Agganis Classics executive director Paul Halloran awarded Frank Carey the high honor of throwing out the first ball at the Agganis Basetball Classic at Fraser Field.
Carey has been an integral part of the Lynn and high school baseball scene since his days as a St. Mary’s teammate and friend of Tony Conigliaro.
The North Reading baseball coach was humbled by Halloran’s thoughtful gesture.
“Having coached in the very first Agganis game and being invited back under these conditions – winning the state championship and retirement [as a North Reading High School teacher] – for whatever reason, I’m certainly honored and happy that they asked me to throw out the first ball,” said Carey.
The 69-year-old baseball legend said he was also proud to throw the first pitch to Agganis All-Star Jonathan Gravallese, captain of his 2012 state champion North Reading Hornets.
“He’s a great kid and it’s an honor to throw the ball to him,” said Carey.
Carey led North Reading to its fifth state championship this spring. He has 697 victories in his illustrious 45-year coaching career.
“I hope to coach for maybe two more years,” said Carey. “I just retired June 15 from teaching after 47 years.”
Carey played football and baseball at the University of Rhode Island. He was the JV baseball at North Reading for two years before becoming the varsity coach in 1968.
Along the way, he was a finalist for head coaching positions at Northeastern University and Boston College.
“As it turned out, I was really happy that I didn’t get those jobs because I get to finish my career at North Reading and do what I like to do best and that’s be a teacher/coach,” said Carey.
Carey said this year’s run to the Division 3 state championship was his most satisfying season.
“We lost our first two games, 3-1 and 1-0, and we were 0-2 but right then and there I knew if we kept working, we were going to develop into a fine team,” said Carey. “The next 24 games, we were 22-2. Without question, this was my most satisfying year as coach. This team came out of nowhere.”
Carey said his team had a rather meager .263 batting average. “Of the 175 hits, we had six doubles, one triple, and one home run so consequently it required bunting and running and trying to put some things together.”
Carey will be inducted into the National High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame at a ceremony in November in St. Louis.