Mansfield Park
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Middletown, CT

Team: Middletown Mansfields Opening Day: May 2, 1872
Closing Day: July 4, 1872 Surface: grass
Capacity: 800 AKA: Fort Hill Grounds, Mansfield Club Grounds

The Mansfields were named after General Joeseph King Fenno Mansfield, hero of the Mexican - American war. He was later killed at the Battle of the Antietam in Sharpsburg, Maryland.

Below is some information about the park by baseball historian and author David Arcidiacono.

As the 1871 season was rapidly approaching, time was growing short for finding a playing field. Dewitt Clinton Sage, owner of a Middletown brick factory, came through with a generous civic gesture. He presented the Mansfields with a portion of his property "near the shirt factory, five minutes walk from the McDonough House (famous hotel on Main Street), for their free use as a base ball ground for five years." This was an especially convenient location as the Valley Railroad ran right by the field.

Although thankful for the gift, the Mansfields now faced the daunting task of transforming the bare hillside previously used for grazing cows into a ball field. The paln was to grade the land and fence the lot with a 450 by 350 foot enclosure made of eight foot boards. This was such a huge job that the Mansfields decided to delay the start of their season until May 31 while they completed the task. Unfortunately the Mansfields weren't wuite up to the task and their May 31 game against the Forest City Club of Rockford Illinois had to be cancelled since the field was't ready. The team opened the park on June 9, with a 30-14 loss to the Brooklyn Atlantics. 650 people arrived at the ballpark, nearly filling the stands which held 800. The field's elevated location afforded fans a fantastic view of both the city and the river. Frale's Excelsior Band and the Amy tone dramatic troupe were on hand to provide additional enjoyment for the crowd.....

This information was provided by David Arcidiacono of East Hampton, Connecticut. Mr. Arcidiacono is the author of Middletown's Season In The Sun - The Story of Connecticut's First Professional Baseball Team and Grace, Grit, and Growling: The Hartford Dark Blues Base Ball Club 1874-1877. Both books can be purchased at the Vintage Baseball Factory website (www.vbbf.com) or through the author, who can be contacted at DArcidiacono@SNET.NET.

2003-04 Paul Healey except where noted.