Boston Globe: 'UMass-Lowell retires No. 18'
UMass-Lowell retires No. 18
By John Vellante, Boston Globe
The uniform number 18 had not been worn since that tragic day in September of 1990, when David Boutin (inset), a catcher for the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, lost his fight with cancer. The number was not officially retired, but it was always understood through the years that it would never be worn again.
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Now, 18 years after his death, the number has been sealed and framed and presented to his family.
Boutin, who grew up in Lowell and attended Central Catholic, played three years at UMass (1988, 1989, and part of 1990), and Major League scouts began following him after the 1989 season, when he batted .291 with 14 RBIs, 12 runs scored, and had a slugging percentage of .418. He was captain-elect for his senior season.
In April of 1990, he was diagnosed with rhabdosarcoma, a rare cancer, and died less than five months later at age 21. He left a lasting impression on his family, coaches, and teammates, many of whom were on hand when his number was retired prior to last week's Northeast-10 Conference game against Pace.
"It is time to honor David's family as well as UMass-Lowell's baseball family and the athletic community by officially retiring No. 18," said head coach Ken Harring. "David's name and legacy are carried on through the Boutin Award as well as the endowed scholarship that the Boutin family has set up in his name, which ensures his name will live on forever at UMass-Lowell."
Ken Connerty, a former Lowell assistant who is currently the head baseball coach at Tyngsborough High, said Boutin "came from a great family, and that rubbed off on him.
"When he wasn't playing ball, he was always in the Lowell community doing something to help the homeless or someone less fortunate than he was. He was a caring and giving person. He was very well liked. He would have made a great captain. David was like a son to [former coach] Jim Stone. When he got sick, Stoney put his best foot forward on his behalf. He tried to make the last few months of his life special."
Shortly after Boutin's death, the UMass-Lowell athletic department named its annual male student-athlete of the year award in his honor. The award goes to a student-athlete who exemplifies excellence in sport, academics, service to the community, and leadership. Additionally, Boutin's mother, Fleurette, created the David J. Boutin Memorial Scholarship Fund, presented annually to a member of the baseball team who best copies the character of her son. This year's recipient was freshman pitcher Kyle Davis of Rochester, N.H.
Fleurette Boutin, who attended the ceremonies along with her other children, said the presentation was packed with emotion.
"Emotional, yes," she said, "but at the same time a very proud moment. I know David loved baseball more than life itself. I don't know where they found the jersey, but it was the one David wore in his last game. It now sits in a proud corner of my home. His loss still hurts every day, but it was so beautiful to see just how many friends and former teammates came to support us. It was an emotional day for the entire Boutin family, but one we will never forget."