Albert "Foggy" Bennett, also known as Mr. Baseball
Albert "Foggy" Bennett II was recently inducted in Midcoast Sports Hall of Fame, with his four children — Joan, Mary, Albert III and Roy — and many other people attending this wonderful event. Neva and “Foggy” would have been so pleased to see their wonderful children representing their father with the honor bestowed on him that night.
What could be any better than quoting verbatim the information written by his son Albert Bennett III (a retired professor at the University of New Hampshire):
“Albert B. Bennett (Foggy) was born In Brewer, Maine, on Aug. 25, 1910. His mother (Margaret Hart Bennett) died on the day of his 6th birthday. His father [Albert Bennett] was the Chief Engineer on the Lyndonnia, a yacht that spent summers in Camden, so the family moved to Camden in the current location of Cedar Crest Inn. Foggy attended Camden High School for three years where he excelled in basketball and baseball. As a sophomore in the 1927 baseball season, he pitched the final play-off game against Thomaston resolving a four-team tie that gave Camden High School the Knox-Lincoln Baseball Championship. In his junior year of baseball at Camden High School, he was too strong for most high school players. In the opening game of the season, he struck out 14 batters in a game that was called after five innings. In two other games during the season, he struck out 17 batters in each game, and in the final game of the season against that year’s championship team Thomaston, he pitched a shut-out and struck out a season’s high of 21 batters.
"In basketball that same year, he scored over half of the total points scored by the basketball team. Most of the rest of the points were scored by Hart Talbot, and Foggy and Hart led the Camden team to a Knox-Lincoln Basketball Championship! Foggy was chosen captain of the team for his senior year, but decided to attend Higgins Classical Institute in Charleston, Maine. He was outstanding there in basketball and baseball. The 1929 Higgins yearbook refers to his baseball accomplishments on the mound in the following comment: 'This boy from the coast certainly showed baseball teams what the old left hand was for.’ He returned to Camden and played basketball on the YMCA teams and baseball throughout the 1930s on Camden’s twilight league teams.
"By the decade of the 1930s, Foggy threw a variety of curves. He threw a ball that broke almost vertically straight down, one that broke parallel to the ground, and other pitches that broke at angles between the vertical and the horizontal. His fastball was thrown overhand to obtain a breaking ball that slid away from the player batting from the left side of the plate. Foggy was slight in stature but wiry. One of his pitching strategies was to keep the batter off balance, and when he was in trouble, rather than barring down, he would throw a 'change of pace.' Richard Meservey recalls: 'Foggy was a crafty rather than an overpowering man on the mound and one who used his curves and off-speed balls and his wits to accomplish his victories.' Another common pitching strategy, and one Foggy used, was to get the batter to swing at bad pitches. He liked to compare pitching to fishing; 'Pitching is just like fishing; instead of trying to get the fish to bite you’re trying to get the batter to bite.' Foggy had a strong competitive spirit, but he was shy and quiet. His baseball and fishing friend, Joe Talbot once noted: 'Foggy did not say much, he let his arm do the talking.'
"In 1934, Foggy pitched a three-hit shutout against the highly rated Titus Drug Company, a team that had won 13 straight games and was the leader of the Portland Twilight League. After the first inning of this game, he retired the next 24 batters without a man reaching base. During the decade of the 1930s Foggy helped Camden win three twilight league baseball championships, narrowly losing out on a fourth in the last week of the season. One of these championships was in 1935, and following that season the team was invited to play in a tournament at the Lewiston Fair for the state championship. Foggy pitched the semifinal game of the tournament against that year’s winner of the Heart of Maine League, and allowed just four hits and one run. Camden won the State of Maine Championship. At the end of the 1939 season, after Camden had won their third Knox County League Baseball Championship, the S.D. Warren “Wapacos” winners of the Portland Twilight League came to Camden. They were highly favored and a huge crowd attended the game. They were very surprised at the outcome as Foggy threw a three-hit shutout!
"In 1953, Foggy coached the Camden-Rockport Little League team. At the end of the season, he joined Zenas Melvin, his teammate from Camden High school’s 1928 and 1929 championship teams, to coach the Knox County Little League All Stars. This team won the State of Maine Little League Championship and eventually lost in a Northeast playoff to a Quebec team that only lost to the World Champion League from Taiwan by one run! Camden owes much of its baseball and basketball success during the high school years from 1925 to 1928, and its successes in the Twilight League during the decade of the 1930s to Foggy Bennett.”
Sunday night, Oct. 23, 1960, while at supper in a local restaurant, Albert Bennett died suddenly at age 50. A life-long resident of Camden, he left great memories of baseball to many friends and residents of Camden and surrounding towns. He was survived by his children: Albert B. Bennett Jr., Leroy, Joan and Mrs. Mary Loring. He also was survived by his brother Herman and two sisters, Mrs. Alice Atkins and Mrs. Catherine Barr. Funeral services were managed by Laite Funeral Home with Rev. Gerald Swetnam officiating.
Camden mourned the passing of one of its greatest ball players.
Barbara Dyer is Camden's official town historian.