One of the finest all-around athletes to come out of Chelsea in the mid 1970s, Bob Spinney went on to a prestigious career in the Intercity Baseball League, playing exclusively for Joe O’Donnell and the Hosmer Chiefs for more than a decade.
Spinney was a three-sport standout at Chelsea High School. He was a Greater Boston League All-Star quarterback and was selected to play in the Harry Agganis All-Star Game.
It was in baseball where Spinney became a Chelsea legend as the incomparable centerfielder on Chelsea’s greatest team in 1975. Coached by Joe Bevere, the Red Devils won the Division 2 Eastern Mass. championship.
Chelsea fans will remember well an amazing defensive play that Spinney made in centerfield during a dramatic state tournament victory. Spinney fielded the baseball in centerfield and with everyone in the ballpark expecting him to throw home and try to nab the lead runner, Spinney threw a strike to third baseman Jerry Dion who applied the tag and helped Chelsea maintain its lead.
It’s considered one of the greatest defensive plays in Chelsea High baseball history, but to Bob Spinney, it was just pure baseball instincts, knowing where to throw the ball in every situation.
Following his graduation from Chelsea High in 1975, Spinney was slated to attend UMass/Amherst and play football and baseball, but an injury sustained in the Agganis Football Game altered his plans and he enrolled at Bridgewater State College.
At Bridgewater, Spinney became an All-Conference and All-New England honoree in both football and baseball.
His Intercity League career began when a relative, George Mendonca, who had played for Wakefield in the 1960s, set him up for a tryout with the Merchants. With an abundance of outfielders in 1975, the Merchants and manager Les DeMarco contacted the Chiefs who were looking for some young talent. Spinney had just graduated from Chelsea High School.
The rest is history!
Spinney was an instrumental part of the Chiefs outfield for the next ten seasons, appearing in the playoffs nine times and winning Intercity League championships in 1979 and 1980.
Bob Spinney still lives in his native Chelsea with his wife, Kathy, and son, Robert III, who played baseball at Malden Catholic and is currently a student at Iona College. Spinney has worked for the United States Postal Service for the past 33 years.
(The story above appeared in the Intercity Baseball League Hall of Fame Awards and Reunion Dinner souvenir booklet).