It’s been many years since Bill Wing toed the rubber and threw a fastball past a batter. But there are still those who remember what that was like.

“He threw very hard and he had excellent stuff,” lifelong friend Bill Haggett said. “He threw as hard as 99 perecent of the pitchers in Maine at that time.”

Wing, 80, will be among 11 inductees to the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame this Sunday at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland. He and his wife Sarah are flying up from Ooltewah, Tenn., where they’ve lived for more than 50 years. He expects at least 25 friends and relatives to attend the induction ceremony.

“I think it’s great,” Wing said. “I never expected it.”

Wing grew up playing baseball in Richmond and pitched for the high school before transferring to Morse High in Bath. That’s where he met Haggett, whose family he lived with while attending school.

Wing went on to play for Ricker College in Houlton then transferred to Colby College where he earned all-state honors as well as the Edward C. Roundy Award named for the former Colby coach. During one season at Colby, Wing notched pitching victories against Bates, Bowdoin and the University of Maine.

From there, Wing pitched for Houlton in the Maine-New Brunswick League. Many of the players in the league were furnished by the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

“It was a Class B league, according to scouts,” said Wing, who played there for three years.

Wing went to Boston to finish up some college credits, gained a tryout for the Red Sox at Fenway Park and was signed to a contract.

“They knew me down there,” Wing said of the Sox. “I guess they liked what they saw.”

Wing was assigned to Bluefield, W.Va. where he said the level of play was no greater than the Maine-New Brunswick League. His contract was later sold to Salem, Va., where he met his wife. They married in 1956.

“I’ve been down South ever since,” Wing said.

One season in the minors, Wing went 12-3.

“That’s an amzing record when you get into the pros,” Haggett said. “It would have been fascinating to see how far he would have gone as a professional baseball player. He could throw as hard as most major legauers.”

Wing stayed with the Red Sox organization for three years. He later got an offer from the St. Louis Cardinals but decided to enter the work force where he could earn far more that a minor league baseball player at the time. He got a job as a sales engineer at General Electric and stayed with the company for 37 years until his retirement in 1993. He has two children and three grandchildren.

Wing still has relatives in central Maine. His dad Albert “Bing” Wing was a standout athlete at Edward Little High School and ran town baseball and basketball teams in Richmond.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

 

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