WORCESTER — Mike Abraham drives by Worcester Academy so many times each day that the smell of the fresh cut grass from Gaskill Field never gets old.
The Vernon Street resident will now have plenty of time to allow that sweet baseball aroma to fill his lungs as he was recently named the new baseball coach at Worcester Academy.
Abraham, 29, said he’s excited about this opportunity and described it as being in the right place at the right time. Longtime Worcester Academy coach Jim McNamara stepped down last summer after eight successful seasons, so the school reached out to Abraham to see if he would be interested in the position. He accepted the job in July to lead the Hilltoppers both on and off the field.
“My job in life is to help kids turn into young men, so this is a great opportunity,” he said.
Abraham has always been around the game because of his family’s love for baseball. He was fortunate to play and learn from coaches he respects, and that guided him toward the coaching ranks.
“I’ve been around great people growing up. I’ve been around great people since I started coaching, and it helped form me into who I am and the strong values I have,” Abraham said.
Part of those values will include taking the family concept of the Worcester Academy baseball program to a new and exciting level. In fact, Abraham hired his older brother, Matt, as an assistant coach.
Worcester Academy is only a hit-and-run from where Mike and Matt Abraham grew up. Although they are both products of St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury and Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, their love for Worcester and baseball is evident. They both want to pass along that passion to the student-athletes at Worcester Academy.
“It’s important to keep the baseball community strong, especially in the area,” Matt Abraham said. “It’s great because it’s where we all grew up. Worcester Academy’s a couple blocks from where my grandparents lived, so it’s come full circle for all of us.”
When Mike first asked Matt to serve as an assistant, the older brother was more than happy and thrilled to help.
“It’s always good to see your young brother be successful in the game you love,” Matt Abraham said. “Seeing him grow as a person and coach is pretty humbling, and having the opportunity to work with him and teach the young players is important.”
Mike wants a coaching staff he can trust, so there’s no better way than to bring a well-respected baseball person like his brother Matt into the fold.
“You need to surround yourself with people, who aren’t always going to agree with you, but will give you constructive ideas in order to reach the same goals,” Mike said.
Mike and Matt are two of the four Abraham siblings to play and work in the game.
Brian Abraham, 37, is the oldest brother and the Red Sox director of player development. The former St. John’s and Holy Cross baseball player just completed his 10th season in the Red Sox organization. Prior to joining the Red Sox, he spent the first six seasons of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Toronto Blue Jays selected Matt Abraham in the 49th round of the 2010 MLB amateur draft. The infielder played two seasons in the Blue Jays’ minor league system.
Julie Abraham, 33, also was a collegiate athlete and supports her brothers’ love of the game.
Mike, 29, also runs Northeast Baseball, a travel organization based out of Harvard, Mass. He’s been there for the last six years and runs the day-to-day operations, along with coaching a few teams.
“I’m the only one who played professional baseball, and I’m the only one not in baseball (full time),” Matt said with a laugh. “That’s something to brag about with them.”
Matt, a father of three, understands how important it is to continue the family tradition of working in baseball alongside his brother at Worcester Academy.
“It’s as special as it gets,” he said.
The arrival of the WooSox and Polar Park helped rejuvenate baseball in Worcester, and the Abraham family is among those keeping the grassroots revitalization in focus. Matt Abraham believes baseball teaches young players vital life lessons both on and off the field.
“My brother just doesn’t teach the kids the game of baseball. He teaches them the game of life,” Matt said. “That’s what our dad and all of our coaches taught us. Mike has done a great job teaching that.”
Some of Mike Abraham’s coaching philosophies include teaching the importance of being versatile.
Abraham said he respects the program’s foundation that previous coaches Dana Forsberg and McNamara built at Worcester Academy. Abraham wants to continue that tradition of sending kids to play at Division 1 schools, along with the excellence and expectation to win.
He wants the Hilltoppers to remain Worcester’s team. He wants the players to help in the community, while guiding the student-athletes to strive both on and off the diamond.
That goal has become a family affair for the Abrahams.
“Worcester is special to all of us,” Mike Abraham said. “Being able to represent Worcester Academy and the city is something I’m really looking forward to and not taking lightly at all.”
—Contact Joe McDonald at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JoeyMacHockey.
- Worcester’s Abraham brothers excited to bring passion for baseball to Worcester Academy
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