At a make-up game for the 10- and 11-year-old championships at Lowell Field in Windham, the fans and players took a few minutes to recognize Michael and Helen Parker. The Parkers are from Windham. Michael has been a veteran of Little League since he started playing for the Red Sox…in Lincoln, Maine.
“It was very much a surprise. It meant so very much to do it in front of the kids,” Michael said.
For 46 years he has an umpire at various levels, but settled on Little League as the right fit for him because of the satisfaction he got out of umpiring for them, according to his wife Helen, who was also recognized for her organizational skills in the Maine Little League community.
The cancer survivor does the paperwork for games in district 6 and for Michael’s State O’Maine Umpire clinic, which he has done for the past 19 years.
“They surprised me and I’m a pretty good snoop,” said Helen, who admits that she wasn’t into baseball until she met Michael.
“It became very clear that if he was going to do things I enjoyed, I had to do things he liked,” she said.
Michael was given a plaque and Helen was given balloons and flowers. It’s the 75th anniversary of Little League, so Helen wanted to release 75 balloons for each team, but the idea was scrapped and she had to settle for the three balloons, one of them a baseball.
“Many coaches are confident that when they see Mike Parker coming, they know they will get a fair game and the rules will be enforced,” said tournament director David Field.
Julia LoSciuto, a former softball player umpired by Michael, sang the National Anthem before the start of the Brewer versus Auburn –Suburban game, which Auburn won 12-6. The game had been postponed from Sunday when Slugger was scheduled to be there and Mort Soule, Maine Sports Hall of Fame and Maine Baseball Hall of Fame member, was to perform “Casey at the Bat.”
When coaching new umpires, Michael always gave this advice…”Always leave the field on the side of the winning team…quickly,” said Field.