A few mornings ago, I was throwing batting practice to an old baseball friend and current Mens Senior Baseball Circuit Free Agent, Jay Sutton. Jay and I meet regularly to play catch and I pitch gopher balls to Jay, who puts charge after charge into the baseball still to this day. It is a fun 45 minutes to an hour of BP, what’s happening in Rhode Island baseball, MLB, local sports today and in years past. This past BP session, Jay and I were discussing who we felt were some of the great Rhode Island High School teams of our lifetimes – the Pilgrims, the Rogers, the West Warwicks, the LaSalles, the Hendrickens, the South Kingstowns, the Cranston teams, and more recently, the North Kingstown teams. Despite us both being NKHS alumni, we were up in the air as to which team could lay claim to the best of the past 50 years. There were so many great teams that Jay and I played for and against, and teams that Jay coached against. So many great players that went on to be professionals, coaches, and still contribute to Rhode Island baseball to this day. Pico, Maloney, D’Amato, Silva, Cahill, Hess, Giard, Rajotte, Baldelli, King – the list of great players just went on and on and that was awesome! It was such a fun conversation that I would like to extend to you, the Rhode Island Baseball Community.
Looking back statistically online, there have been well over 50 Rhode Island State Championships played since 1972 (there was no champion in the Covid 2020 Season.) Also, the alignment of teams for the state title was not as divisional as it is now. There were a lot more teams in the D1 state tournament years ago then there are now because RIIL has established teams to be in Division 1, Division 2, or Division 3. For example, Rogers, Mount Pleasant, Narragansett, Burrillville, West Warwick, North Smithfield, etc have all won Rhode Island State Baseball Titles in Division 2 and Division 3 Tournaments since 1972, just to rattle off a few schools. Teams with multiple titles also include the likes of Bishop Hendricken, South Kingstown, Cranston West, Cumberland, and St. Raphael’s Academy. To put it mildly, Rhode Island High School Baseball has been really, really good for the better part of 50 years and running!
So, I am on a quest to hear from you, the fans, the former or current players, the coaches, the Baseball Moms, the concession stand workers, the groundskeepers, anyone with a pulse on the Rhode Island baseball scene over the past 50 years. I want to hear who you would start pacing the hallway in front of your math class knowing you were playing this particular team in less than two hours. I want to know which team you scheduled extra batting practice for back in 1988. I want to know which team stood above all others you played against in the 2000s as the very best team you have ever seen. Stats matter, sure, but not as much as the eye test. You the players who played, you the parents who cheered and screamed, you the coaches who pulled your hair out in all those stressful games – I want to hear from you on who you think is the best Rhode Island High School Baseball team since 1972.
From the responses, I will put together an online tournament of champions for everyone to vote on. I hope to get 50 teams but will honestly settle for how many nominations come in. You will need to nominate a team and a year. For example, the 2021 North Kingstown High School team (see how I slipped that in!!!) And to make things even more interested, I am also asking for why you feel they are to be considered as one of the top teams of the last 50 years. Was it the players, their record, their dominance, their state title, their hitting, their pitching? And furthermore, if you have any team photos or newspaper clippings or Polaroids of your nominated team, please send them to me. I will post and share every bit of news and the photos as a fun recap of the last 50 years of Rhode Island High School Baseball.
Last but not least, I am planning on setting up shop in local coffee shoppes and places where they serve adult beverages and Buffalo Wings for the next 50 days or so to meet with you and learn why chose a certain team. Once I get the brackets in place, I will start asking for the fans to vote in a head to head matchup of teams. Then, on October 1st, which is a Saturday, I will reveal the final fan vote and the team that will (possibly) settle the debate as to who is the Best Rhode Island High School Baseball over the past 50 years. Stay tuned to my social media pages for where I will be and the times. And if you know a business that would like to host me and my debates, feel free to message me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
So without further delay and in your opinion, who is the Best Rhode Island High School Baseball team since 1972?
You can use the contact form or simply email me at email@example.com. And stay tuned to meet up with me to debate who you think should make the list!