Hiring Of This Rookie Coach -- Age 63 -- Is Good Decision

SIDELINES

March 31, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

It was by chance that Archbishop Spalding landed a gentleman with a wealth of baseball knowledge this week in Tommy Lind to coach the Cavaliers' baseball team.

Lind is an ex-pro shortstop and member of the sports Hall of Fame at both Mount St. Joseph High and Loyola College in Baltimore.

He once played in the same minor league with Hall of Famer Frank Robinson and on the same team with one-time Orioles' center fielder and all-time flake Jackie Brandt.

Lind, who resides in Crofton and is an Annapolis mortgage banker, replaces rookie coach Steve Miller of Hyattsville. It was one former middle infielder pinch-hitting for another middle infielder.

Athletic Director Domenic Pachence made agood decision in naming Lind head baseball coach.

Miller, an ex-minor league infielder who played at DeMatha High and the University of Maryland, was named the Cavaliers' head coach back in the fall, succeeding Pachence. Pachence wanted to concentrate on his duties as athletic director.

Unfortunately for Miller, he had to give up his first high school head coaching job before coaching a game. Miller's full-time work schedule prevented him from continuing as coach.

So, Lind became a rookie head high school coach at a "young" 63, and I say young because he has kept his hand in the game as coach of the Cheverly American Legion team in Bowie, Prince George's County, for the last 20 years, and has lost none of his enthusiasm and ability to communicate.

There is no question that men who stay involved in the great game of baseball never seem to age. Once a "boy of summer," always "a boy of summer."

"On Sunday night, Steve (Miller) asked (Spalding assistant) Mike Locastro to call me and see if I would be interested in the job, since job pressures were forcing him to resign," saidLind.

"He knew that Locastro knew me well. Mike had played for meat Cheverly American Legion about 10 years ago. I told him I would take it if they worked everything out with Domenic and the administration."

Lind, who was one of several outstanding baseball people interviewed for the job back in the fall, was at practice Monday. He wasintroduced to the players by Miller.

Tuesday, Lind coached his first game and the Cavs dropped a 5-4 heart-breaker to Gilman, the Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference defending champion.

The Cavs, who were 9-12 a year ago under Pachence, presented Lind on Thursday with his first victory, 10-2, over Atholton of Howard County.

"It was good to get that one, because when we get into our league schedule in the MSA, it's not going to be easy, and I don't know if we have enough pitching to survive," laughed Lind. "But Atholton only lost by 4-3 to Mount St. Joe before they played us."

The Gaels are annually an MSA A Conference contender and one of the top teams in the Baltimore metro area along with defending champion Calvert Hall. Those teams are familiar to Lind, who over the years frequently has gone to watch his alma mater play.

A product of East Baltimore's hotbedof soccer, Lind grew up a stone's throw from Patterson Park, playing soccer and baseball. He entered Mount St. Joe his junior year, but didn't play baseball until his senior year.

Lind became an impact player in soccer his first year with the Gaels and was named All-Maryland both seasons. Brother George, who was the baseball coach at St. Joe when Lind entered, didn't know much about him and kept him on theJV the first year.

His senior year, Lind became the starting second baseman and was named All-Maryland at the position. About three years ago, Mount St. Joseph named Lind to its Hall of Fame.

Two years before that, he had been named to the Loyola College Hall of Fame. His Loyola career in soccer (All-League for three years) and baseballwas unique, to say the least.

Lind played professional baseball before he played at Loyola. He had signed with the Boston Braves out of high school at age 17 and because the National League club didn't have any roster openings in its minor-league chain, he worked out withthe varsity that summer.

Living at the Boston residence of Jeff Jones, the scout who signed him, Lind worked out daily with the Braves' major-league club until Uncle Sam came calling during World War II.

After that unique one year of pro baseball, Lind joined the Navy and served 20 months near San Diego. His baseball ability kept him onthe West Coast playing for the U.S. Navy team.

"He had good range, an excellent arm and hit the ball hard," said veteran Evening Sun columnist John Steadman, who has Lind to thank for his opportunity as a catcher in pro baseball.

"I signed with the Pirates off the Legion Gaels team because the scout, John 'Poke' Whalen, came to see Tommy. Lind had already signed with Boston, so he signed me instead."

Upon his military release, Lind tried to get into Holy Cross, Worcester, Mass., but the baseball team was full. So, he took a boring job filing cards for the IRS and played in a college league in Vermont.

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