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)

 

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