Who Is The Best Professional Baseball Player Ever To Be Born In Maine?
It may come as a surprise to even the most hardcore baseball fans to realize that over the course of Major League Baseball's history, 77 players who have played in the "big show" were also born in Maine. Amongst those players, there were several who had short stints or the proverbial cup of coffee with a major league squad. But there have also been several players that had stellar careers as well. So which Maine-born player's career was the best? Let's take a look at the contenders.
Bill Swift is Maine through and through. According to Baseball Almanac, he was born in Portland, went to high school in South Portland and played his college ball at the University of Maine. Swift was highly touted coming out of college, with the Seattle Mariners making him the 2nd overall pick in the 1984 amateur draft. Swift debuted in the majors a year later, and never quite found his footing with the Mariners. But he did find his footing when he moved on to the San Francisco Giants. Swift had a masterful run with the Giants, including a spectacular season in 1993, winning 21 games. Swift would have one more good season with San Francisco, before 4 iffy seasons with the Rockies brought his career to a close. He ended with 94 career wins and an ERA of 3.95.
You'll have to take the way-back machine to find details on Carrigan's career, but it's impressive and comes with several accolades. According to Baseball Almanac, Bill Carrigan was born in Lewiston, Maine and attended Lewiston High School. He broke into the major leagues at age 23, playing for the Boston Americans. Carrigan was considered a tough-as-nails catcher in his day, including the willingness to fight any other players he felt were disrespecting his team. Speaking of team, not only did he play for the eventual Red Sox, but he managed them while playing. He played/managed the Red Sox to consecutive World Series championships in 1915 and 1916. Babe Ruth called Carrigan "the best manager I ever played for".
Stanley should be familiar to Boston Red Sox fans because he spent his entire 13-year career with the team. According to Baseball Almanac, Stanley was born in Portland, Maine and picked 7th overall by the Red Sox in the 1974 draft. He went on to have an impressive career in Boston as both a starter and reliever. Stanley piled up impressive win totals earlier in his career, as relievers were used different in the 70's and early 80's. Later in Stanley's career, he became a more traditional "closer" and compiled large saves totals as well. He ended his career with 115 wins, 132 saves and a career ERA of 3.64 and he still remains the only Major League Baseball player born in Maine to be named to an All-Star team.
Several Maine-born players still continue to active professional baseball careers including Charlie Furbush, Tim Stauffer and Ryan Flaherty.