Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (Island Sports News) – Victoria, BC (ISN) – Veteran pitcher Bob Mabee pitched a historic first inning to lead the Victoria Eagles to an 11-3 win over the Braves in Mavericks Men's Baseball League action Wednesday night at Lambrick Park.
History of sorts was made Wednesday night, as 66-year old Bob Mabee – the current head coach of the Victoria Eagles Junior Premier team – took to the mound at Lambrick Park to start the Eagles' game against the Braves in Maverick Men's League action.
66-year old Bob Mabee took to the mound for the Victoria Eagles in the first inning Wednesday, marking almost exactly 50 years since he last pitched for an Eagles named team in Victoria (Photo by Christian J. Stewart – ISN)
It was almost exactly 50 years ago, when a then 16-year old Mabee, took to the mound at Royal Athletic Park to lead his team, ironically also the Eagles, in action in the Senior Amateur Baseball League.
"I came across some old paper clippings of my games back then that my mother had saved," noted Mabee, "and when I saw that it was both 50 years since, and that I played for a team that was also called the Eagles, I thought it would be nostalgic to go and throw an inning for my current Eagles team."
The opportunity was also presented when the Premier League Eagles – who play a series of exhibition games against Maverick League teams for development purposes – were caught short of players Wednesday due to a number being at the BC Selects camps in Vancouver and needed an extra arm on the mound.
As Mabee took to the mound Wednesday, he was hoping that he could bring back, at least for a few pitches, the pitching talent that made him a Babe Ruth and Senior Amateur star and that earned him a spot on the 1970 Victoria Centennials, a team that won the Senior Men's Canadian Championship that season and then went on to represent Canada as the National Team at the 1970 World Championships and the 1971 Pan-American Games.
Mabee need not have worried, as after his young Eagle players staked him to a 2-0 lead in the top half of the first inning, he craftily mixed in just enough change-ups and floaters to go with his "fastball" to thoroughly confuse the Brave batters, complete the full inning and come away with a 2-1 lead after one complete.
"I honestly was just going to throw about 15-20 pitches," noted Mabee, "but I managed to get some quick outs and get lucky to make it all the way through the first. I tried one curve ball and it almost tore my shoulder off, so I had to resort to other pitches, but they worked out OK."
As to the rest of the game, the Eagles jumped out to a 3-1 lead before a 2-RBI single by Brave pitcher Nate Petzold tied things up in the bottom of the fourth.
That would be the only bright spot for the Braves however, as the Eagles would bat around the order and explode for 8 runs in the top of the fifth inning, thanks in part to 2-RBI singles by RJ Forbes and Brad Van Wyk.
Meanwhile the Eagle pitchers who came in to relieve Mabee – Brendan Miller, Brett Hull, and Thomas Koop – kept the Brave bats quiet, preserving the 11-3 win. Eagle pitcher Dan Bednarski also saw action, but in the developmental nature of the game, actually pitched for the Braves against the Eagles in the top of the sixth inning.
As to Mabee, he will likely now leave the serious pitching to his son Henry, who is in the Chicago White Sox organization with the Birmingham Barons AA and will continue to throw batting practice to his Junior Eagle squad.
"That was fun, but I think I'll retire for real this time" noted Mabee at the end of the game.
Mabee's Junior Eagles team will be in action at home Thursday night against the Junior Premier Mariners and again on Sunday in a doubleheader against the Coquitlam Reds, while the Premier Mariners head to Centralia, Washington this weekend for a tournament.