Clem Labine: Always a Dodger

Clem Labine: Always a Dodger by Rick Elliott


Rick Elliott was born in N.Y.C. but moved with his family to Rhode Island when just a youngster. His dad was relocating to Woonsocket, Rhode Island to assist three brothers in the family business, Jacob Finkelstein & Sons. It was in Rhode Island where his father met Clem Labine, then a 16 year old in high school, working in the shipping room at Finkelstein's. It was here in Woonsocket where their lifelong friendship was forged. 
     When the Dodgers played their home games in Brooklyn, Rick was invited to attend with Clem's son JR, dozens of times each summer. Here, at the sacred cathedral of Ebbets Field, the two boys would play catch on the infield grass pregame, visit the dressing room post game, and then sleep overnight at the Bossert Hotel, under the same roof as the author's beloved Dodgers. 
     Rick attended Classical High School in Providence, and then graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Behavioral Psychology in 1968. After graduation, he joined the family business and worked with his father and Clem, who was, by then, General Manager of the Deerfoot Team and Award Jacket Division of Jacob Finkelstein & Sons. Rick's childhood hero had become his business associate, close friend, and confident. Clem had become, in many ways, a second father to the author. After pressure from cheap imports forced the sale of the family business, Rick turned to housebuilding and constructed over 200 single family homes in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Florida for the next 26 years as Richard Elliott Builder, Inc. He retired in 2011. Clem and Rick remained very close friends until Clem's passing in 2007. The author has always believed that Clem's story was too extraordinary, and too magical, to be left untold. In retirement he has written "Clem Labine: Always a Dodger", in the hope that he can share Clem's magical, courageous and inspiring life with others. 
     Rick lives alone with his puppy, Miss Roshi, in Cumberland, Rhode Island, where he is now working on his next two manuscripts. He says he still misses his father, and his dear buddy Clem Labine, every single day of his life!