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.

Roy Campanella (left) and Don Newcombe (right) at Nashua's Holman Stadium, 1946. Historical New Hampshire cover image courtesy of the Boston Globe.
 
 
And Did You Know?

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).
 

5 Comments

Great history lesson! Thanks!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Very interesting! I wonder where the elder Campanella’s chicken farm was? Enjoy the rest of your time in NH.
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

Julia,
The Nashua Prides used to play here. This year is the American Defenders. The new ownership group is led by former Red Sox GM, Dan duquette. The field manager isformer Red Sox first baseman, Brian daubach.
.
Sue,
I don’t know where the elder Campanella’s Chicken farm was but he was born in Philadelphia. There is a black & white movie called “Is Good to be Alive” starting Campy. It is sad how his career was cut short by his accident. Thanks! I went today to catch some of the game at Holman’s stadium. I took pictures but I wont’ be able to post them until I return.

Interesting, Emma. Who knew? My brother-in-law lives near there, but he’s never mentioned the team. Have fun! I’ll be joining you in the northeast tomorrow.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Jane,
I don’t think many people know that ballpark exist but is such a nice rich history. I am back in L.A. and now you should be back East. Good luck with your team

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