M. Milton MacBride was born in Easton, Maine, the son of James and Iva (Hoyt) MacBride. He attended Easton High School, enrolled in the college program and was very involved in a number of school activities. MacBride was an outstanding athlete, participating in baseball four years (three year captain) and basketball for three years (three year captain). He was also president of his class as a freshman and sophomore, served as secretary-treasurer of the Athletic Association for three years, and was a member of the English Owls and the yearbook editorial board his senior year.
As a basketball player MacBride possessed wonderful shooting ability and was a terrific defensive player. His senior year in baseball yielded a .549 batting average. McBride, also an excellent catcher, was selected to the All-County baseball team.
After graduation in 1930 he attended Ricker Classical Institute in Houlton where he played basketball and was introduced to football. He also captained both teams while at Ricker.
MacBride continued his education at the University of Maine at Orono in the fall of 1931. He played freshman basketball and was named team captain and played both forward and guard and led the team in scoring. He also played half-back on the freshman football team, emerging as its leading rusher. He served as catcher on the frosh baseball team and hit well over .350
He was active in school government and demonstrated his character when he refused the highest honor of his classmates when elected President of the UMO freshman class. Despite receiving two-thirds of his classmate’s votes, he resigned the presidency because his name was put on the ballot against his wishes.
During his sophomore year McBride was elected class president and focused on football and baseball, even though many considered him to be the best basketball player on campus. It did not take him long to emerge as one of the leading runners on the football team, playing in what was called the “Pony Backfield.” As a result of his elusive running style he was quickly nicknamed the ‘pony express.” On his first carry against the University of Rhode Island he scampered for fifteen yards. Even though he did not play football in high school, he became so outstanding at UMO that he was later nicknamed the “Easton Express.” In 1933 and 1934 he was selected All-Maine halfback. He was the teams leading rusher during the 1933 season and was elected captain his senior season. Colby Coach Eddie Roundy described him as “… one of the finest backs in the country.” In 1955 Bangor Daily News columnist, Owen Osborne, listed MacBride as a member of the All Time, All Maine Football Team.
MacBride also excelled in baseball and was the starting catcher for the Black Bears until their shortstop broke his fingers and he was then moved to short-stop; he also starred at third base. During his sophomore year he was the second leading hitter with an average of .400 and was selected to North-Eastern University’s All-Opponent team. He continued his excellent defensive and offensive play his junior and senior seasons, batting .330 and .375 respectively. Baseball Head Coach Fred Brice called MacBride the greatest athlete he had seen during his 14 year tenure at Maine.
In 1935 McBride was selected to the Maine All-Star team that played the Boston Braves at Bass Park in Bangor. In 1937 he continued to demonstrate his baseball skills as a member of the semi-pro Batavia Bees in New York and was selected to the sixteen member New York All-State Semi-pro baseball team. The star shortstop gained notoriety for his sensational play in the Niagara Falls tournament. His selection was approved by the All-National Semi-Pro Baseball Congress. He continued to play semi-pro baseball for five years.
MacBride has been considered by many in Northern Maine to have been the best all-around athlete ever produced in “The County.” Several daily newspapers reported that “Mr. MacBride is certainly one of the most successful all-round athletes ever to attend the University.
However, his talents extended far beyond the baseball and football fields. He was elected to the athletic board, selected vice-president of the athletic association, elected to Alpha Zeta, honorary agriculture fraternity and was named winner of a prominent scholarship. He was one of the founders and first president of the varsity “M” Club, elected president of the Senior Skulls and president of the Intramural A. A. Upon his graduation in 1935 he was presented the Washington Alumni Association watch which was given to the male in the senior class considered to have contributed most to the university. MacBride majored in the College of Agriculture.
He continued to display his leadership as a first lieutenant with the U.S. Field Artillery in the European Theatre of World War II as he was cited with three Battle Stars, the Bronze Star and Croix de Guerre with palm. His citation for the Bronze Star read as follows: “Lieutenant MacBride, with complete disregard for his personal safety, remained at his post until he located and placed fire upon the enemy battery, this duty being performed with cool deliberation under heavy fire. The leadership, courage, high regard for his men and devotion to duty displayed by Lieutenant MacBride is in keeping with the highest traditions of the service.”
MacBride was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in its inaugural class in 1977.
His private life began with the Federal Land Bank in Springfield, Mass. He later was president of MacBride and Hoyt, Inc., the president and general manager of Easton Potato Enterprises, owner and operator of MacBride Seed Farms, and for many years he managed the Agway Seed Marketing Program.
MacBride died in 1975; his wife, Mary (Hussey) MacBride, is deceased, his daughter Barbara (MacBride) Bishop and her husband Frank reside in Presque Isle. His son Milton MacBride Jr., an excellent athlete at Presque Isle High School, resides in Yarmouth with his wife Nancy. MacBride has six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
I wish to thank the Easton High School library, University of Maine Presque Isle library, Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library and the MacBride family for providing me information and photos.