Tom Caron looks back fondly on his soccer-playing days at Lewiston High. In his senior year, the Blue Devils advanced to the regional finals before losing to Greely. He was one of two goalkeepers on that team and, he’ll tell anyone who’s willing to listen, he still shares the school record for lowest goals-against average in a season.

But when Caron, now 57, is inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday in its 45th annual awards ceremony, he knows it won’t be because of his athletic career.

“Everybody who saw me play soccer in high school knows I don’t belong in the Hall of Fame for that,” he said. “I guess I talk a good game.”

That he does. Caron is the pre-game and post-game studio host on NESN for Boston Red Sox games. He also continues to do play-by-play for college hockey games.

But Caron, a Lewiston native, finds it “mind-boggling” that he is being inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Caron, who has written a weekly column for the Press Herald since 2007. “It’s quite an honor. It’s made me really appreciate the great history of sports in Maine. I’ve spent a lot of time the last couple of months looking up people who are already in the Hall of Fame and it’s an impressive group. I can’t imagine a bigger honor.”

The induction ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Merrill Auditorium in Portland. Caron will be joined by six other 2021 inductees, as well as nine inductees from 2020. That ceremony was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2021 inductees include: girls’ basketball coaches John Donato and Ed Feeney, trailblazing runner Robin Emery, UMaine and professional football player Matt Mulligan, basketball player/lawyer/Executive Director of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame Mary Mitchell Friedman and the late Leon Gorman.

The 2020 inductees include: Amy Bernatchez (field hockey), Cathy (Narsiff) Caron (ice hockey), Tony Fournier (karate), Merle Hallet (sailing), Lisa Kuronya Coombs (boxing), Marty Milligan (football), the late Don Richards (swimming), Carroll Ware (fly fishing) and Lindsay Whipple Kallas (tennis).

Caron began his career as a sportscaster in Plattsburg, New York, and moved on to a station in White River Junction, Vermont, before coming back to Maine to work at WGME in 1988. He worked alongside the legendary Frank Fixaris there and later became the play-by-play radio announcer for the Portland Pirates in 1993. The years with the Pirates, he said, were instrumental in his career.

“Those two years with the Pirates brought me back to why I love sports, following the arc of a season from start to finish,” he said.

He joined NESN in 1995 as the host of the show Front Row, eventually becoming the network’s first sideline reporter for Red Sox games. He did that for two years, starting such popular segments as “Not Your Typical Fan,” where he would go into the stands to interview people, before moving into the studio to host the pre- and post-game shows in 2004. “And they won the World Series,” he said. “And the rest is history.”

Through his years in Boston, Caron still maintains his Maine roots.

“I love Maine,” he said. “I’ve always tried to represent the state as best I could. A Boston championship belongs to anyone from Bangor or Lewiston or Portland as much as it does to Boston.

“And I’ve always tried to represent the state here in Boston as much as I can. I’m sure my producer got sick of me asking for every Ryan Flaherty hit to be in our highlight packages.”


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