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Fred Hill, who was once a 3-sport star at Clifford Scott High School in East Orange, and went on to win more than 1,000 games as a college baseball coach, including a successful stint at Rutgers, will be honored with an upcoming dinner on Nov. 2. (photo courtesy of Rutgers Univ.)
From East Orange Sandlots To Rutgers
Fred Hill Etched A Lifetime Of Memories
By Steve Tober
VERONA- It isn’t always easy to remind oneself that there won’t be any more coaching college baseball next spring, but – then again – when you’re talking about a ‘lifer’ by the name of Fred Hill you’re talking about someone who spent his boyhood in the 1940s shagging flies and hitting grounders at Soverel Park in East Orange, and that was just the beginning of a 70-year journey as a player then a coach who amassed 1,000 college baseball victories.
“I still miss it,” says Hill, who retired as Rutgers baseball coach last spring. “I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that. Coaching kept me busy for a very long time and it’s been a difficult adjustment.
“Sports are my life and always were, and it’s not easy to be away from it, but I had a good run and had the opportunity to enjoy being around a lot of great people through the many years.”
Now the people are ready to take notice one more time in a big way when it comes to recognizing one of New Jersey’s true legendary coaches as a special retirement dinner is planned to honor Fred Hill on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 2, at Mayfair Farms in West Orange.
The man his friends loved to call “Moose” will be recognized throughout a weekend of events, also including being honored during halftime ceremonies as part of Homecoming weekend at Rutgers as the Scarlet Knights host Wisconsin in a Big 10 football game on Saturday, Nov. 1.
“I’m still not sure about all that’s being planned that weekend, but it’s very nice that people want to honor me in some way,” said Hill. “I had 30 years at Rutgers and it was a great time with a lot of fond memories, and –most of all-some great kids to coach along the way.”
Hill compiled a record of 941-658-7 in his 30 seasons at the helm of Rutgers baseball. His Scarlet Knight teams made 11 NCAA Regional appearances and captured eight conference tournament titles.
He has had 73 players sign pro baseball contracts, including current Major Leaguers Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds and David DeJesus of the Tampa Bay Rays. Another former big leaguer from Rutgers, Eric Young, is a coach with the Colorado Rockies.
Before coming to Rutgers, Hill coached both baseball (148-91-2) and football (55-13-4) in seven seasons at Montclair State University. Among his football players was the late Sam Mills who was an All-Pro linebacker in the NFL.