James Coffey says he’ll never forget the day his parents picked him up from the Dalrymple School and told him that his older brother, Stephen, had been selected in the Major League Draft.
And we’re not talking about the Winthrop Little League draft – no, it was the Major League Baseball Draft.
James, the youngest of five Coffey children, was nine years old when he learned on that day that his older brother would be realizing his dream of playing professional baseball in the Chicago Cubs organization.
“It was pretty amazing,” recalled James. “I was playing Little League baseball at the time and my brother was going to be playing professional baseball. As a kid growing up, Stephen was my role model.”
Later when James Coffey was in college, he had the opportunity to play on the same team with his brother in the Intercity League. James was a pitcher and Stephen was a third baseman for the Wakefield Merchants.
James Coffey, now 28 and the director of athletics at Beverly High School, and Stephen Coffey, 40, have joined forces in baseball once again.
James has been named the assistant general manager of the North Shore Navigators, a team based at Lynn’s Fraser Field that competes in the New England College Baseball League. Stephen is a coach of the team, assisting manager Jeff Waldron, who attended Lynn Classical and like Coffey, was drafted and played professional baseball.
“It’s great to be back in baseball with my brother,” said James, the former Winthrop High director of athletics. “It’s fun to watch the college kids play baseball. The mission statement of our organization is, “future stars chasing their dreams today,” and Stephen and I are helping them attain their goals in baseball.”
Off the field, James Coffey is in charge of all game day operations and oversees a large contingent of college interns, the majority of whom are majoring in Sports Management.
“I’m working with college students who want to work in professional sports or professional baseball, so they’re chasing their dreams, too,” said James. “Our general manager [Peter Delani] does a great job putting that whole mission and vision of what our organization is about.”
Stephen Coffey was a baseball star at Winthrop High School before moving on to the UMass/Boston baseball program where he set an NCAA Division 3 hitting streak of 34 games. During college he played two seasons for the Chatham A’s in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League. He was drafted by the Cubs following his junior year and reported to their rookie league team in Geneva, N.Y.
Interestingly, two of Coffey’s teammates at Winthrop High, Larry Thomas and Ronald Tallent, were also Major League Draft selections. Thomas advanced to play for the Chicago White Sox while Tallent played in the California Angels organization.
Stephen Coffey is enjoying his return to the baseball diamond in his role as a coach with the Navigators,
“It’s been fun and rewarding to work with the college players and to be able to impart some of the things to them that I’ve learned in my years in college and professional baseball,” said Coffey. “It’s also great to have my brother helping the team out in the front office.”