slides: 10 Must Visit Ballparks in New England
Sunday, March 09, 2014
New England features some of the best professional and semi-professional baseball in the world--from the big leagues to the Cape Cod Baseball League. So, regardless of where you live in the region, great baseball is never very far away.
New England's Baseball Leagues:
- Cape Cod Baseball League - This 10-team league comprised of collegiate level players was founded in 1885, and plays games from June through August, The Cape League has been the launching pad for hundreds of future stars, such as Nomar Garciapara, Ryan Braun, and Craig Biggio.
- NECBL - Founded in 1993, this 12-team league also features collegiate level players, and boasts some notable alumni--current and rising stars--from the professional ranks, such as Andre Ethier, Stephen Stasburg, and Joe Nathan.
- Futures League - A newcomer among collegiate leagues, the Futures League hosts 10-teams for summer baseball. The league's newest squad--the Worcester Bravehearts--will play its home games at Worcester's Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field.
- International League - The east coast AAA league features players that are a heartbeat away from playing in "the show." The league has 14 teams from 10 eastern states--with the Pawtucket Red Sox as the sole New England representative.
- Eastern League - This east coast AA league was founded in 1923, and hosts 3 New England Teams -- New Britain Rock Cats, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, and the Portland Sea Dogs.
- NY-Penn League - This 14-team Short Season A league is comprised mainly of rookies fresh out of the Amateur Draft, and hosts 3 New England Teams--Lowell Spinners, Connecticut Tigers, and the Vermont Lake Monsters.
See 10 must visit New England minor league and collegiate baseball stadiums in the slides below...
Related Slideshow: 10 Great Ballparks in New England
(Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field)
Futures Collegiate Baseball League
Used primarily by Holy Cross baseball until the mid-2000s, Fitton Field's biggest claim to fame was in 1939, when during an exhibition game between Holy Cross and the Boston Red Sox, Ted Williams hit his first home run in a Red Sox uniform.
Portland Sea Dogs
AA Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, plus many current and future baseball stars have called Hadlock Field home. In 2003, when the Sea Dogs became affiliated with the Boston Red Sox, Hadlock Field built a replica of Fenway Park's Green Monster in left field.
Futures Collegiate Baseball League
Though the park was built in 1919, baseball has been played at the site since 1892. Between 1965 and 1970, the Boston Red Sox Eastern League team played here before relocatieng to Pawtucket. Greg Maddux, Bill Lee, Tony Canigliaro, and hundreds more professional ballplayers have experienced Wahconah Park's signature "sun delays" -- resulting from the park facing due west.
Edward A. LeLacheur Park
NY-Penn League Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox
Built by the renowned HOK Sports (now Populous) in 1998, LaLacheur Park sits in the heart of Lowell and features sweeping views of the Aiken Street Bridge, Lawrence Mills, Fox Hall, and University Suite. The stadium also features the Giant Hood Milk Jug from Fenway Park and all Red Sox retired numbers.
New England Collegiate Baseball League
Built for unofficial sandlot baseball games between railroad workers from the adjacent Old Colony Division of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Line, the field hosted many barnstorming all-stars, including Negro League teams like the Baltimore Elite Giants, Boston Royal Giants and the New York Black Yankees.
Satchel Paige once played a game at Cardines. The original backstop dates back to as early as 1908, when the city organized its first six-team league at the park.
Pawtucket Red Sox (PawSox)
AAA Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox
McCoy Stadium has played host to many notable players and historic moments. But none more significant than on Apriol 18, 1981, when they hosted the Rochester Red Wings in what would become the longest professional baseball game ever played. The game went on until 4:07 am, when it was suspended, to be resumed on June 23. 19 fans remained in attendence, who all received lifetime passes to the stadium.
When the game finally did resume--more than a month later--it only lasted 18 minutes, with the PawSox winning on a game winning RBI from Dave Koza in the bottom of the 33rd inning. Two future Hall of Famers played in that game: Cal Ripken, Jr. (Rochester) and Wade Boggs (Pawtucket)
Vermont Lake Monsters
NY-Penn League Affiliate of the Oakland A's
In 2005, Centennial Field was the Vermont stop on ESPN's "50 States in 50 Days" tour. In 2007 it was recognized by ESPN.com's Jim Caple as one of the top 10 ball park destinations in the U.S. It is also featured in the 2008 book, "101 Baseball Places To See Before You Strike Out" by Josh Pahigian.
(Senator Thomas J. Dodd Memorial Stadium)
Dodd Stadium hosted the 12th and final Double-A All-Star Game on July 10, 2002, in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 8,009. In 2006, the stadium was used as the setting for the ESPN miniseries The Bronx Is Burning, based on a Jonathan Mahler book.
New Britain Stadium
New Britain Rock Cats
New Britain, CT
New Britain Stadium hosted the Eastern League All-Star Game on July 16, 2003, before a then-record crowd of 7,169 fans. On the last day of the 2004 season, it welcomed its two millionth visitor. A new all-time attendance record was set on June 17, 2006, when 7,567 packed the stadium for a regular-season game against the Akron Aeros. The current record is 8,790 fans, for the June 18, 2010 Rock Cats game against the Reading Phillies.
NE Delta Dental Stadium
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
In 2008 the stadium hosted a record 8,762 fans for the 2008 Northeast Delta Dental Eastern League All-Star Game. This record was surpassed on May 26, 2009 with 8,903 fans in attendance. Red Sox pitcher John Smoltz started the game for the opposing Portland Sea Dogs in a rehab start.
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