SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

November 16, 2012

Smerczynski inducted into N.E. Babe Ruth Hall of Fame

(Continued)

Matanes spoke about how Smerczysnki not only recruited the boy for his team, but established a lifelong relationship with the family, who eventually produced a son who became a sports announcer for NECN. That TV sports personality is Chris Collins, who later played for Smerczynski and Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett on Murphy’s Whips.

“It only made sense to me at the time,” Smerczynski said. “Collins was a half-decent ballplayer, and it seemed like the logical thing to do. His father (the late Arthur Sr.) played ball for the Boston entry in the Negro Pro Baseball League after going to Boston College on a track scholarship.”

In addition, Smerczynski founded Lou Gehrig Baseball so no youngster who wanted to keep playing after Little League would be left out. He also did the scheduling for both leagues.

In 1978, Smerczynski was asked to coach the Peabody West Senior Babe Ruth team, and once again the victories far outnumbered the losses.

Matanes described him as a “coach’s coach,” somebody who not only knew the game, but cared deeply about all his players. What they did off the field was just as important as their feats on the diamond, and he helped many of them get into college.

Former Babe Ruth state commissioner Dan Lynch asked Smerczynski to help recruit more teams in eastern Massachusetts, and he worked tirelessly at the job. He went on to coach Murphy’s Whips in the North Shore Baseball League and also the Swampscott Sox.

Former Peabody Mayor Peter Torigian appointed Smerczynski to the city’s Park Commission.

One of the things Smerczynski enjoys most these days is watching his grandchildren play sports. Sean Smerczynski is a three-year starter at linebacker for the 8-1 St. John’s Prep football team.

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