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The Marauders

March 9, 2014

Mid-March : our thoughts turn to Spring…and baseball…which means : The Marauders.

The Marauder logo hats from recent years

The Marauder logo hats from recent years

The Marauders are the Midlothian baseball team that I played on when I was 9 and 10 years old and my dad went on to manage for the next 33 years. My boys played on The Marauders. And my mother is still a scorekeeper for The Orange. The Marauders is a Novick family tradition of Spring for nearly 40 years.

I remember when we moved to Midlothian, IL in 1974, and the following Spring my parents told me I received a phone call and put me on the phone with Mr. Bob Vaughan, the manager of The Marauders, who told me I had been drafted to play on his team. My Dad told me he had known Mr. Vaughan from his high school days.

I remember that first team meeting at Mr. Vaughan’s house with a bunch of other kids who were bigger than me. At the time it was a Little League sanctioned league team and The Marauders were a minor league team of 9 to 12 year olds.

Practices soon began. We drilled defense, got batting practice and had scrimmage games.  I learned about ‘laps’ – a disciplinary running trip that you had to take to the bushes when you did something wrong like getting lazy, goofing off or taking a ‘backward K’ (striking out looking (not swinging) at a called 3rd strike). (Laps were later run to “Ritters” (one of my dad’s coach’s house near the Central Park school field) or up the hill when practices were moved to belly button hill field.)

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My first game as a Marauder. Top left: Mr. Bob Vaughan; Top center: Jake Guiang; Top Right: Me

 

We had only two losses all season and won the championship that year ending us as 1975 Midlothian Village Champions. But by the way we celebrated when we won, you would have thought we had won the World Series.

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Me – 1975 Midlothian Village Champion- The Marauders

The following year Mr. Vaughan moved up to be a major league manager of The Braves. My dad, Ed Novick, took over the helm as Manager of The Marauders. I took over a more prominent role on that team and was a shortstop and pitcher. We weren’t nearly as successful as the year before. I was drafted mid-season to go up to the Braves because they needed a player because of player absences due to vacations. Thus my Marauder player days ended. But my younger brother Michael and cousin John played on The team in subsequent years. But my dad stayed on as Marauders manager long after we did for the next 33 years.

In those years my dad built a Midlothian baseball dynasty with the Marauders. My dad’s managing record was 449-165-1.   That’s a .730 winning percentage.  In that time The Marauders won 10 Village Championships and made the playoffs all but 9 seasons (and even in those seasons they frequently won the Round Robin championship for all the non-playoff teams). He prided his success on observant scouting, savvy drafting, and the most disciplined daily practice schedule. When the season started, The Marauders were always the most prepared team. They won their opening day game almost every year with few exceptions. They frequently won the first half of the season. They were a little less successful in the second half of the season when occasionally more talented teams wound best them. Still they were almost always in the playoffs and won Championships in 1 out of almost every 3 years.

Ed Novick

Ed Novick

One year, when I was getting out of college, my dad had a heart attack in the Spring and couldn’t manage The Marauders. He had to consider giving up the team. I stepped in as manager that year. We went 6-9 that year -not terribly successful, but competitive. But it saved The Marauders and kept it in the family until the following year when my dad returned as manager.

My two boys played on The Marauders.  Cody played for his Grandpa as a 9 year old in 2005.   The Marauder Family Tradition Continued when Canyon was drafted and played for the Marauders as a 9 and 10 year old in 2011 and 2012.

Many others who we still call friends played on the Marauders over the years.  I wrote about one, Mike Cline, in The Legendary Ed Novick.  Hundreds of kids have played for The Orange over the years.  When you were a Marauder you were like family.  Marauders share a common experience of camaraderie, tradition and brotherhood (maybe kinship is a better word – there have been many girls who have played on the team over the years!).

From 1976 through 2008, my dad managed all but two years – 1989 when I managed following his heart attack and 2004 when Matt Prim managed following his quadruple bypass surgery.  My dad managed until 2008. That last year he battled cancer into the fall and winter months. He passed away on January 6, 2009.

Dad was honored by the baseball league the year he passed away in 2009.  I wrote about that day in A Perfect Baseball Birthday.  That year the Midlothian baseball named Diamond 1 was christened “Ed Novick Field”, to forever remember the dedication that my dad gave to Midlothian baseball.  (Note: Diamond 2 had been previously named “John Sikarica Field” and Diamond 3 “Matt Peters Field” to honor predecessor Midlothian baseball benefactors).

Dad’s coach of several years, Matt Prim, a former Marauder player himself, took over as manager and continues proud Marauder traditions today including the legendary Marauder picnics and producing The Books – an end-of-the-year book summary of the season given to every Marauder player and coach that includes the team history, season schedule and record, individual statistics, team all-time records, game recaps, photos, a Manager’s Message, Awards pages and autographs page for team members to sign .

The original Marauders logo (note the heart between the ears)

The original Marauders logo (note the heart between the ears)

The most recent Marauders logo

The most recent Marauders logo

Midlothian baseball has evolved over the years, changing from Little League to Boys Baseball to a local baseball leadership.  In that time, team names have changed numerous times.

The one constant in Midlothian baseball for over 45 years has been The Marauders name and legacy.

The 2014 season is about to begin and we are still a part of The Marauders. My mom still keeps score for the team. And I still go to practices or games to cheer on The Orange when I can.  Why not come out and cheer on The Orange when you can?  Maybe I’ll see you there.

Were you or someone you knew a Marauder? Why not leave a note or story about your own Marauder story or favorite memories in the Comments section below? We can celebrate our stories and memories together and archive them for when we make a Marauder web site to preserve the Marauder history and tradition for years to come.

 

 

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Terry Landgraf permalink
    March 9, 2014 11:05 am

    I remember one year when I contemplated not playing and your father came over to my house and gave me his best recruiting pitch. I played on the Marauders the year before so Ed knew what I was capable of. I’m glad he did, as we won the village championship that year. Your dad was a great man Ed, have nothing but fond memories of him and the Marauders.

    Terry Landgraf

  2. Chris Seymour permalink
    March 9, 2014 4:45 pm

    I will never forget that one practice a year when your mom would come to Central park. She would grab a helmet and bat, step up to the plate and show all of us how it was done, I would have loved to seen our faces! I don’t ever remember her having to run down to the fence and back. Go Orange!!!

  3. Grande permalink
    March 9, 2014 5:21 pm

    What a great time of year it was as a kid. Family is right, and your dad never let me forget that your mom gave me HIS pork chop one night when he brought me to the house after my parents forgot to pick me up from practice.

  4. Sandy Lufrano permalink
    March 9, 2014 10:28 pm

    As a fellow Marauder alum, my fondest childhood memory was winning the Village Championship. I can remember it like it was yesterday, it was something out of a well written novel. Leading 3-2 in bottom of the last inning of Game 3, and I was on the mound. My dad was in the dugout, my mom in the stands, and Mr Novick leaning on the fence. All I needed was that smile from Mr Novick and I was ready to deliver….strike 3! We won the championship and I remember my dad and Mr Novick running to me to celebrate. To this day, I will never forget how he made you feel good about yourself, even when you were not at your best. I coach my kids today and always try to think what Mr Novick would say. A great man and a great coach….you have a lot to be proud of Ed. Your father was a wonderful man and your mother is a saint.

  5. April 11, 2014 8:24 am

    Baseball is a large part of my life. I coach a collegiate team, I played collegiately, and I own a baseball instructional facility. From the first time my older brother wore the “orange” the name “Marauder’s” was spelled wrong and they had to wear that for a few games until the new ones got in….. We won a stuffed dog at the St. Chris Carnival one year and gave it to the team for some dorky reason as a mascot, wonder if anyone remembers that thing. Thanks to Mr. Novick for putting up with us for so many years, we lived down the street from him growing up and the Marauders were truly a life style. Thank you!

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