The Nashua Dodgers
Greetings from Nashua, NH!
When a friend from New Hampshire found out I was a Dodger fan, he asked me “Did you know the Dodgers had a minor league team in New Hampshire?” I told him, yes, I had heard of it but I knew very little of that.
Well, back in 1946 when Branch Rickey signed Don Newcombe & Roy Campanella He had to send them to A ball because of their history as Negro League stars. When a Midwestern league made it clear that blacks were not welcome, Rickey contacted Buzzy Bavasi, then a young general manager with the Nashua Dodgers. Bavasi made it clear that his only interest was in a player’s ability.
We were very lucky to play in that area, says Newcombe. On a short brick outfield wall in a very short left field are circles with the numbers 36, 39, and 42.
Nashua holds another first in the history of the desegregation of major league baseball. When Nashua manager Walter Alston was ejected from a game that year, he left the team in the hands of Roy Campanella, who became the first African-American to manage an affiliated major league game. The Nashua Dodgers beat the Lawrence Millionaires 7-5. 3 That year the team won the New England League Championship.
There is another interesting note to the 1946 season. A local poultry farmer, Jack Fallgren, offered 100 baby chicks for every home run hit by a Nashua player. At the end of the season, Campanella shipped 1400 chicks to his father, who started a chicken farm outside of Philadelphia.
Holman Stadium has also been home to three other minor league teams, the 1980s Eastern League affiliates of the California Angels (1983) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1984-86), as well as the short-lived independent Nashua Hawks (1995-96).