PEABODY — Peabody sports royalty has paid a visit to the school board.
Former Red Sox, Pirates, Cardinals and Dodger pitcher John Tudor is planning a four-day baseball clinic during next week’s school vacation, Tuesday Feb. 18, to Friday from 8 a.m. to noon, in the Peabody High field house for ages 7 to 12. Those interested in attending can respond by email to email@example.com.
Proceeds are earmarked for the high school baseball program, and Tudor was surprised to discover he’d be charged for the use of the field house. He went to the school board meeting to ask that the fee be waived, which it was.
Mayor Ted Bettencourt praised “one of the greatest athletes we’ve ever had in this city. ... A Peabody High School graduate who went on to do great things.”
Board member Jarrod Hochman recalled his youth in 1984 Brooklyn, where he managed to attend a now-legendary late-season game (sans ticket) between Tudor and Mets great “Doc” Gooden. Hochman sat on the stairs and felt the whole stadium shake. Gooden pitched a 9-inning shutout.
“You threw a 10-inning shutout,” Hochman told Tudor, enough to win. “That was the greatest game I ever saw.”
Tudor began the 1984 season with a 1-7 record. He ended it at 18-8, including 10 shutouts (among left-handers, only Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax had more). He helped drive the Cardinals to the World Series, where he won two games. Victory went to Kansas City, however, thanks to a still-lamented umpire’s call in Game 6.
“I had the pleasure of seeing John Tudor in his first game for the Boston Red Sox,” said member Dave McGeney. That was in 1979. Tudor was traded in 1983.
Committeeman Tom Rossignoll said that when he was a Peabody kid, “You were one of the gentlemen I looked up to.”
The baseball clinic has already attracted 21 kids, most from Peabody, Tudor said. “We want to keep them from doing the things I did as a kid, throwing snowballs at trucks,” he joked.
The clinic can accommodate 60 kids. The cost is $90 for four days, $75 for three. Having coached at Masconomet High School, Tudor, a Middleton resident, has held similar clinics there.
“I don’t do it for any other reason than that I love to do it,” he told the committee. He estimated that 70 percent of the proceeds will go to the baseball program. Veteran coach Dave Bettencourt and some Peabody High players will help.
School committeeman Ed Charest said, “Me and Brandi (Carpenter) are too ... young. We don’t remember you at all.”
Charest asked some tough questions, wondering, for example, if Tudor would charge money for autographs.
Tudor shook his head, insisting his autograph isn’t worth much.
“These kids don’t know who he is,” Hochman said.
That comment brought Beverley Griffin Dunne to exclaim, “If they’re from Peabody, they do.”
Alan Burke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.