Best Baseball Team Of All Time?


Arundel '76, Old Mill '89 Or Northeast '91: It's A Close Call

May 31, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

Speed and great pitching epitomized the 1976 Arundel High School baseball team (22-1), while power and pitching symbolized the 1989 Old Mill (20-1) and '91 Northeast (24-0) teams.

Each was a state champion, and as promised I'm going to attempt to determine which of the three was the best ever in the county and maybe state history as well.

There are few who will disagree that those three teams were the best this county has ever produced.

Mind you, baseball fans, this is one man's opinion, but it is an, ahem, educated one because this reporter has been fortunate enough to see all three play. To analyze the trio and say which one was the team of all time in Anne Arundel County is not going to be easy.

It's always tough to compare teams, but at the same time it's always fun to do. It makes for great conversation and debate. If you have an opinion, please feel free to give mea call on my 24-Hour Sportsline, 647-2499.

Since it is tough to compare clubs, especially state champions, let's do it by giving me the chance to be the manager of the best team ever. And now that I am skipper, I now have the choice of selecting a dream team of 20 players-- five pitchers, two catchers, eight infielders and five outfielders from the three teams.

Starting with the pitching staff, I would take arguably the greatest duo in county history in Neal Herrick and Frank Parreira of '76 Arundel; Old Mill's dynamic right-left combo ofChris Brewer and Mark Foster; and Charlie Buckheit of this year's unbeaten Northeast team.

Craig Everett of '91 Northeast will be included among the outfielders, but could be the sixth pitcher on this dream team, but his value would be swinging the bat.

Herrick was thecounty's all-time winning pitcher at 29-4 before Buckheit passed himthis year with a career record of 30-3. Herrick could "bring it" -- to put it in pitcher's vernacular -- and also had a great curveball, change and pretty good slider.

The classy former Wildcat right-hander was good enough that veteran scout Walter Youse, then with the California Angels, drafted him on the 12th round in 1977, but Herrick instead accepted a baseball scholarship to the University of Maryland at College Park.

Playing for Youse's nationally known Johnny's of Baltimore 19-and-under team and for the Terps, Herrick developed intoan outstanding hitter/outfielder with 6.9 speed in the 60-yard --. By his third year, Herrick was drafted on the seventh round by the Baltimore Orioles.

Late Orioles' scouting supervisor Dick Bowie signed Herrick, who played a couple of years ofminor league baseball, the last at Class A Hagerstown, before being released.

In the Wildcats' inaugural state championship year of '76, Herrick went 12-0 in whatwas his junior year.

Parreira, his senior partner, went 9-1 with a county and state record four shutouts and two no-hitters. This guy was as slick as any pitcher to ever toe the rubber in this county.

Blessed with a big-league curveball, Parreira also had pretty good velocity, a slider and change. He had great command of all four pitches and had that sixth sense known as baseball savvy.

Parreira couldoutthink hitters like a pro among little boys, not to mention a presence (that Herrick also possessed) that defied his high school age.

Going out with a state championship in his senior year, Parreira went on to become a Division II All-American at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and later got a brief stint in the Minnesota Twins farm system in 1980.

Herrick and Parreira also shared third base whennot pitching and turned in more than adequate jobs fielding and hitting. Herrick, who had four home runs in his high school career and a .597 slugging clip his senior year, was the better hitter, while Parreira, with five career sacrifices, was the better bunter.

An example of how these two guys could outsmart you came in the semifinals ofthe '76 tournament against Bel Air High of Harford County. A Bel Airhitter lofted a high fly to right field in the sixth, deep enough toscore the runner from third and tie the game at 1-1.

As the guy was tagging up at third with no chance of being thrown out, Parreira,playing third, noticed that the third-base coach had the runner facing home waiting for the green light from his coach instead of watching the outfielder catch it.

So, the guy was waiting for the coach to yell "go," and yes, Parreira hollered "go" before the ball was caught. Right fielder Dennis Hanratty's throw promptly was relayed to Parreira who stepped on the bag and it was a double play -- the runner obviously left too soon.

Arundel won that semifinal, 1-0, and wenton to take its first of a record five state titles under Coach Bernie Walter.

Old Mill's Brewer was the1989 Player of the Year after going 10-0 and also hitting .376 with 23 RBI for that powerhouse. The Patriots' right-hander teamed up with Foster, the only lefty on this dream team, to give Old Mill its version of Herrick and Parreira.

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