Dick Joyce, one of Cheverus High's all-time great athletes and a member
of its Hall of Fame, died Tuesday in North Carolina.
Joyce, an overpowering pitcher who made it to the major leagues, lived with
his wife, Jeanne, in Cary, N.C.
Joyce, 63, suffered from diabetes and heart problems, and underwent two
major heart surgeries since October.
In 1961, the Boston Red Sox offered Joyce, who also pitched for Andrews
Post in Portland, a $100,000 signing bonus -- an astounding figure at the time.
Joyce turned it down, opting to attend Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass.
He never regretted it.
In a 1961 story in the Press Herald, Joyce said: "I'd like to get as much
education as possible and I probably never would finish college if I decided
to try baseball right now."
Three years later, Joyce, who retired last August after a long career as an
IBM executive, signed just before Christmas with the Kansas City Athletics
for a reported $40,000.
After a minor-league stint in Birmingham, Ala., where he played with future
Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson and Rollie Fingers, Joyce was brought to the
majors in 1965.
He pitched 13 innings in the majors and had an 0-1 record.
On Sept. 19, 1965, he started at Fenway Park against the Red Sox. In the
crowd of 10,854 that day were numerous Portland friends and former Holy
But Joyce lasted only a third of an inning. It was his last appearance in the
major leagues. He developed arm trouble in 1967 and retired.
Joyce had pitched in four other big-league games and started the game that
shortstop Bert Campaneris played all nine positions.
At Holy Cross, Joyce pitched in the 1962 College World Series. He was beaten
by Missouri 4-2 but struck out 14. He had a 20-5 college career record.
At Cheverus, he won three straight Telegram League titles, including the 1961
team that went 16-0 in the era before state playoffs. His three-year record
was 22-8 and his American Legion record was 38-5.
At 6-foot-5 and more than 200 pounds, Joyce was imposing. In an era before
radar guns, his fastball was likely 92-93 mph.
"I've never seen anyone better around here," said Pat Feury, a Cheverus
teammate who has been involved in local baseball for more than 50 years.
"I remember a Legion game against Falmouth when he struck out 25 batters
in nine innings. The first 11 batters he faced didn't even touch the ball.
"Dick had a very good fastball but his curve was devastating. He also had
pinpoint control. With Dick and Joe Cloutier pitching for us, we never
expected to lose a game.
"Dick's matchups with Eddie Phillips of Deering were events. It might have
been the only time two Maine high school pitchers opposed each other who
later made it to the big leagues."
Phillips pitched briefly for the Red Sox in 1970.
In 1960, Andrews Post went 35-0, meaning from June to June, Joyce's teams
Joyce, who also started on Cheverus' 1961 state title basketball team, was
inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2004.
He was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, joining his
dad, Jabber Joyce, also a pitching legend.
Dick Joyce is also a member of the Holy Cross Hall of Fame.
"Our school feels honored to be a part of his life," said Cheverus Athletic
Director Gary Hoyt."We've very proud of the fact that Dick became such an
accomplished athlete, family man and community leader. His loyalty to
Cheverus and to the Greater Portland community, although he moved away,
was always present in his life and everything he did. Dick was one of our
very first inductees into our Hall of Fame."
A funeral Mass will be held Feb. 10 at St. Pius X, Ocean Ave, Portland at
11 a.m. Following burial, a reception will be held at Cheverus.