September 23, 2018

Joe Medeiros, Pierce Stadium Mainstay, To Retire

"The heart and soul of Pierce Stadium in East Providence"

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Joseph "Joe" Medeiros, the heart and soul of Pierce Stadium in East Providence is retiring in a couple weeks after a near three decade career. A three-year baseball player while at East Providence High School he also excelled in track. After Rhode Island College, Joe began a career of public service and dedication concentrated on providing city residents with a high quality of recreational activities.

Joe maintains the 26 acre Pierce complex which houses a baseball and football stadium often considered the class of New England. The stadium also has several little league fields and recently renovated basketball, tennis courts and walking trails. During years of economic difficulty, Joe often maintained a quality complex with next to zero funding.

Joe is a volunteer with many organizations. He has been a 30 year member of the Heritage Days committee, the Dolly Searle Golf Tourney, Relay For Life, Eagle Scouts, and many more. Joe's talents have been recognized by the Pawtucket Red Sox as he has been asked to be part of their ground crew.

Additionally Joe has lead an effort to maintain high school and middle school athletic fields. Joe is responsible for 4th of July fireworks and Loof Carousel events.

"It's just time for me to go," said Joe Medeiros during 2018 little league opening day festivities. "Lots of reasons, but mostly it is time to move on. I'm certainly not as young as I used to be," he laughed. Medeiros was honored during East Providence Central Little League ceremonies by the league. "Joe has been an invaluable member of this league and all youth leagues in East Providence," said Chuck Michael, a league official. The league honored Medeiros with a plaque presentation and he was asked to throw out the first pitch.

"Despite its long and rich history, Pierce field’s reputation as one of the best outdoor facilities in the state really took off when Joe Medeiros was hired in the early 90’s as the facility manager. It’s not only Joe’s expertise in field maintenance that has elevated Pierce to a premier venue but his friendly and accommodating style. His personal attention to each event has developed a wonderful rapport between the Recreation department and the community. User organizations can rest assured that Joe will go the extra mile to make an event successful. It’s that dedication and personal service that sets Pierce Field apart from the rest of the state’s athletic complexes," said Diane Sullivan, Director of Recreation in a recent interview about Medeiros.

"I have too many memories of Pierce to name just one," said the popular Pierce facility manager. Medeiros has been in charge of everything at the sprawling athletic complex since 1991. "When I think back about the history of Pierce Field, I think of more than local sports or football. Pierce has featured some very big events. In 1959, Harold Gomes of Providence fought and won the World Junior Lightweight boxing championship, in a national match set up in the field," recalled Medeiros. "We have also witnessed some major soccer events through the years with world class athletes like Portugal's Eusébio who played in a soccer game before 12,000 fans in 1980." Medeiros went on to point out other major events through the years. There were many concerts featuring national acts like America, Three Dog Night, The Guess Who, and Bonnie Raitt to mention some.

A stone memorial inside the gates commemorates the time when both Babe Ruth and Ted Williams put on separate hitting exhibitions inside Pierce. In September 1941, Ruth put on a hitting exhibition which was followed the next day by Red Sox Great Ted Williams," continued Medeiros.

Tony Vieira of the city recreation department will take over when Medeiros officially retires in two weeks. "Yes, I know," said Vieira, "I have huge shoes to fill. My phone hasn't stopped ringing with field requests, etc." "Tony will do a great job. He is the best person for the job," offered Medeiros.

As the April 14, 2018 little league opening day festivities continued, players, parents and officials made a point to stop by and congratulate Medeiros. True to his character, Medeiros remained humbled throughout the accolades. "This has been a labor of love, I will miss the families and the kids and the work I've done. But it is time."

Indeed, the families of East Providence owe a debt of gratitude for Townie high school hall of famer, Joe Medeiros for all he has done to enrich the recreational needs of the community.

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