The Sadowskis reflect on the '95 season

Whenever there was a game during the 1995 season, a member of the Sadowski family was there. Rich Sadowski was the general manager, his wife Janice the treasurer, and his son Todd the bat boy.

“I don’t remember a time in my life when the Cotuit Kettleers were not a part of my life,” Todd Sadowski said. “My parents got involved when I was a very young boy. My older brother was a bat boy and then I was a bat boy. I started when I was about 8. By the time the '95 team came around, I was 12.”

The Sadowskis got involved with the Kettleers in the late 1980s, with Rich becoming the general manager shortly before the '95 season. Back then, the board that ran the team was a lot smaller, with Rich and Janice doing a lot of the operations.

“It was a small group [running the team] back then and we got a lot of helpers,” Rich Sadowski said. “We had a lot of people that took part in passing the kettle in the crowd. It was just a fun time. It wasn't as organized as it is today. Back then, if we had a big night, we’d collect $35 from fans, and now they collect hundreds of dollars.”

Rich Sadowski was also responsible for finding housing for the baseball players.

“At the time, I arranged housing for the baseball players and also jobs. Back then they had jobs. You had to find jobs and put them in places where people wanted to work in the mornings before noon,” Rich said. “My wife expanded the clinics, teaching kids how to play baseball. There were three sites at the time: Cotuit Elementary, a place in Osterville, and Marstons Mills. The clinics were very successful.”

In 1995, Rich had more responsibility than any year as he was tasked with finding a new head coach. The previous head coach, Roger Bidwell, left because he had to commit more to his college coaching job. Rich and Arnold Mycock interviewed candidates in Cotuit and on the phone.

“There was a young man from Maine, Mike Coutts, who was a former baseball player and also became a coach at the University of Maine,” Rich said. “He struck me as being somebody I could work with and he was organized. We had a nice chat with him, and I said this is the kind of person I want. Janice was equally impressed with him, so we hired him. He was a nice gentleman, had organizational skills, very well-spoken, and I thought he could fit into the Cotuit crowd.”

“This was Coach Coutts' first year coaching in the Cape League and he won the championship in his first year, which is incredible to me,” Todd said. “He was the first coach that treated me with respect.”

Coutts picked out the players he wanted on the team and Rich arranged transport. The team would always be the same throughout the season, unlike now.

“We also were very good at making sure that there were only 22, 23, 24 on a team and we said we’re not going to kick you off just because you didn’t get a hit in the first five games,” Rich Sadowski said. “You’re gonna get a chance here. Other clubs in the Cape League did have that kind of attitude and that was OK for them, but it wasn’t OK for us. We wanted to have a family environment for our players. We wanted them to succeed.”

Todd’s duties did not change in the 1995 season, but he still had a lot of responsibilities. For home games, he had to make sure that the bases were put out and taken away. He also organized the bat rack, prepared the pine tar and put the rosin on the mound. During the game, Todd would make sure that the umpires had baseballs.

“What was not on the official responsibility list was to make sure that everyone got the candy that they wanted, the gum that they wanted, and you knew who wanted what,” Todd said. “They used to call me the candyman because I would have a huge bag of candy.”

Todd Sadowski
Art or Photo Credit: Todd Sadowski at a Kettleers game in 1995.

As well as treasurer responsibilities, Janice Sadowski ran the merchandise booth, got stat sheets ready and sold yearbooks. Todd remembers his mother yelling from the booth for everyone to hear.

“I could hear her from the dugout yelling at the players or the umpires, and how the people in the dugout would get a kick out of that, especially when she was going after the umps,” Todd said. “Occasionally, the umps would have to stop the game and give her a little talking to. She was a very passionate lady when it came to Cotuit and there was nothing she was more passionate about outside of her family.”

Both Rich and Todd remember the 1995 team fondly, with the players having a great bond with everyone.

“This group of people were fan-friendly and teammate-friendly,” Rich said. “These kids hung around one another. They would go to other players' houses and play games. [There’s an] old saying of 25 ballplayers, 25 different caps. In this case, it was one cap for 25 different ballplayers. Mike Coutts had a lot to do with that. He brought them together as a team as well.”

“What I remember about the '95 team is the absolute cast of characters that we had on that squad,” Todd said. “We had guys from all across the country that came together and were absolutely hysterical. They all got along, which also goes to show you why there are so many of them coming back for the reunion. These guys were so funny and so smart, baseball smart and school smart.”

Todd also remembered a lot about the team's performance during the season.

“I remember Glenn Davis was a monster,” Todd said. “I remember Ronnie Walker, who played third base. He took a one-hopper off the chest and just grunted and threw it to first.”

“I remember Kevin Sheredy’s fastball. Each of the guys asked me to go to the scouts behind home plate and ask him what he was throwing on the speed gun. It was always 92-93 [mph]. In 1995, for a 20-year-old to be throwing 92-93 was unspeakable. It was unheard of. To put it in context, Randy Johnson during that time period in the pros wasn’t throwing much faster than that on his fastball,” Todd said.

“I remember Jack Cressend’s changeup, he had seven wins that season. He had a circle changeup that looked to the batter no different than it was to his fastball. He made guys look absolutely silly up there at the plate,” Todd said. “Josh Paul was an absolute animal on that '95 team. He had a favorite space that he would hit an absolute rocket to right-center and he would invariably always get to third.”

Todd also remembers when Coutts made him help warm up Cressend.

“It was arguably one of the scariest moments of my life, honest to god, I remember it to this day,” Todd said. “He’s throwing 70 miles an hour, he's literally warming his arm up, and I’m scared out of my mind that this thing is going to hit me in the chest. I didn’t have any helmet protection, I had no chest pad, nothing. Then he started screwing with me and throwing a knuckleball at me. I remember telling coach Coutts that recently and he said, ‘Well I knew you could handle it.’ Well, I certainly didn’t know I could handle it.”

When the team won the championship at Lowell Park, Rich and Janice Sadowski were watching from behind the chain-link fence. According to Rich, this was the first championship team they had been a part of.

“My wife and I stood at the fence and watched them jump on top of one another,” Rich said. “There were tears in our eyes. We were so happy for them because they did something that not too many people do — be part of a championship team.”

Todd loved his time in Cotuit, saying Lowell Park was one of the most romantic places to spend an evening.

“When people ask me about the Cape Cod Baseball League now and where they should go, I always say Lowell Park,” Todd said. “You have to get there early to get a good seat, the baseball will be amazing, and there’s a good chance that if the game is good, they might have to postpone it because there’s no more daylight. Baseball like that doesn’t exist anymore. It was absolutely perfect.”