Jack Butterfield (baseball)

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Jack Butterfield
Sport(s) Baseball
Biographical details
Born (1929-08-05)August 5, 1929
Died November 16, 1979(1979-11-16) (aged 50)
Alma mater University of Maine '53
Playing career
1951-1953 Maine
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1956
1957–1974
1975–1976
Maine (asst.)
Maine
South Florida
Head coaching record
Overall 301-193-3
Tournaments NCAA: 5-2
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
NCAA Regional (1964)
4 Yankee Conference (1964 – outright; 1960, 1966, 1970 – shared)
8 Maine State Series (1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1974 – outright; 1960, 1966, 1969 – shared)
Awards
1964 NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year
Maine Sports Hall of Fame[1]

John "Jack" Butterfield (August 5, 1929–November 16, 1979) was an American college baseball coach and professional baseball executive. Butterfield grew up in Westborough, Massachusetts and played college baseball for Maine in the early 1950s and later was the head coach at Maine and South Florida. In the late 1970s, he became an executive in the New York Yankees organization before he died in a car crash in November 1979.[2][3][4]

Coaching career[edit]

Maine[edit]

Butterfield's coaching career began at Maine in 1956, when he assisted head coach Walter Anderson and coached the school's junior varsity team. For the 1957 season, Butterfield was named the head coach. He held the position from 1957–1974 and compiled an overall record of 240-169-2.[2]

Maine's best season under Butterfield was 1964, when the team went 21-8 and won the Yankee Conference outright to qualify for the program's first NCAA Tournament. In the best-of-three District 1 Regional held in Boston, Maine swept Northeastern in two games to advance to the College World Series. There, Maine won its opening game against Seton Hall, 5-1, before dropping its second to Minnesota, 12-0. In the loser's bracket, the Black Bears defeated Arizona State and USC but were eliminated by Missouri and finished third.[2] Butterfield was named NCAA Coach of the Year, and Joe Ferris was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.[5]

In Butterfield's 17 seasons at Maine, the team won eight Maine State Series (a competition between Maine, Bowdoin, Colby, and Bates) and shared three other Yankee Conference titles, but did not qualify for another NCAA Tournament.[2]

Butterfield's players at Maine included Major Leaguers John Cumberland and Bert Roberge, college head coach Jack Leggett, baseball executive Bill Livesey, and New York Yankees manager Carl "Stump" Merrill. Butterfield coined Merrill's nickname during his freshman season in 1963.[2][6][7][8]

South Florida[edit]

Following the 1974 season, Butterfield left Maine to become the head coach at South Florida (USF), in part due to tension with Maine's administration over the program's funding. He coached at USF for two season (1975–1976) and had an overall record of 61-24-1. At USF, future Toronto Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca was Butterfield's equipment manager.[9][10][3][11]

Head coaching record[edit]

Below is a table of Butterfield's yearly records as a collegiate head baseball coach.[2][9]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Maine (Yankee Conference) (1957–1974)
1957 Maine 6-14 3-5 T-3rd
1958 Maine 12-9 5-3 3rd
1959 Maine 12-8 7-3 2nd
1960 Maine 12-8 8-2 T-1st
1961 Maine 9-13-1 2-6-1 5th
1962 Maine 9-14 5-5 3rd
1963 Maine 9-12 4-5 4th
1964 Maine 21-8 8-2 1st College World Series
1965 Maine 14-7 6-4 T-3rd
1966 Maine 15-9-1 7-3 T-1st
1967 Maine 15-7 5-5 T-3rd
1968 Maine 10-9 3-7 T-4th
1969 Maine 12-12 6-4 T-2nd
1970 Maine 18-6 8-2 T-1st
1971 Maine 16-12 6-9 3rd
1972 Maine 20-7 8-4 T-2nd
1973 Maine 15-9 4-4 3rd
1974 Maine 15-5 4-3 T-3rd
Maine: 240-169-2 99-76-1
South Florida (1975–1976)
1975 South Florida 29-12
1976 South Florida 32-12-1
South Florida: 61-24-1
Total: 301-193-3

      National champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

Professional baseball[edit]

In 1976, Butterfield left USF at the request of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner to become a scout for New York. The following year, he was named the organization's Director of Player Development and Scouting, a position he served in for the next three seasons.[3][12][13]

Death[edit]

Early on November 16, 1979, Butterfield was killed in a car crash in Paramus, New Jersey. His car crashed into a street sweeper stopped on the side of road. Steinbrenner said of his death: "The magnitude of our loss cannot be expressed in words. He was the epitome of what you'd look for in a teacher of young men."[3][4]

Personal[edit]

Family[edit]

Butterfield's son, Brian, played for him at Maine for one season and is currently a Major League Baseball coach for the Boston Red Sox. Brian has also spent time as a coach with the Toronto Blue Jays and in the Yankees and Diamondbacks minor league systems.[14][15][16] Butterfield's brother, Jim, assisted him at Maine from 1957–1959 and later became the head football coach at Ithaca. Jim was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.[2][17]

Awards named after[edit]

Following Butterfield's death in 1979, two awards were named for him. At Maine, the Jack Butterfield Memorial Scholarship is given to baseball players who "have demonstrated academic proficiency, athletic leadership and the high ideals and standards" of Butterfield. Past recipients include Major Leaguers Mike Bordick, Mark Sweeney, Bill Swift, and Larry Thomas.[18] Also, the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) gives the Jack Butterfield Award to a coach who exhibits "integrity and dedication to the game." Past recipients include Maine's John Winkin, Vermont's Bill Currier, and Northeastern's Neil McPhee.[19][20][21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Maine Sports Figures Honores". SeacoastOnline.com. Associated Press. June 1, 2009. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Baseball". Archived from the original on June 20, 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d Johnston, Joey (June 2, 2009). "Wake-Up Call: Rays' Longoria Riding High". TBO.com (The Tampa Tribune). Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Standout Maine Coach Killed in Auto Crash". Lewiston Journal (Lewiston, ME, USA). November 17, 1979. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  5. ^ Warner, Pete (May 16, 2014). "'The Darlings of the Tournament': UMaine's 1964 College World Series Team Returns to Orono for 50th Reunion". BangorDailyNews.com. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  6. ^ Traughber, Bill (May 9, 2011). "Looking Back: Former Sounds Manager Stump Merrill". MILB.com. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  7. ^ O'Connell, Jack (October 7, 1991). "Is It Over for Merrill?: Decision Likely Today". Courant.com (Hartford Courant). Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Alumni Profiles - Bill Livesey". UMaine.edu. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "USF Year-by-Year Records: 1970-1979". GoUSFBulls.com. USF Athletic Communications. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  10. ^ Madden, Bill (June 9, 2002). "They Can Bank on Yanks". NYDailyNews.com. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  11. ^ Ferris, Joseph L. (October 13, 1987). "Maine Baseball Book a Sure Hit with Black Bear Fans". Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on July 20, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2014. 
  12. ^ Osborne, Owen (February 11, 1977). "Jack Butterfield Gets Top Yankee Job". Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME, USA). p. 20. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  13. ^ Roberts, Robin; Rogers III, Paul C. (2003). My Life in Baseball. Chicago: Triumph. ISBN 9781617494284. Jack Butterfield had been the South Florida baseball coach, but George Steinbrenner had offered him a job with the Yankees organization in September. 
  14. ^ Mahoney, Larry (November 23, 2012). "Orono's Brian Butterfield Excited to Coach with Red Sox". BangorDailyNews.com. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  15. ^ Thomas, Kevin (October 31, 2012). "Brian Butterfield: From Bat Boy to Big Leagues". PressHerald.com (Portland Press Herald). Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  16. ^ Appel, Marty (2012). Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss (1st ed.). New York: Bloomsbury USA. p. 443. ISBN 9781608194926. 
  17. ^ Fleischman, Tom (November 28, 2002). "Legendary Ithaca College Coach Dies". Enquirer.com (Ithaca Journal). Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  18. ^ "University of Maine Foundation". UMaine.edu. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Jack Butterfield Award". NEIBA.org. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Bentley Baseball Coach/AD DeFelice Named Recipient of Jack Butterfield Award". Northeast10.org. May 28, 2004. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  21. ^ "NEIBA, Team Awards and Captains for Baseball Announced". DartmouthSports.com. Dartmouth Athletics Communications. June 8, 2010. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014.