On July 6, 2023 Ken Smith, of Fairfield, was inducted into the Cal Ripken Coaches Hall of Fame. The presentation took place in Fairfield prior to an 11U state tournament game. Cal Ripken League representatives, family, community members along with past and present coaches and players from Ken’s teams were present for the ceremony.
Ken grew up in Fairfield, and started playing Farm League baseball in 1965 at age 6. In those days teams wore ear flaps instead of helmets and used wooden bats. His father, Ken Sr., pitched and hit baseballs to Ken and his friends growing up and helped develop his skills and love of baseball. He went on to play Little League, Babe Ruth, high school and on American Legion teams, all in Fairfield. He continued to stay involved with baseball by umpiring little league and playing on adult softball teams. He also enjoys watching baseball and visiting both minor and major league parks.
In 1996 he started coaching at the Little League level and is still coaching today. He has been playing, coaching, umpiring and involved with baseball for 58 consecutive years. While coaching baseball Ken has helped transfer his knowledge and love of baseball to many young players and his four sons. He recognizes his players’ first hits by presenting them with a special dated baseball to commemorate the milestone. He also ends each season with a parents vs. kids game and presents players with individual and team stats that he carefully keeps track of each season, with the help of some very good scorekeepers.
In his early days of coaching he was one of the only coaches in the local league to have his players hitting off a tee and using tennis balls during practices. He also had his teams bunt during games which he still believes in, and does today.
He has coached over 350 games and umpired over 150 games in his career to date. His teams have won nine league championships and four district tournaments. One special team won the state championship in 2010. This team went on to represent Maine in the New England tournament, finishing in fourth place twice.
Ken has an extensive knowledge of baseball and a true dedication to the sport.
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