Goodwin’s coaching milestone

A brief stint on the disabled list during the offseason couldn’t keep Jim Goodwin from reaching a coaching milestone last month.

When American Legion Post 15 won at Clarksburg Post 13 in the first game of a doubleheader sweep on June 25, Goodwin earned his 500th coaching victory. Before the first pitch of Saturday’s scheduled 1 p.m. doubleheader against Potomac Valley Post 64 at Bennett Stump Field, he will be presented a plaque in honor of the accomplishment.

“Without the support of Post 15 and the parents then we wouldn’t have nothing,” Goodwin said. “I’m proud of the tradition of Post 15 and proud to be part of it.”

Physically, Goodwin is a different man from the one who guided the Parkersburg-based program to a record 35 wins last summer. Several months after the season ended, he was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus and spent nearly four weeks in a Charleston hospital. He was unconscious a majority of his stay as doctors inserted a new stomach and new esophagus.

“I’m a veteran and I expect to die someday – it just wasn’t my time,” Goodwin said. “Never was I scared or fearful.”

When he opened his eyes for the first time 23 days after being admitted, Goodwin saw his wife, Debbie, in the hospital room.

“I was kind of confused – I didn’t know what day it was or whether it was daytime or nighttime,” Goodwin added.

The 68-year-old Goodwin returned to Parkersburg 35 pounds lighter, but never did it dawn on him to resign his role as Post 15 manager.

“It never crossed my mind,” he said. “I was pretty sick, but I received so many prayers and cards from the community. Many of their prayers were answered.”

In addition to being in charge of the Post 15 baseball program this summer, Goodwin has found time to enjoy one of his favorite hobbies and that pertains to the sport of golf.

He wants to stay involved with Post 15 at least long enough to coach his grandsons, Lucas and Kyle. Lucas is an 18-year-old who currently is a member of the team and will be attending West Virginia University in the fall to study pediatrics. Kyle is 15 years old.

There are no regrets for Goodwin in terms of sacrificing numerous summers and patrolling the dugout six to seven hours on game days.

He remembers his first win in 1978 against New Haven – a team based out of Mason County.

“I’ve made friends with so many people in West Virginia and Ohio,” Goodwin said. “It’s been worth every minute of it.”

Entering Saturday’s twinbill against Potomac Valley, Parkersburg Post 15 owns an 18-10 record. And that’s not including four upcoming games against Area 3 powerhouse South Charleston Post 94.

“They are loaded, but we have a pretty good team also,” Goodwin said. “We’re starting to peak and hit the ball. At the Fourth of July Tournament in Cambridge, we came together as a team.”

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