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Rehoboth Youth Baseball & Softball Association (RYBSA) -- 42 Martin Street, Rehoboth MA 02769 -- PO Box 586

Rehoboth Youth Baseball & Softball

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This new section of our site is intended to capture the history of the league and contributions of those who have helped make it was it is today.  We are just getting started and looking for contributions from the community to help.  Please share any memories, photos, stories, or info you have from the league's past so we can include it.  Please send them to Chuck at [email protected]

 

2010-Present

 

2000's

 

1990's

 

1980's

 

Founding

Everett “Red” McPhillips

            Visitors entering the Rehoboth Baseball Association complex on Martin Street will surely notice a large welcoming sign attached to the concessions building dedicated to Everett “Red” McPhillips. My daughter-in-law, ordering hot dogs and pizza for her hungry sons after a game, has occasionally overheard people remark, “Who is Everett McPhillips?” Understandably, since “Red” (his family still calls him “Ev”) retired to Citrus Hills, Florida (his beloved golf paradise  in 1994)  his ever-present visibility has dramatically diminished, leaving many to wonder how Rehoboth’s splendid baseball facility ever became a reality. It is not hyperbolic to claim that without Red’s tireless and unselfish dedication to the Rehoboth Baseball Association the Martin Street complex might still remain an unsatisfied vision. His unflagging energy and capacity to dream where others could not became the motivating force that transformed Rehoboth’s limited recreational resources. Every Rehoboth child who ever stepped on our Little League’s field of dreams owes the man gratitude for his generous contribution to their youth.

            So just how did Red accomplish his miracle? He didn’t achieve it alone; numberless others joined Red in his crusade. From the beginning of his involvement with Little League baseball when he assisted Steve Carpenter who coached a minor division team, he never ceased his remarkable commitment until the day he left for Florida twenty-two years later. He coached, served as Vice President of the Minor Division, later as President of the Major Division and later the Rehoboth Baseball Association. Not satisfied with his already demanding commitments, he frequently volunteered for umpiring duty for the minors and the majors, petitioned selectmen and the Army Corps of Engineers for help on the development of the Martin St. project, all the while cajoling coaches and parents to join him in his crusade to transform a very modest program.

            Red recently discussed with me his early involvement beginning in 1972, one that ballooned into a passionate effort to improve the association’s limitations.  Before he assumed the Vice Presidency of the Minor Division, he spoke of the modest beginnings of the league, a time when disposable funding was scarce and mothers like Shelia Berwick, Rita Gonsalves and Eleanor Anghinetti sold soft drinks and candy from the trunks of their cars. Grange Field, situated then at the corner of routes 44 and 118 next to the Mobil station, serviced only half of the Major and Minor league schedule, the remainder were played variously at Beckwith, Palmer River and Cedarbrook fields. The association desperately needed to raise money in order to support continued growth and, eventually, the possibility of securing its own land. Sometime in 1978, Red, Eddie Gruca, Jimmy Amaral and Herb Aldous agreed to build a small 12x14 hut where refreshments could be sold at Grange Field, enabling them to offer a small summer all-star tournament. The hut was built, and the first Rehoboth Baseball Tournament began in 1979 with four teams: Rehoboth, Stoughton, Attleboro and Walpole. The fee for participation was $25, and the unassuming little tournament ran for four years.

            The year 1978 saw Red assuming the role of league president and his unremitting efforts to expand and improve the league. He began negotiations with the Rehoboth Parks and Recreation Department which had rights to the Martin Street property, a rough, unused, stone-filled area next to the landfill.  He asked me and others to join him in our petition to a Selectman’s meeting in the spring,  Red sought to have the land turned over to the Rehoboth Baseball Association, provided the league would carry out its promise to build a baseball field there. Later we would return to the Selectmen, armed with a Federal grant we had written for permission to allow Major Sanders of the Army Corps of Engineers National Guard Unit to begin site preparation. The Corps also transported the Nike Site building, purchased by the league for only one dollar as part of the grant, to Martin Street. The transfer required some extraordinary labor. The building was literally cut in half, then in two separate trips on a military flatbed gingerly made its way from North Rehoboth to its present location.  Looking back at that moment, Red confessed it was a very difficult undertaking given the limited money and resources then available to the league. Yet his magical touch soon made the difficult seem possible as he orchestrated numerous steps to build the first field.     

            Swiftly, with the skill of a commanding general, he marshaled his volunteer army of coaches, parents, and others passionately committed to making the Martin Street project a reality.  He secured heavy construction equipment from Frank Ferreira’s company to augment the contribution of the Corp of Engineers and scheduled coaches’ work parties to dig and rake boulders and stones.  The Martin Street beginnings were a cooperative labor of love and, surprisingly, slowly began to transform the site, revealing its enormous possibilities. Art Shriner, a minor league coach and engineer, appeared on the site with his transit to plot the field dimensions.  Ed Gruca, Dave Quigley, Jimmy Amaral, Gus Neilson, Milt Waterman, George Berwick, Don Welshman, Al St. John, Russ Latham, Jack Coleman, Jack Hoskins, Jimmy Blyth, Joe Hamilton and others worked industriously to make the field ready for the 1979 season.  Hardly comparable to today’s almost professional condition, the original field represented a proud accomplishment. To paraphrase an oft used expression – it takes a village to build a fine recreation facility.

            Finally, the Rehoboth Baseball Association could begin to consolidate its scheduling and provide a venue which would eventually permit the construction of more fields and, most importantly, a larger summer tournament which proved a crucial revenue source for the association. The early years remained dependent on volunteers like Joe Cunha who umpired countless games and coaches obligated to rake the infield, hand mow the grass and umpire. The Nike-concession building had to be staffed by mothers who cooked hot dogs, hamburgers, soft drinks and candy. But the foundation of today’s handsome complex had been laid by these efforts. During those years of growth, Red also negotiated the purchase of a $14,000 tractor; and secured an $8000 charity promotion for the league sponsored by Oscar Meyer, Valueland, Great Scott and Big G, a grant far outstripping any past funding efforts.   By the time Red left for Florida in 1994, the complex had blossomed into four fields, a girl’s softball field, a summer tournament of twenty-four teams and a very profitable concession stand. Is it any wonder why the large complex sign bears the dedicatory name of Everett “Red” McPhillips? The next time you visit Martin Street, reflect a bit on his enormous contribution to Rehoboth’s youth.

Submitted by Paul W. Anghinetti in 2016

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Rehoboth Youth Baseball & Softball Association (RYBSA)

RYBSA, PO Box 586
Rehoboth, Massachusetts 02769

Email Us: [email protected]
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