09/27/2020 7:11 AM
Maureen Cronin with her two boys and Joe Cronon in Florida (photo courtesy of Maureen Cronin)
Article By: Taylor Viles
Attending a Cape Cod Baseball League game isn’t just an experience, it’s a tradition. It’s a historical continuation of fans that have come for over a hundred years before. Some are just fans and some are from the MLB looking for the next great player. What they all have in common is their love of baseball.
What makes the Cape League different though, is a fan has no idea what former or future great they could run into at that ballpark. Even more common, they have no idea if they could be sitting next to the family member of one of baseball’s most influential members.
Osterville’s Maureen Cronin is someone whose family tree puts her with baseball royalty. If that last name sounds familiar it’s because Cronin is the daughter of Joe Cronin. The former Red Sox player, manager, general manager, and American League President is also a Hall of Fame inductee.
“The first thing he taught me was the difference between a curveball and a fastball,” said Maureen. He told her that only true baseball fans know the difference.
Joe married into the Griffith family who included members such as Clark and Calvin. Clark was a former major league pitcher, manager and owner. He owned the Washington Senators for 35 years until the middle of the 20th century. Calvin became the owner after Clark died and was responsible for moving the Senators to Minneapolis where they became the Twins.
A young Maureen’s baseball affiliation began as her family visited “Unc” Clark in Washington over holidays where the Senators owner would give her tours of the ballpark as would her father Joe back home at Fenway Park.
Her family was so heavily immersed in the game of baseball that when they bought property on Cape Cod, attending Cape League games was an obvious option.
It was an option they discovered when Joe’s youngest child played for the Cotuit Kettleers in the early ‘70s. He played for Stanford University but left baseball after college.
In part to her brother’s influence, Maureen would take her young children to Kettleers games, and many times, her father would attend as well. “He loved the game so much he just loved to sit and watch it,” she said of Joe. “He always had an eye out for a kid who was a little exceptional or someone who he could report back [to the Red Sox] about.”
The Cronin family was so heavily tied to the world of professional baseball both on the field and in the front office, that coming to Cape Cod and taking in a summer night of baseball became somewhat of an escape. “The summer league was just a fun place to go after dinner,” said Maureen. “It was just all part of being on Cape Cod in the summer.”
Since the early years of attending games as just a fan, Maureen befriended former Cape League President Judy Scarafile whom she began attending Hyannis Harbor Hawks games with. Through Scarafile, she added another team to her list of favorites and supported them, not only by regularly attending games, but also by partaking in fundraising events. The efforts of these events eventually lead to a new field being built in Hyannis.
Maureen’s dedication to the league as a fan and to the Harbor Hawks organization, led to Scarafile insisting Maureen throw out the first pitch at a game last season, which she did.
But as the summer has come to an end, Maureen Cronin has to wait until next year to enjoy baseball on a Cape League diamond again. “I really missed it this year because it’s great baseball,” she said. “Everything’s perfect. You can get a hotdog, the chairs are comfortable, it’s very sociable, and everyone’s well behaved.”