DODGER GREATS ROY Campanella, left, and Don Newcombe spent their first year in (white) organized baseball in 1946 playing for the Nashua (N.H.) Dodgers, performing brilliantly and winning the New England League Championship. Jackie Robinson played that breakthrough year in Montreal, so the Nashua Dodgers were the first integrated U.S. baseball team in organized professional baseball.
Courtesy of the Nashua Telegraph
I have wanted to go to a game in Holman Stadium in Nashua, N.H., for a long time because of the park’s historical significance.
Finally, this summer I did, on Aug. 12, the very last day of the season for the Nashua Silver Knights of the Futures College Baseball League, the same league whose championship was won by the Vermont Lake Monsters (well-done, Monsters!).
I traveled solo for an afternoon makeup game, watched the home team lose, 6-5, with about 100 other fans (at most) on a sultry day. I sat for an inning or two with the dad of the Knights DH, a Nashua boy, a senior at Emerson College...
TED WILLIAMS, PERHAPS baseball’s greatest batter in the game’s century and a half history, batted left-handed and threw right-handed. Many of baseball’s greatest players demonstrated this mix-handedness (including Red Sox Yaz, Wade Boggs, Rafeal Devers). A medical study noted that 32% of the game’s greatest players, batted left and threw right.
You want your kid to be a major leaguer, and make a ton of money, so you can retire and live on Easy Street?
Well, turn him around!
Make sure he bats left-handed, from day one, from the day he first picks up that fat red plastic kid bat, or some other kiddie cudgel and attempts to bash something with it.
It doesn’t matter if he appears to favor his right hand, eating, say, or scrawling primitive scribbles: just gently instruct him to put his left-hand on top of the right when he first picks up a cylindrical object and goes about smiting.
The next thing you know he’ll be whacking the ball...
MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE PROFESSOR of English Brett Millier worked for three summers for the San Francisco Giants prior to coming to Middlebury. Here she is in 1984 with one of her favorite players, pitcher Mike Krukow. “Kruk” has been a Giants broadcaster for 27 years.
As she was exploring the campus on her very first day at Middlebury College in August 1986, young professor Brett Millier encountered Frank Kelley, the director of residential life, who engaged her in lively conversation as was his wont.
Frank learned that Prof. Millier was at Middlebury to teach American literature, so he encouraged her to lead a discussion of the book all first-years were asked to read and discuss during Orientation, Carson McCullers’s “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.”
He suggested she come with him to the dean of students office in Old Chapel to meet with the associate dean...
FORMER BOSTON RED Sox and Montreal Expo pitcher Bill Lee, a longtime Craftsbury resident, smiles with Jane Lindholm, daughter of Lee’s friend and Independent columnist Karl Lindholm.
This week’s column is written in a similar spirit to those of the other sports columnist, the angler, who takes us to lakes, ponds, and streams through sylvan glades to his favorite fishing spots.
He describes with precise detail the bliss he feels casting his line in the water, surrounded as he is by the austere beauty of the natural world.
I don’t fish but I know his bliss: I get mine at baseball games.
I go to a lot of games and watch the Red Sox on TV, but in my dotage I find attending major league games kinda wears me out — the crowds, the hassle, the noise, the expense.
I have been to...
RAY FISHER WAS manager in Vermont’s Northern League for Burlington in 1937 and Montpelier-Barre in 1946 and from 1948-50. A Middlebury native and graduate of Middlebury High School and Middlebury College, Fisher pitched in the Major Leagues from 1910-1920 and coached baseball at the University of Michigan for 38 years. He returned to Vermont each summer to his family camp on Lake Champlain in Ferrisburgh.
Courtesy of the Fisher Family Archives
In the last game of his sophomore year at Michigan State in 1946, Robin Roberts lost 2-0 to archrival Michigan, coached by a 58-year-old Ray Fisher.
At game’s end, Fisher asked the Michigan State ace if he would like to play summer ball in Vermont. After a four-year wartime hiatus, the Northern League, a fast independent league in Vermont and New York, was reviving and seeking fresh talent from the collegiate ranks. Fisher was coaching the Montpelier-Barre entry. Roberts immediately agreed, and thus began a productive and warm mentor-player relationship.
Roberts was 11-8 that first summer (“...
CENTENNIAL FIELD IN Burlington, home this summer to the Vermont Lake Monsters of the Futures League, is a beautiful setting for a baseball game on a recent twilight evening.
Photo by James Konrad/Vermont Lake Monsters
Centennial Field in Burlington is Vermont’s baseball shrine.
Constructed from 1904 to 1906, Centennial has been the site of stirring baseball action for nearly a century and a quarter. The Catamounts of the University of Vermont played their first game there in April 1906, defeating the Black Bears of Maine, 10-4.
Centennial is one of my two favorite baseball parks — the other is Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama. Like Centennial, Rickwood is venerable: The first game there was played in August 1910. It is now widely described as and generally considered “America’s Oldest Baseball Park.”...
POLAR PARK, THE beautiful new home of the Worcester Red Sox, is just about complete in Worcester, Mass. Our columnist and Middlebury friends took in a game there on Sunday. Here, Jeter Downs, one of the Red Sox’s top prospects, takes his cuts against a Rochester Red Wings pitcher.
Photo by Karl Lindholm
OK, baseball fans, if you could build a ballpark, the perfect ballpark, and you had the money and the clout to make it happen, what would it look like? How would it reflect contemporary architectural amenities and still maintain an appreciation for baseball’s unique character and history?
Who would you select to plan the park and negotiate all the political and economic thickets that would inevitably arise and ensure that the fan experience was central, the community fully engaged?
Well, there’s only one person, really, who has the experience and wherewithal to make that happen, whose track...
Second of two parts; read the first part here.
A week ago last Sunday, the brilliant Shohei Ohtani of the Angels hit a game-winning homer with two outs in the 9th against ace Red Sox closer Matt Barnes.
The Angels won 6-5. Exciting game. It took 3 hours 19 minutes to play, too long but only slightly above average time. In this nine-inning game, the teams combined to use 12 pitchers, and 23 of the 54 outs were strikeouts.
Twelve pitchers! One game. And it happens all the time.
A quick look at the box scores from last Sunday’s MLB games (Monday noon is the deadline for this piece) reveals that...
I never was good at math, ever. But I liked to read as a kid, and to write. I got that from my mom, who was the wordsmith in the family. When I asked her what a word meant, she just pointed to the dictionary on the music stand in the living room: “C’mon, Ma, just tell me!” I whined.
Wordsmith: what a good word to describe someone who has a way with words, like an artisan, a blacksmith or locksmith or the other smiths — someone who toils with words. It’s a craft; you get better at it the more you do it.
I even enjoyed diagramming sentences in the seventh grade, all these diagonal lines...
The first of two parts; read the second part here.
So, baseball fans, what do think about starting extra innings in a tied baseball game with a runner on second, the way it works now in all of organized baseball?
I love it.
It opens up such interesting strategic options: who do you put out there at second to run (the batter who made the last out is supposed to be there, but you can insert a pinch runner)? Do you bunt him over, or not sacrifice the out, and let someone knock him in. After all, he’s in scoring position and “outs are pearls,” as Earl Weaver used to say: “Why give one away?”