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On a balmy winter day, the boys of summer take to Garcelon Field for some baseball

A Weather Underground reporting station near campus said yesterday’s high temperature was 48.7 degrees. A week before, it was 22. The big swing suited these Bobcat baseball players who gleefully took to Garcelon Field for an informal practice.

Bates ballplayers pause during an informal practice on Garcelon Field. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Bates ballplayers pause during an informal practice on Garcelon Field. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

“It’s unbelievably warm,” said Sam Maliska ’15, third from left, a 6-3 righthanded pitcher from Palo Alto, Calif. “I love being out here with the boys.”

The Californian knows what Mainers know: The fun of a warm winter day is the surprise factor. “It’s unexpected,” he said. “Might as well take advantage of it while we can.”

The college’s Facility Services staff keeps the FieldTurf surface of Garcelon Field clear from snow during the winter semester so anyone can relish a bit of green space — even if the grass blades are polyethylene fibers and the ground is made of silica sand and rounded bits of cryogenic rubber.

The jaunty informality of Phyllis Graber Jensen’s photo made me think of this photo from the Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library that we ran in Bates Magazine a few years ago.

The 1892 Bates baseball team, which posted a 7–1 record en route to the state title. (Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library)

The 1892 Bates baseball team, which posted a 7–1 record en route to the state title. (Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library)

The photo shows the 1892 team, which posted a 7–1 record en route to the state title. That year’s stars included left fielder William Putnam 1892 (mustachioed, seated). A slugger who hit a team-leading four home runs, Putnam was 5 feet, 11 1/2 inches and 165 pounds — somewhat burly in a senior class whose men averaged 5-10 and 151 pounds. (Believe it or not, graduates’ height and weight used to be included in The Bates Student.)

Not so long ago, the only venue for winter baseball at Bates was indoors in the Gray Athletic Building. The dirt floor became a synthetic floor when the building was renovated in 1992 as a multipurpose space for events, recreation and athletics. Below are a couple photos of indoor baseball in the cage in the 1950s.

Head coach Chick Leahey '52 demonstrates bunting technique during a practice in Gray Athletic Building in the 1950s. (Muskie Archives and Special Colleciton Library)

Head coach Chick Leahey ’52 demonstrates bunting technique during a practice in Gray Athletic Building in the 1950s. (Muskie Archives and Special Collection Library)

 

Unidentified baseball players pose for a photo in Gray Athletic Building in the 1950s. (Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library)

Unidentified baseball players pose for a photo in Gray Athletic Building in the 1950s. (Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library)

 



2 Responses to “On a balmy winter day, the boys of summer take to Garcelon Field for some baseball”

  1. Jonathan Hall says:

    Nice job with this Jay! Thanks for bringing us a little bit of Spring in the dead of Winter.

  2. William R. Matteson '71 says:

    The Clifton Daggett Gray pictures bring back a lot of good memories. Walt Slovenski was the track coach and I went out for the track team in 1967 or 1968 to get some exercise during the winter. Chick Leahey was still the baseball coach when I was at Bates, Bob Hatch was the football coach and Lloyd Lux was the Athletic Director. He also was acting as the golf coach and took us to Cape Cod, reasoning that the cold and wind were more like what we would face in Maine than the soothing heat of Florida.

    Classes were held six days a week then, gym was mandatory (without credit), the Androscoggin was not pristine as it is today (before clean air and clean water acts), a thesis was required to graduate, classrooms were filled with lively discussions and broad points of view were expressed (before political correctness invaded much of higher ed), debating and arguing late into the night were the rule. The Vietnam War was boiling over, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were soon to be murdered,
    American’s cities were exploding in violence, and Bates was a place for lively discourse. I feel privileged to have attended Bates during such an activist period.
    The music, from young Bob Dylan to the Byrds, Beatles, Stones, Who, Joanie Baez,
    James Taylor, Buffie St. Marie, etc. was energizing, and a bright and motivated faculty made it four years that passed far too quickly. Coretta Scott King, Martin’s wife, was our commencement speaker. TREASURE YOUR TIME AT BATES.

    Bill Matteson

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