FIRST PRO GAME IN CITY SINCE 1965
Pittsfield Colonials of the Can-Am League added an exhibition game to their schedule on Monday May 24, at historic Walker Grandstand at Forest Park in Springfield, Mass., at 4 p.m.
The Colonials, managed by former Boston Red Sox slugger Brian Daubach, took on a local college all-star team comprised of players from several area college baseball programs. The contest marked the first professional team appearance in Springfield since 1965, when the Eastern League's Springfield Giants last played in town. Springfield mayor Domenic Sarno will throw out the first pitch.
The afternoon included a tribute to the Springfield American Legion Post 21's baseball team from 1934. That year, the post's team withdrew from a tournament in Gastonia, N.C., upon learning that the squad's lone black player, Ernest “Bunny” Taliaferro, would not be allowed to participate. The two players from the team still living, Tony King and Daniel Keyes, were on hand at the game. There is also currently a monument at Walker Grandstand in Forest Park to commemorate the event.
The post dropped its baseball program shortly thereafter, but has restarted its baseball program this season. The City will celebrate the Post’s return with several games in June, as well as a “vintage game” between the Whately Pioneers and the Westfield Wheelmen.
Following the game, there was a Colonials’ “meet and greet” with members of the Cathedral High School baseball team. A star soccer player from the school, Conor Reynolds, was tragically killed last month, and the baseball team has been bringing his jersey to their games and wearing his jersey number 5 on their hats.
The Colonials' other exhibition game was on Sunday, May 23 against Worcester at Wahconah Park at 2:00 p.m. The team's regular-season home opener is on Monday, May 31 against the New Jersey Jackals at 3:00 p.m.