learning the fundamentals and the finer points of the game as well as having fun were the staples of hisphilosophy. In his second year at the helm of Brewer High School Varsity Baseball, Heddericg coached his team to a Northern Division Penobscot Valley Conference title in 1945.
Heddericg was also a “Bird Dog Scout” for the Boston Red Sox from 1944 until he passed away in 1990. As a “bird dog” scout, he analyzed players and submitted reports on them to the player development office. With an intense desire to see Maine players in the major leagues, he was responsible for countless prospects getting a shot in Boston. For all those years he kept an eye on the high school, college and American Legion players, he never got paid by the Red Sox. He did, however, concede to accepting used Red Sox equipment which he doled out in droves to the youth in the area. Larry Mahoney of the Bangor Daily News wrote, “Baseball is and always has been Charlie’s first love. He has been like the Santa Claus of baseball. Charlie might have been rich if he had not given away so much money to kids he met at ballgames. It also is impossible to count the number of baseballs, bats, uniforms and equipment signed by Red Sox players that he gave away for many, many years upon returning from spring training in Florida.”
Charlie Heddericg was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981. The Brewer High School District Trustees voted on August 3, 1987 to name Brewer’s new baseball field the Charles Heddericg Baseball Field. To honor Heddericg for this milestone, a dinner was held in September of 1987 and a dedication ceremony was held at the baseball field during a double header between Brewer and Caribou in May of 1988. Heddericg threw the first ceremonial pitch. Coach Heddericg, overcome with emotion, asked his former player and member of the Brewer High School District Trustees, Jim White to read this heartfelt note: “Dear Friends, I want you to know how very much this honor means to me. Brewer High School, its staff and so very, very many of its students are firmly embedded in my heart. For the rest of my days, I will continue to be one of the school’s and team’s greatest supporters. This wonderful expression of your love is deeply appreciated by me and my family. Thank you.” A memorial plaque was supposed to have been placed at the ballpark at that time. In the fall of 2012, a group of former players and students realized this had not been done. A group of sixty volunteers raised significant funds to secure a large bronze dedication plaque that presently sits at the top of the hill of the ballpark as well as the “Heddericg Field” banner which adorns the outfield fence. Not only did the volunteers refurbish signs denoting the park as Heddericg Field and give the dugouts and utility building a much needed makeover with a fresh coat of paint, they commemorated Brewer’s Bi-Centennial Athlete, a former Heddericg player, Danny Coombs by affixing a plaque at the ballpark displaying Coombs’ number, # 21. Coombs, a 2014 BrewerAthletic Hall of Fame Inductee, played professional baseball for the Houston Astros and the San Diego Padres. Heddericg Field was rededicated prior to the Brewer-Bangor baseball game on May 13, 2013, a 1-0 victory by the Witches.
Mr. Heddericg passed away on March 9, 1990 at the age of 85. Although “his passing marked an end of an era in baseball”, so aptly described by Bill Warner of the Bangor Daily News, Heddricg’s impact on baseball, however, can still be felt today throughout the Brewer community and will continue for years to come.