Saturday, April 9, 2016

Gerry Berthiaume, Loved It - 28

Gerry Berthiaume put in long hours with the New Britain Red Sox. Others did, too.

The club's vice president and general manager did whatever was needed. He'd even sometimes work the concession stands, according to The New York Times in 1991.

"You really get to know the fans when you're the general manager of a minor league ball club," Berthiaume told The Times.

Berthiaume got to know a lot of fans over his career in minor league baseball, both a brief career as a player and a long career as a minor league general manager.

Berthiaume spent a season in the minors as a outfielder and 15 seasons with New Britain as GM.

Berthiaume's career in baseball began in 1975, signed by the Reds out of the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham.

He played that season at rookie Billings. He got into 24 games, hitting .293 in 75 at bats. He stole one base and knocked in two runs. He also got into one game on the mound for Billings, giving up one earned in two innings of work.

Berthiaume didn't return to get into a second season, but he soon returned to the game. He started work for minor league owner Joe Buzas in 1982, then arrived in New Britain as general manager the next year.

Berthiaume oversaw upgrades to New Britain's Beehive Field in 1988 that he hoped would improve attendance figures, according to The Times.

''We'd like to go over 100,000 this season,'' Berthiaume told The Times that May. ''We think we have a lot to offer: a nice ball park and a chance for fans to see stars of the future at good prices.''

Berthiaume continued with the club through 1999. Starting that season, The Hartford Courant described the general manager as helping to dry the field after a sudden storm, among his other duties as GM.

"People think I'm crazy," Berthiaume told The Courant. "I love it. It's in my blood."

Berthiaume has since gone into other areas, including working with youth in the Hartford area. In 2015, the Maine-native was inducted in to the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame.

Note: The New Britain Red Sox "The Staff" card includes no identifying information, however form from left to right is general manager Gerry Berthiaume, assistant general manager John Kameisha and business manager Steve Archibald. Berthiaume kindly identified each after a Greatest 21 Days email inquiry.
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,328
Made the Majors: 965-41.5%
Never Made Majors:1,363-58.5%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 401
10+ Seasons in the Minors:242

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