North End resident Rick Martignetti “Coach Rick” was recently honored at Fenway Park by the Red Sox Foundation as one of six New England states “Volunteer of the Year”.
He received the Mike Egan Massachusetts award for his dedication to coaching and teaching local youth and others the skills of the grand old game.
There are over 200 Little League programs throughout the state, including Rick’s hometown the North End, where he spends much of his time helping players from 4-12 years old learn the basics of baseball.
He grew up in the community he loves, the North End, playing on basically the same fields he currently coaches on.
A very good baseball player himself, he started teaching high school and college players. Coach Rick found where he has made the most impact, the North End Little League from the end of April to the end of June, sometimes longer.
He believes volunteering, especially in his neighborhood, is the right thing to do, following in the footsteps of his father Ralph, who is still fully involved in North End baseball.
“My dad coached me and my brother and many of our friends,” he said. “He taught us to play together as a team and respect the game.”
Coach Rick believes, “Winning means nothing to me. Instilling the fundamental building blocks that will set the players up for success at higher levels of the game and life, that is what it’s all about.”
He said, “To be able to impact the community in a positive way and help make a difference for these kids is important to me.” He added, “My family is my support system and they are always flexible to my schedule, making sure I do not go hungry between running from work to the field.”
Coach Rick totally emphasizes the learning of the game and the basics. He expressed his heartfelt thanks to all the parents that allowed him to coach their kids and he recognized the network of coaches and other volunteers that give their time to the NEAA.
Rick is the first North End baseball coach to be named “Volunteer of the Year” by the Red Sox Foundation.
“Martignetti has and still is a valuable asset to our baseball programs and we appreciate what he does for the neighborhood youth, year in and year out,” NEAA said.