Saying so long to `Postie'
Saying so long to `Postie’
In the recreation sports cycle, teams come and go with regularity. Players switch teams, players retire, teams lose sponsors and the beat goes on. Therefore, while it was a bit surprising when the Thomaston Spoilers called it a day recently after 25 seasons in the Tri-State Baseball League, there was almost a sense of inevitability to it all.
But the Spoilers’ ending deserves more than a brief it was a nice run and let’s move on reaction. No more Spoilers means no more Dave Post and that goes beyond the folding of a team.
The 55-year old `Postie’ is as recognizable figure as the Tri-State League has ever had. For all the stars that have graced the area fields as part of the long-running circuit and there have been many over the decades, it is the squat figure with the big left-handed swing and bigger passions that everyone knows.
One part very good baseball player in his younger days, one part organizer and leader, one part cantankerous, one part big-hearted, he has been a passionate character in the game he loves.
Current league President Ed Gadomski, who has had his ups and downs with Post, admits, “He has been a big part of our league. Dave has been the most loved and hated in our league.”
Everybody has a Dave Post story. He is legendary for smacking himself in the helmet with his bat, usually about the size of a telephone pole, after missing a pitch or striking out. And we’re not talking love taps here. Some of the shots he gave himself would have knocked out King Kong.
He wrestled with a heckler a few years back and was given a vacation by Commissioner Gadomski. He has seen a load of players come and go and not always happily. There has always been a mercurial nature fueled by the love of the game that adds to the legend.
He is a man of immense passions - for the game, for his partner in this lifelong baseball experience and life in general, his wife Lucy, who has been with him every base hit of the way and has been battling cancer for seven years.
When Field of Dreams came out it reduced him to tears. When he felt like his Spoilers weren’t getting enough newspaper coverage, he called me, a lifelong friend and Little League teammate, and went on to say that our sports staff at the Register Citizen had our heads stuck somewhere where the sun doesn’t shine.
Post wrote a letter to the editor of his hometown newspaper in Thomaston to announce the disbanding of the Spoilers and then went on to thank so many that had spurred on his baseball interest at a young age.
He has never forgotten and always cared, maybe sometimes too much but never not enough.
Post long ago separated himself from just being one of the hundreds of players with a pair of spikes and a glove who have called the Tri-State diamonds home over the years. Playing the game was only part of the equation.
He kept baseball alive in Thomaston when he formed the Spoilers in 1985 and it wasn’t easy. Players often opted to follow Thomaston High’s baseball coach at the time, Gregg Hunt, and go to Bethlehem to play for the Plowboys. It was a battle Post fought and often lost through the years as the pipeline to Bethlehem continued right up through today. Other Thomaston teams formed from players who left his team.
Yet Post persevered. He found other players. An occasional Thomaston High graduate who didn’t make the trek to Bethlehem, a lot of players from Terryville, Billy Quartiero and Scott Arigoni from Torrington who helped put a championship on the Spoilers’ resume.
The Spoilers won a couple of titles and were always competitive, seemingly always in the mix.
But, it goes beyond his Spoilers. Gadomski will tell you.
“If not for Dave, I’m not sure the Tri-State League would still be around,’ Gadomski said. “When the league was down to about half a dozen teams in the late 1980s and early `90s and no one was around, it was Dave who took it over and kind of kept it alive.”
According to Gadomski there is a book coming out this summer about baseball parks with covered grandstands. One of the parks mentioned is Bristol’s Muzzy Field. When authors of the book came to talk to the Tri-State League about Muzzy, they did some research and the one person they wanted to talk to was Dave Post.
Post went to his last Tri-State meeting last week. Under his jacket he had his Spoilers shirt on. During the meeting he told those in attendance – “This is the last time you will see me take off the Spoilers uniform.” Then he proceeded to take off his shirt.
“We all clapped,” Gadomski said. “He had a tear in his eye and I’ll admit, I had a tear in mine. I played for the Spoilers.”
Teams come and go. Figures like Dave Post only come along once in a great while. The loss of a team in a recreation league may not be a big deal to many. But the departure of Dave Post from the Tri-State League is a very big deal.
The league without `Postie’ just doesn’t seem right. He has been a rich part of its history. The ending is noted. With sadness and a thanks.