Ed Phillips, a three-sport athlete at Deering High in the early 1960s who went on to pitch for the Boston Red Sox, has died at age 73.

Phillips was born in Ardmore, Oklahoma, but grew up in Portland and attended Colby College before being drafted by the Red Sox in 1966. He pitched in 18 games in relief for Boston in 1970, his only season in the major leagues.

Phillips was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979 and into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2016. Last year his No. 15 baseball jersey was retired by Colby.

In recent years, Phillips lived in Wells with his fiancee, Barbara Page. He died Wednesday on his birthday after a battle with cancer.

Phillips built the foundation for his pro career pitching in Maine. He had a 22-5 record in three seasons at Deering, followed by a 16-5 record at Colby under Coach John Winkin. Phillips signed with Boston in 1966 for $9,000, two days after graduating from college. Two years later he pitched a perfect game for Class A Winston-Salem.

Phillips, a 6-foot-1 right-hander with a three-quarter arm motion, didn’t overpower hitters, using a strong breaking ball and pinpoint control.


“Speed wasn’t his forte,” said Paul Pendleton, a Deering teammate. “Eddie had great control. He rarely walked a hitter. If he walked one or two in a game, that was it. He kept his composure and if a player made an error, Eddie would bear down that much more. It was always about the team.”

In 1961, Deering and Cheverus were unbeaten when they met in a midseason showdown at Deering. The game was a marquee pitching matchup between Phillips and left-hander Dick Joyce, who later pitched for the Kansas City Athletics. The Stags won and went on to finish an undefeated season.

Mort Soule, another Deering teammate, said he believes that Phillips-Joyce matchup was the first time two future major league pitchers faced each other in a Maine high school game.

“I don’t know how many people watched that game, but they were three and four deep around the field,” he said.

The next season, Phillips’ senior year, Deering went 15-1 to win the Telegram League championship at a time when Maine didn’t have playoffs to determine a state champion.

“Eddie pitched us to three state titles,” said Pendleton. “Little League, Pony League and (American) Legion.”


Rick Lund of Dover, New Hampshire, was a classmate of Phillips at Colby.

“We were the closest of friends for 55 years,” said Lund, who grew up in Gardiner and played freshman basketball with Phillips at Colby, coached by Winkin. “I never missed a baseball game that Ed pitched.”

Phillips led the nation in earned-run average and pitched a no-hitter against the University of Maine as a senior.

“Colby played a major baseball schedule,” said Lund. “Ed’s senior year, they won the Duke Invitational.”

Phillips made his major league debut in Yankee Stadium on April 9, 1970, relieving in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and two outs. The batter, John Ellis, took a called strike on the first pitch, then popped to first baseman George Scott.

Phillips soon was sent back to Louisville, Boston’s Triple-A club. Three weeks later he returned to the Red Sox for the rest of the season. His stat line: 232/3 innings, 23 strikeouts, 5.32 ERA and an 0-2 record. His salary in the majors was $12,000. Phillips’ teammates in Boston included Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski and shortstop Rico Petrocelli. Sparky Lyle was a fellow reliever and good friend.


Phillips pitched one more season as a minor leaguer before retiring at 26 in 1971.

In 2012, Phillips was invited with other former Red Sox players for the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. He was accompanied by his only child, Brooke. She asked her father if he would be nervous walking across the field in front of a sold-out crowd.

“I was nervous when I was the one walking out of the bullpen to the mound,” he told the Press Herald. “It will be a lot easier to go out there with a couple of hundred other players.

After baseball, Phillips was a water-treatment consultant, and later owned an air-filter recycling business. He lived in Kentucky and Illinois before returning to Maine in 2001, where he served as a pitching coach for the Kennebunk American Legion baseball team.

“I’ve been calling as many friends as I know about Ed’s passing,” said Lund. “It’s left a huge void.”

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