Even though Sidney Chason’s college baseball career ended more than seven decades ago, the Bangor resident still has fond memories of playing for Bowdoin College.
Chason, who also played basketball, always preferred the diamond to the hardwood.
“I enjoyed baseball more than I did any sport,” the 95-year-old Chason said Tuesday. “I had some good memories. You always remember the good things.”
Another memory will be etched in Chason’s scrapbook this weekend, as he returns to his alma mater to throw out a ceremonial first pitch on Saturday prior to Bowdoin’s noon doubleheader against Trinity at Pickard Diamond in Brunswick.
Jim Caton, Bowdoin’s assistant athletic director for communications, said Chason’s family reached out to the college with the idea of him throwing out a first pitch.
Chason’s son Jay explained that his daughter Aly, who attends Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, came up with the idea after talking with her grandfather about his athletic exploits.
“He told her that if there was one thing he could do over again, he’s like to be able to play one more baseball game,” said Jay Chason.
The folks in the Bowdoin athletic department were happy to oblige.
“We have 150-plus years of baseball history,” Caton said. “Having a 95-year-old alum throw out a first pitch sounded like a fantastic idea.”
While Caton is hopeful Bowdoin’s field will be ready for Saturday, the college has a backup plan in place should the games need to be moved to Trinity’s campus in Hartford, Connecticut.
“We do have a backup date for him which would be later this month,” Caton said. “If our field is not ready by Thursday, our entire series has to move to Hartford.”
Chason was a physician who worked as a gynecologist at Eastern Maine Medical Center for more than 30 years and has been retired for 26 years. He spoke vividly about trying to go from first to third on a bunt in a game against the University of Maine.
Chason admitted that he was out by quite a bit, and the play always came up at reunions.
“The first thing that came to mind, I’d never go from first to third on a bunt,” Chason said.
Chason also played basketball and baseball at Bangor High School before graduating in 1940.
He graduated from Bowdoin in 1944 and had a great friendship with the late Dr. John Woodcock, a Bowdoin teammate who also went to work at EMMC.
The two were also American Legion teammates with the Bangor Comrades, and often played pickup games with other neighborhood kids.
“I remember him as one of the finest gentlemen I’ve ever known,” Chason said. “I couldn’t discuss baseball or Bowdoin without thinking of John.”
Chason still enjoys watching the game and does follow the Boston Red Sox even though, like most Red Sox fans, “sometimes I get a little impatient” with them.
Even though baseball was his prime sport, Chason also recalled the old basketball rivalries his Bangor teams used to have with programs like Stearns of Millinocket, in which the teams typically played before standing-room-only crowds.
“Basketball in those days was very, very good,” Chason said.
Chason’s son David, who lives in Massachusetts, and his daughter Debra Nassau, who resides in Rhode Island, are planning to attend at the Bowdoin ceremony.
Sidney Chason is hoping his pitch will reach home plate.
“We’ll give it the best we can,” he said.
Chason said he’s also looking forward to returning to Bowdoin and possibly reconnecting with some old friends.
Follow Ryan McLaughlin on Twitter at @rmclaughlin23.
Note: This story was corrected on April 12 to reflect that John Woodcock was not a federal judge.