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Like a glove

Doug McCrum can't shake passion for America's pastime

Created date

April 25th, 2010

With the ground thawing and the weather turning warm, Doug McCrum s mind instinctively turns to baseball. Taking one for the team Following his one-year stint in the minors, McCrum enlisted in the Navy. And after serving for two years, he returned home to get a college education and pursue the game he loved. Because I served, my education was paid for, McCrum explains. I enrolled at Springfield College and hoped to play for the college team. I had begun to practice with them when I learned that because I had signed a professional contract before, I couldn t just go back and play in college. I had to give it up or the team would have had to forfeit any games I played in. That wasn t right to them, so my college career was over. McCrum was quickly presented with another opportunity. A Philly scout asked me if I was interested in playing for them, he says. But I told him I had served in the military and already had my education paid for, so I wasn t leaving until I finished that.

Extra innings

While he was in college, McCrum found other places where he could pursue his love for the game that wouldn t take away from his academics. I was fortunate that a factory I worked for had a team that participated in the Queens Alliance, a Sunday double-header league, McCrum explains. So for three summers in a row, I worked in a factory all week long just to play ball on the weekends. After graduating from Springfield College with a degree in teaching, McCrum became an elementary school physical education teacher and continued to spread the news about the sport he loved. I taught a lot of sports, and I always made sure the kids knew the right rules, McCrum says. But I always really enjoyed the baseball chapter. Throughout his career teaching at a private school and later in the public school system, he spent his free time playing softball.

Still in the game

I was a die-hard Brooklyn Dodgers fan for years, says McCrum. But after they moved the team to L.A., I gave up on them; it was like they just deserted me. And even though I couldn t root for the Dodgers, I still couldn t bring myself to root for the Yankees either. So now I m a Mets fan. And his grandchildren are keeping him in the game electronically. I have played the video game [Nintendo] Wii Baseball with my 8-year-old grandson, but he s got my number there, McCrum says. Last time we played, I think he was beating me 15 to nothing after the first inning. But back on the real baseball field, McCrum hasn t lost a step. We had a home run derby at Seabrook last year to celebrate opening day that I didn t do too badly at, McCrum says modestly. In the event, McCrum hit more softballs out of the park than any other Seabrook resident or employee. I just love to play.