Jim Melanson, who has been coaching baseball in Springhill for more than 30 years, holds up a photo the Fencebusters team from 1927. They are: (from left) Zeddy Welton, Charlie Merlin, Ackie Allbon, Freddie O'Brien, Bill Wilson, manager James Conway, Jack Fraser, George 'Brownie' Burden, ‘Red’ Gallagher, mascot Neil Noiles, Eddie Emberly, Fred Hawker, and Doug Lorimer.
SPRINGHILL – The day may come when Jim “Pokie” Melanson coaches his final season of minor baseball, but that day is not today.
Nonetheless, the name of the long-serving volunteer will always have a place in the Lions Park for seasons to come. The Town of Springhill, through a motion from Coun. Doug Dobson, elected to name one of the town’s two baseball fields after Melanson during its May meeting on Tuesday. It was a motion that drew high praise for the coach.
“Pokie’s put in many, many years with the youngsters and baseball in this town,” Dobson said.
“Looking at Pokie over the last number of years… he’s lived at that ball diamond and raised a lot of money for baseball in Springhill. He should be commended for the hard work he did,” Coun. Jack MacDonald.
Mayor Max Snow, too, held Melanson in high regard for his efforts, including the development of the Fencebusters outfits and a living history project connecting the present generation with previous Fencebusters, Springhill’s most famous ball team.
“I know Pokie puts a lot of time in there. A lot of people have benefited from his time,” Snow said.
That includes people not necessarily from Springhill, too.
As new uniforms are bought for players in Springhill, Melanson hangs on to the old uniforms until its clear they can be retired before sending them to children in Cuba to use.
The No. 1 ball field, closest to the Lions Park playground, will officially be named after Melanson during a dedication ceremony, the date of which has yet to be determined.