BOSTON — Growing up in Westboro, Mass., Jack Butterfield — the father of Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield — learned that sometimes school can play second fiddle to baseball.
“His grandpa tapped him on the shoulder with his cane in the morning on school days and said, ‘We’re going into Fenway to watch the Red Sox,’” Butterfield said of his then-8 year old dad. “This was back in the Ted Williams era. And they would hitchhike into Fenway.”
Jack Butterfield went on to coach baseball and football at the University of Maine, and raise Brian as huge a Red Sox fan.
“I always dreamed about playing for the Red Sox but this is second best,” Butterfield said.
The 55-year-old Butterfield is in his first year with the Red Sox after coming over from Toronto with manager John Farrell. He is living out his dream, one that he has had since he first could walk.
But his job with the Red Sox isn’t an easy one at all. Coaching third base is one of the tougher jobs in all of sports, because decisions must be made within a split second.
Add to that a spacious right field at Fenway Park and the left field Green Monster short in distance from home plate, and being the third base coach of the Boston Red Sox can be a downright headache.
“If you think about it, it’s the only coaching position in all of sports where the coach is competing and he’s actually making decisions during the course of the (active) game,” Butterfield said. “All the other games, it is before the ball is put in play a coach might send a play in. But the third base coach is actively involved while the ball is put in play and the decision-making process.”