Hubert S. “Billy” Shaw
Hubert S. “Billy” Shaw was an outstanding student athlete at Presque Isle High School. He was born January 23, 1916 to Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Shaw who resided on Park Street. He graduated from Gouldville School and entered Presque Isle High School in the fall of 1928. While attending high school he was an active member of the student body, including membership in the band, orchestra, glee club, debating team (which finished in the State finals) and student council; he participated in track and football for two years, and baseball four years. He was outstanding in baseball, playing an excellent defensive second base and the team’s offensive catalyst, developing a reputation as a dangerous and timely hitter. Shaw was also the 1932 class valedictorian. At the conclusion of his senior year he competed, through a competitive exam process for the $500 Maine Scholarship offered by Bowdoin College. The state was divided into eight regions and Shaw was the winner for the Aroostook Region.
Shaw along with Hal Cheney, Verdelle Clark and his brother, Walter Shaw, led the Wildcats to the Aroostook League Baseball Championship with a 9-1 record. He continued his outstanding baseball play in the Junior American Legion Baseball League, performing for the Presque Isle Midgets. The team was built around Shaw and Jack Goldstone, with Shaw dividing his time between first base and the pitchers mound.
Shaw entered Bowdoin College in the fall of 1932; while there he played half-back on the football team for two years and was a four year member of the baseball team, serving as captain his senior year. He figured prominently in leading Bowdoin to Maine’s intercollegiate baseball championship. During the summers of his college years he played for the Presque Isle Indians in the semi-pro Aroostook League. He was rewarded for his excellent play by being selected as one of the players in the state to play against the Boston Red Sox in Bangor in June, 1935 and was also one of the Aroostook All-stars that played against the Boston Braves the same summer in Houlton. He and teammate Hal Cheney played like seasoned veterans against the two professional teams. During his four years with the Presque Isle semi-pro team, Shaw had a lifetime batting average of well over .300 and was selected to the Aroostook League All-Star team four times.
In the summer of 1936 Shaw and Clarence Keegan of Robinson were invited to Baltimore to try out for the U.S. Olympic team. Amateur baseball stars from all sections of the country invaded Baltimore for the final tryouts. Selected players would represent the United States in the Amateur Baseball Olympic demonstration games in Berlin, Germany. After the Olympic games the team then traveled to Holland, Belgium, Paris and London for exhibition games. When tryouts were concluded, Linn S. Wills, Maine representative for the United States Amateur Baseball Congress, announced that both Shaw and Keegan had been selected to the U.S. Olympic team. Keegan played at third base and Shaw manned the first base bag. Fourteen players were selected from this group. They then traveled to New York where they were joined by another five ballplayers who were affiliated with Philadelphia’s Penn Athletic Club. The team embarked on the SS Manhattan on Wednesday, July 15.
On August 12, 1936 the largest crowd ever to see a baseball game in Europe or the United States, 100,000, jammed the Olympic Stadium to watch two American amateur teams play a demonstration game. The two teams were named the “World Champions” and the “U.S. Olympics”. The left-hand hitting Shaw batting third, had the honor of hitting the first homerun in Olympic play. He struck for an inside the park homerun with a man on base in the first inning of the game, giving the U.S.A. Olympics the early 2-0 lead in a game which the “Olympics” eventually lost 6-5. Shaw had two runs batted in during the contest. Bill Shaw returned home from Olympics play in late August, 1936, arriving in New York on the U.S. Roosevelt. Upon arriving home he immediately joined his Presque Isle Indian teammates for a game against the Danforth A. A. whom they defeated with Shaw collecting two hits, including a double. A “Bill Shaw Day” was planned to welcome home the local Olympic hero.
On Tuesday, July 31, 1984 six of the 1936 baseball Olympians met for a reception in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ stadium club. Shaw was unable to attend because of surgery and telephoned instead for a conversation with his teammates. Two nights later, the Los Angeles Angels played host to another gathering, introducing the honored guests via the stadium scoreboard during their game with the Minnesota Twins.
Hubert and his brother, Walter received their diplomas from Bowdoin June 20, 1936. Hubert received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, was captain of the varsity baseball team, State of Maine Scholar and senior class secretary. He was a member of the varsity baseball team, the band, the board of directors, the student council and the student council disciplinary committee. He was also a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity.