Digest>Archives> August 2002

Corbett Inducted into Maine Baseball Hall of Fame


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Neil Corbett (r) receives his Induction Award ...
Photo by: Kathleen Finnegan

Neil Corbett, age 85, one of the sons of lighthouse keeper Willie Corbett, was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in an elaborate ceremony in Portland, Maine this past July 7th.

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Neil Corbett (r) takes a moment during the Awards ...
Photo by: Kathleen Finnegan

The event, attended by hundreds, was a real tribute to a man who certainly deserved to be recognized. After Neil's return from serving his country in World War II, he was instrumental in the formation of the Quoddy League, which was based in Washington County, Maine and was one of the numerous postwar semi-pro leagues, that sprang up across the nation.

Neil recalled the early days of baseball in Maine when there were no baseball fields, they simply found an open area of land and played ball around the hills and gullies. Neil drew a thunderous roar of laughter from the audience when he recalled that they often used cow pastures, saying, “You just had to work around the cow patches. When we found a good dry one, we'd use it for a base.”

Perhaps Neil inherited his love for baseball from his dad, Willie Corbett. In 1918, Willie Corbett paid $1.00 to take the ferry from Rockland, Maine to Boston, MA and then paid 50 cents to get in to see the last game of the 1918 World Series. That was a lot of money in those days, considering a keeper probably only made about $68 per year. But Corbett witnessed history. He witnessed New England's hometown team, the Boston Red Sox, win the World Series, something that has never happened since.

Neil became a player-coach for the Cutler Cardinals in 1955 and headed the team for the next thirty-five years. They played at Corbett Field, on land donated by his father.

Hauling lobster traps and playing baseball, Neil built a team dynasty with the team winning 14 Quoddy League championships that started in 1962 and ended with the last championship in 1988. Local legend has it that Neil once had three doubles and one walk in a win over the other team after hauling 125 traps that same morning!

Neil, along with his wife of 57 years, Allie, still lives in Cutler. So, if you are ever in Cutler and you want to hear about two of the greatest parts of Americana, baseball and lighthouses, stop and by and chat with Neil Corbett, a man who, as Tom Brokaw would say, is truly part of the “Greatest Generation.”

Thanks to Bill Corbett for the use of information from the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies booklet and background information by Delia Farris.

This story appeared in the August 2002 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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