Roger Tuveson ’64
Retired History Teacher and Baseball Coach
by Alix Roy ’07
This profile originally appeared in Bowdoin magazine, Vol. 77, No. 1, Fall 2005
Real athletes never let personal success compromise their love of the game. Of course with today’s high-paid sports stars relying on success to buy them their next contract, this may seem a tad idealistic; but for every Pedro Martinez making a hundred dollars a strike, there is another athlete who showed talent but chose a less glorified path of anonymity. In the case of Roger Tuveson ’64, the opportunity to pitch in the big leagues was first dangled by the Phillies when Tuveson was still in High School, however the standout right-hander chose to attend Bowdoin instead. After his graduation four years later the Chicago White Sox showed interest, however Tuveson, plagued by arm problems, again declined, choosing instead to “get a job and get on with things,” accepting a position teaching American history at Marblehead Middle School. Four years later Tuveson would become head baseball coach at the school, marking the beginning of a 23-year coaching career, which would eventually land him a spot in the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.
While choosing college over a potential big-league career would be a tough choice for most, Tuveson speaks casually of his decision and seems to find greater pleasure in recalling stories from his Bowdoin years. A member of the Alpha Kappa Sigma fraternity, Tuveson, like many alumni, lamented the abolishment of Greek life, which provided much of the social scene during his four years. If anything, his connection to the college has grown stronger since graduation, with both of Tuveson’s daughters and their spouses attending his alma mater. His youngest, Katy, graduated class of ‘91 and was involved in field hockey and basketball, and her sister Kristine ’86, was a dancer and choreographer. Tuveson jokes that the responsibility now rests on the shoulders of his four grandchildren to continue the Bowdoin legacy.
Sending kids off to respected institutions such as Bowdoin used to be a favorite part of Tuveson’s job as a teacher and coach at Marblehead high school where he wrote many college recommendations and took pride in the success of students and athletes alike. “I liked working with bright young people…and those who played sports were always closer to my heart.” In many ways, Tuveson’s job was a continuation of the academic/athletic life he had so enjoyed at Bowdoin. On the field, he utilized many techniques picked up from his Bowdoin baseball coach Danny MacFayden, known for his creative language when calling pitches. For Tuveson, being able to teach others to enjoy the game of baseball was every bit as satisfying as playing it himself. “I loved being able to teach the game,” he said, “it’s a celebration of the sport itself.” During his career he celebrated a Division 2 state championship in 1985, and a total of 216 wins. His dedication to coaching has earned Tuveson numerous honors and awards, most recently his induction into the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame last February. “It was a nice honor,” Tuveson said simply. His refreshing modesty has allowed Tuveson to find joy in teaching others the very things that made his four years at Bowdoin so memorable.