Clarence Keegan

Clarence Keegan

 

 

Clarence Keegan was born in Easton July 13, 1915 to James and Helena Keegan.  After his father’s death he moved to Robinson, Me. While attending high school at A.C.I. in Mars Hill he lived with his brother Frank.  His brother encouraged him to participate in sports and to continue his education.  As a senior in 1933 he was instrumental in leading A.C.I. to their first Aroostook League championship, their first since 1921.  

 

In the fall of 1933 he entered the University of Maine Orono where he majored in agriculture. Being an outstanding high school athlete he decided to play baseball for the “Black Bears” and as a sophomore centerfielder in 1935 he led the team in hitting with a robust .366 average. Stats were unavailable for his junior year but in 1937 his senior year he was hitting .362 but after the State series he ended the season with a .379 average.

 

During the summer of either 1936 or ’37 he met his wife to be Madeline and they were married soon after.

 

While attending the University he played summer baseball for the Mars Hill Mountainers in the Northern Maine semi-pro league. In 1933 the Mountainers tied Caribou for the league title but lost in the championship game.  In 1934 as a centerfielder he had another stellar season culminating in him be selected to the Aroostook League All-Star team who played the Houlton Collegians at the Northern Maine Fair.  In 1935 he again was one of the elite players in the Aroostook League and was selected to the All-Star team which played the Boston Braves in Houlton.  The All-stars later traveled to Bangor, Me to play the Boston Red Sox at Bass Park.

 

In 1936 Clarence along with Huber Shaw of Presque Isle was invited to try out for the U.S. Olympic baseball team in Baltimore, Maryland.  The Presque Isle A.A. played a benefit game against the Aroostook League All-Stars to raise funds for the two players.  His hitting in tryouts secured him a spot on the Olympic team.  They set sail on July 16, 1936 on the SS Manhatten and arrived in Hamburg, Germany on July 23rd.  At the conclusion of the Olympics he boarded the SS President Roosevelt on August 19, 1936.  They played exhibition games in England and arrived back in New York August 28th.  The Olympians were welcomed back with a ticker tape parade and many other festivities.  In the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown New York there was a picture displayed honoring the history of baseball in the Olympics.  Several pictures of the 1936 Olympics were featured and one of them was of Clarence Keegan with his name inscribed on it.  On several occasions he had mentioned to family that the parade into the Olympic Stadium was highlight of his experience.

 

After his graduation from the University of Maine in 1937 he continued to play semi-pro baseball for Mars Hill.  In 1938 he helped lead the Mountainers to the Northern Maine League crown.  1939 he joined the Presque Isle Indians serving as a player/coach and played several positions, ending the season with a .388 batting average.  In 1940 he returned to the Indians and played center-field.

In 1938 he began his teaching career in Ashland where he taught Agriculture and was basketball coach until 1942.  From 1942 to 1944 he held similar positions at A.C.I. in Mars Hill.  He came to Presque Isle High School in 1945 where he taught math, agriculture, driver education and coached JV boy’s basketball.  From 1968 until his death he was Asst. Principal at Presque Isle High School.  Mr. Keegan died April 15, 1977, at that time the Maine State Legislature issued a sentiment recognizing his contributions to the local community and the State of Maine.  His wife Madeline passed away December 23, 1999.