Jim Beattie is a former MLB Pitcher for the Yankees and Mariners, General Manager for the Expos and Orioles, and more recently, a Scout for the Blue Jays. These days, he serves as the Director of the Upper Valley Special Olympics Winter Games and spends his free time traveling, skiing, and exploring the great outdoors. Jim came to us to help recover from a skiing injury and we had a chance to ask him a couple questions about his success, active lifestyle, and the upcoming Winter Games!
After all of your experiences, what drew you back to the Upper Valley?
“I came to the Upper Valley in 1972 from Maine as a freshman at Dartmouth, and although I have moved around the US and Canada during the course of my career, visits back to Dartmouth were always part of our family plans. My wife, Martha, and I met our senior year and have been married for over 40 years. Martha started the boys crew team at Hanover HS almost 20 years ago. A career crew coach, when she wasn’t the VP of Alumni Relations at Dartmouth for 7 years (recently retired), she loves being outside coaching an eight rowing on the CT River. Martha and I are both D ‘76s: we have a son who is a D ‘07, a daughter who is a D’09 / Tuck ‘15 and Martha’s dad was a ‘45. I think its easy to see why we have a strong tie to the Hanover area. It offers everything we wanted in a place to have our “forever” home, especially after moving so many times during my professional career.”
Staying active has been a big part of your life. Why do you think that is?
“Growing up in Maine, sports and physical activity was a big part of my life. My friends and I played every sport when it was in season and picked up golf and skiing for fun. We loved being outside regardless of the weather. I love to ski, fly-fish, hike and golf, which takes me to beautiful scenery and lets me experience the outdoors in an active manner. I feel like exercising and any physical activity helps my mind and body stay in the best shape.“
Do you have any advice for anyone else who is looking to stay active?
“We are very lucky in the Upper Valley because we don’t have to go very far to see some wonderful country. I believe for me that a connection to nature, whether it is taking a walk in the woods, running in the hills or skiing down our mountains rejuvenates my mind and body and relieves the daily stresses we all have. Find something you like to do in the outdoors – take a walk, hike the hills, cross country ski – but get outside. We have a saying in New England – there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!“
What is the main thing that has led to your success and enjoyment in life?
“I feel like it is important to step out of one’s comfort zone occasionally. My first big decision to come to Dartmouth, when most of my HS classmates stayed closer to home for college (although Hanover is only 3 hours from where I grew up), opened the door for most of my success later in life. Dartmouth played a major role in my life and to be able to come back to the UV and enjoy it again is a true gift. While I never thought of it in this way, looking back on my career and experiences in life, I feel I pushed myself and made sure I kept as many doors and options open for my future. I am very grateful for the opportunities I have had both professionally and personally. Although I had three shoulder surgeries that shortened my career, I am still able to do the things I enjoy physically and look forward to staying in good shape to continue the fun for a long time.”
Do you have any big goals for 2019?
“During 37 years in professional baseball, I had very rare chances to have summer vacations. Since I retired at the end of the 2018 season, I am looking forward to skiing into March, when I am usually in spring training. I also have some more trips planned to see family and friends, and spend a few weeks in Montana, hiking and fly fishing. Although I was on the road during baseball season a lot as a scout, I still enjoy traveling and have a long list of places to explore with Martha, family and friends.”
How did you get involved with the Special Olympics?
“The Upper Valley Special Olympics Winter Games at the Dartmouth Skiway were started about 18 years ago by Pete Bleyler and the Dartmouth Club of the UV. After 10 years, Pete asked me to assume his leadership role as the director and I have been lucky to be part of it ever since, with a terrific team of volunteers helping too. Since I was scouting with the Toronto Blue Jays at the time, I had my winters off and it fit into my schedule very well. I can’t stress strongly enough how much fun it has been to work with some very selfless volunteers on our team as well as getting to help the Special Olympic athletes have a terrific day of competition every year. Along with over a hundred Dartmouth students that volunteer to help, the energy of the day is unique and a tribute to the outdoors spirit of the entire UV community. We have had past local winter Olympians (e.g. Hannah Kearney, Jeff Hastings, Tim Caldwell, Walter Malmquist) speak to the SO athletes during our opening ceremonies. This year we have another local Olympian, Dorcas DenHartog-Wonsavage, a 3-time Olympic cross country skier, speaking.“