John Magee started playing baseball in the Winthrop Little League more than 35 years ago.
“I was on the ‘C’ Twins coached by Peggy Bailey,” recalled Magee. “I was on the ‘B’ Division Tigers and the ‘A’ Division Indians and my coaches were Chuck Webb and Larry Cellucci.”
Magee played freshman baseball at Winthrop High for Coach Mike Sullivan and junior varsity and varsity baseball for Coaches Jimmy Gillis and Vinnie Eruzione.
Magee, 44, is still enjoying the game he loved as a kid. He is currently competing for the Boston Dodgers in the Boston Men’s Baseball League (BMBL), which is the largest adult baseball league in New England. Magee just made his seventh appearance in the BMBL Master’s Division All-Star Game at Brandeis University.
A ERunning back for WHS Super Bowl team
The son of John “Skitty” McGee and Colleen Magee, John Magee was a part of an exciting era in Winthrop sports. He was an All-Star player in Winthrop Little League and remembers competing against the unparalleled ‘A’ Division Dodgers team coached by David Tallent Sr. and Billy Morelli Sr.
“They were unbelievable,” said Magee. “That trio of David Tallent, Mike Mason, and Billy Morelli was phenomenal. I dreaded playing them because I played the outfield and it was like, ‘here we go’.’’
Magee played in Winthrop Youth Hockey and later at Winthrop High School. In football, he was a back-up running back to All-Scholastic Anthony Palmer on Viking Super Bowl teams.
“Being his back-up and watching Anthony, I don’t think I would be the player I am today – he just had that ‘it’ factor,” said Magee. “Sometimes I work on sports with his son [Anthony Palmer Jr.] at Ingleside Park, and he has the exact batting stance and swing as his father. He has the ‘it’ factor, too, and he’s a very good kid. He’s going to be something.”
Magee praised his former football coach, Tony Fucillo, an inductee in the Mass. State High School Coaches Hall of Fame.
“I love Tony Fucillo,” said Magee. “What he’s done for the town and for kids, giving them the structure and the discipline – you don’t get a better coach than that. Growing up in Winthrop, some of the coaches that took me under their wing and made me the athlete I am today – I must thank James Adamson, Joe Mason, Colin Cash, and Jimmy Gillis. They had faith in me at a very young age and saw something in me. They told me, ‘you’ve got speed, you can hit, now let’s work with you’.’’
A Return to Baseball
After high school sports, Magee became a competitive bodybuilder.
“I probably put on 30 pounds of muscle and competed in bodybuilding events,” said Magee. “But then all these years went by, and I wanted to get back into baseball. I eventually found the Boston Men’s Baseball League.”
Magee took over a starting position for the Boston Dodgers after driving in six runs in his first game, and he hasn’t looked back. He is now playing in two divisions (28-Over and Masters 38-Over) for the Dodgers.
Magee, who bats and throws left-handed, is thriving as the designated hitter for the Dodgers. He is batting close to .400 lifetime and has hit several home runs in his career.
“I still love the game,” said the 5-feet-7-inch Magee. “I tore my shoulder this off-season, but I won’t miss a game. Until they carry me off the field, I’m not going anywhere.”
Interestingly, Magee wears No. 22 on the back of his Dodgers jersey.
“I wear No. 22 because when I was younger, I was very small and my mother had told me about this guy, Doug Flutie, who plays for Boston College and he’s tough as nails,” said Magee. “I started watching him at BC and I’ve worn 22 ever since. I bumped into Doug Flutie at a national baseball tournament in Florida and I said to him, ‘I wear this number because of you.’ He’s a really nice guy who does a lot for autism charities.”
Winthrop baseball fans don’t have to travel far to see John Magee and the Dodgers, who play their home games in Winthrop and Lynn.
John Magee, No. 22 in Dodger Blue, will be one of the players smiling broadly as he takes the field, competing for the love of the game.