One of the things that stood out to Bim Gibson while researching his new book is that the recent success of Edward Little’s baseball team stacks up well with the history of the program.

“I was thinking that baseball isn’t what it used to be,” Gibson said. “Then I started looking at what Edward Little has done since Dave Jordan’s taken over. In the last 10 years, EL has had the best winning percentage in the history of the program.”

Bim Gibson sits Friday at Gipper’s Sports Grill in Auburn to talk to the Sun Journal about his new book, “From AAA to Pettengill and Beyond,” about baseball in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

As he speaks, Gibson is sitting at a table in the Hall of Fame Room at Gippers Sports Grill, which decades earlier was the location of Auburn Athletic Association Park, or AAA Park, the namesake of Gibson’s new book, “From AAA to Pettengill and Beyond: The Story of Auburn and Edward Little Baseball.”

“We’re like sitting in left field. This is AAA Park,” Gibson said. “This is where baseball started. We’re sitting there. Isn’t that cool? I love that.”

Gipper’s will also be the site of Gibson’s book launch Wednesday beginning at 5 p.m. Gibson self-published the book and is selling them for $20 each. He will donate all of the proceeds to the Edward Little High School baseball program.

“AAA to Pettengill” is Gibson’s third book about sports history in Auburn and Lewiston. He published “Battle of the Bridge: The History of Edward Little and Lewiston Football” in 2012, and four years later came “The History of Edward Little and Lewiston Basketball.” So it seemed that a baseball book was inevitable.


Not quite.

But, as it so often did, the coronavirus pandemic changed things. Gibson, a history teacher at Auburn Middle School, had a lot of alone time in 2020. He had already compiled some of the information about Auburn’s baseball history while helping one of his students with a project.

“I was literally bored because of COVID,” Gibson said.

With so much free time and not much else to do, Gibson began what he called “a two-and-a-half year journey” of digging into the past. He pored over articles dating back to the 1890s from the Lewiston Daily Sun and Lewiston Evening Journal — and, when those two papers merged in the 1980s, the Sun Journal — and other Maine papers on Google Archives. He scoured Edward Little High School yearbooks.

Then he started writing, which for him is the most difficult part of the book process.

“The research part I love,” Gibson said. “And then once you have all that, you go, ‘Ugh. Now I have to write.’”


“AAA to Pettengill” is different than Gibson’s books about football and basketball in a few ways. First, this one isn’t equally devoted to Edward Little and Lewiston. In fact, this one was going to be almost all Auburn-related.

But then Gibson, an Auburn native and 1979 Edward Little High School graduate, discovered a forgotten Lewiston High School dynasty.

“I started feeling guilty when I realized that Lewiston won six state championships prior to World War II,” he said.

The Blue Devils won five consecutive state championships from 1938-42 and, counting their 1935 title, six in eight seasons. Their dynasty was stalled by World War II, and no state tournament was held until the Maine Principals’ Association began to sponsor a state tournament in 1947. Lewiston remained competitive and in 1950 won another state title, the program’s only MPA-sanctioned baseball state championship.

Gibson has a section devoted to the dynasty and a few other “On the Other Side of the Bridge” sections throughout the book.

The other major difference between “AAA to Pettengill” and Gibson’s football and basketball books is that it isn’t confined to high school baseball.


Gibson also covers semipro and amateur leagues.

Among the most significant of the latter were the Shoe Shop League, or the Industrial League. Auburn had as many as 12 shoe factories that employed 8,000 workers during the early decades of the 1900s. Those factories sponsored baseball teams, and many employees would finish their work days then take trolleys on what is now Center St. to AAA Park, where they would play in front of surprisingly large crowds.

“It was a big part of the community,” Gibson writes in the book.

Many of the semipro teams went through different incarnations during the 1900s. One of the most popular, especially in recent memory, were the Auburn ASAs. The ASAs nickname was an acronym of the Auburn Sports Association, which was formed by a group of businessmen in 1949.

“Their goal was to field the best semipro team in the state,” Gibson writes.

The ASAs featured many former Auburn and Lewiston high school stars. Their first game was the first game at Pettengill Park, and drew 4,000 fans.


The ASAs’ first stint lasted through 1956. The team, with the ASAs’ uniforms but no connection to the Auburn Sports Association, was revived in 1962 and had played until folding in 1974.

The ASAs returned five years later, this time with the backing of local businessmen and the influence of University of Maine Black Bears players Mike Coutts and Don Dewolfe, both Edward Little graduates. Coutts and Dewolfe convinced some of their UMaine teammates to spend their summers playing for the ASAs and working in the Twin Cities. One of those players was future 14-year MLB player Mike Bordick.

“AAA to Pettengill” also includes sections devoted to American Legion and Little League baseball, and the star players and top teams, in Auburn.

The bulk of the book, though, is about Edward Little baseball. Gibson opens the book discussing the early years of baseball and how the game spread to Auburn and eventually a high school team was formed.

The book includes recaps of each Edward Little season from 1891 to last year, when the Red Eddies reached the Class A state title game. Each season’s recap includes a game of the year.

The early years of Edward Little baseball were hampered by not having a place to play. Gibson found no record of baseball games being played in 1898 due to the Spanish American War. The sport returned the next year and for Edward Little it was better than ever.


“The first recorded Edward Little baseball game took place in 1891, but some would argue baseball didn’t truly arrive at Auburn’s high school until 1899,” Gibson wrote. “After a year off from the sport, Auburn baseball exploded on the scene with one of the best EL baseball teams in school history.”

Led by pitcher Herbert Oakes — who a Lewiston Sun writer said threw “pumpkin-seed” curves and “figure-8 drops” and was “harder to hit than an exam in botany” — the 1899 Edward Little team won all 12 of its games.

The season recaps include loads of information, like that future Edward Little coach Dick Osgood once struck out 21 hitters in a game when he played for the Red Eddies, and the hitting prowess of future Major League pitchers Larry Gowell and Bert Roberge.

Gowell, who played a few games for the New York Yankees in 1972, was the last American League pitcher to hit before the designated hitter was instituted.

“He hit like eight home runs out of Pettengill Park one year,” Gibson said. “That’s another thing I learned: two guys that might have been better hitters than they were pitchers were Larry Gowell and Bert Roberge.”

Gibson also compiles an all-time Edward Little baseball team, which he limits to inductees into the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame, and the top 20 seasons in the history of Edward Little — not necessarily the best teams.


Both lists, he points out, are subjective, and he encourages debate.

The Red Eddies’ three state championship teams — 1975, 1989 and 1992 — are at the top of the list of best seasons. The 1899 squad is ranked ninth. Three Dave Jordan-coached teams make the list.

Gibson printed 500 copies of “AAA to Pettengill.” They can be purchased at Wednesday’s book launch. To buy a copy after that, email Gibson at

He’s hoping to see as many former baseball players and coaches as possible at the book launch.

“I also look at it as a great community event where the history of Auburn baseball can all come together in one room and all just shake hands and high-five and … have the debates, ‘Hey, our team would have beat your team.’ Because that stuff’s fun. That’s why we do sports,” Gibson said.

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