Red Sox Coach Gives Priceless Advice To Watertown Little Leaguers
Dick Berardino, a coach for more than 45 years and a former professional ball player, spoke at the Watertown Youth Baseball awards banquet on Wednesday.
Dick Berardino was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1959 as a 22 year old who had led the College of Holy Cross to the NCAA District One baseball championship a year earlier.
Seven years of playing professional baseball and more than 45 years of coaching experience have taught Berardino two important lessons:
“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever,” Berardino told this to a crowd of approximately 200 Watertown Youth Baseball players and parents at an awards banquet on Wednesday at the Sons of Italy Hall.
Before the awards were handed out, Berardino, a three-sport star at Watertown High School, had the podium. He urged the little leaguers to stay away from drugs and do well in school.
“I’ve coached guys who had talent but no work ethic and not enough heart, and they didn’t make it,” Berardino said. “I also coached guys like David Eckstein, Wade Boggs, and Jim Rice.
"Wade Boggs was a below average hitter and below average fielder in the minor leagues, and I believed his ceiling was the minors. But he worked so hard that he turned his weaknesses into strengths. Everyone should work on their weaknesses whether they are on the field or off.”
Berardino said his parents and grandparents were positive influences in his life.
“They were part of ‘The Greatest Generation,’” he said of his parents and grandparents. “We didn’t have much money, but we never had to lock the door and we always played outside after supper.”
When the awards were handed out, the Cardinals of the AAA league were cheered for having won their league’s championship and the Mariners of the Major League were also applauded for winning their league’s postseason tournament.
The banquet honored everyone who made the Watertown Little League run smoothly this season. There were 420 players and 35 teams. There were also 37 sponsors, which kept fees low for parents.
Awards for winning a home run derby and good sportsmanship were also handed out to the players.
Players, parents, coaches, equipment managers, website managers, safety officers, and the treasurer were recognized and honored for their hard work.
Ken Vincent, who coached his son’s team for the past seven years, passed away in June and was also honored at the ceremony for his hard work. The Watertown Youth Baseball website says that Vincent never missed a practice or clinic and he was a big reason why the league has been so successful.