NEWBURYPORT – Former longtime Newburyport baseball coach Bill Pettingell has completed Volume II of a book started by his friend and former rival Bert Spofford, entitled “The History of Newburyport Baseball Book”.
The late Bert Spofford, known for his years of coaching and dedication to the Amesbury High baseball program, spent some of his final years chronicling the game to ensure that records would be kept and enjoyed. Once completing hand-written documents of everything one might want to know regarding the history of Amesbury’s four major sports, he did the same for Triton, Georgetown and Pentucket. He then set his sights toward helping his friend and rival coach Bill Pettingell from Newburyport.
“As a friend of mine and a rival coach, Bert decided to do the history of Newburyport High School up to the years that I began coaching,” Pettingell said. “The problem that arose was that Bert got ill around 1994, and he went to the different coaches and said, ‘I’m done, I can’t do this anymore.’ A few years later when he turned 95, he passed away.”
Pettingell continued updating information since 1994 while working to type and organize what was hand-written. He recently finished Volume II.
“Ten years before Bert died, I took over writing the book because I was coaching anyway for Newburyport baseball. As each year went along, the information was more accessible,” he said. “The book for the last 25 years or so is thicker than the first 100 years of Newburyport baseball.”
Volume II is 250 pages long, not including a 66-page preface, and includes everything one might want to know about the Clippers and its 118-year-old program.
“Scores, games, offensive highlights are all included,” Pettingell said. “On the left side are all of the pitching statistics for Newburyport. The scores and the opponent are in columns on each sheet of paper for every season. That’s the way Bert had it written originally, and I thought it was pretty cool, so I kept that basic form.”