Whether it is the famed Henry Thoreau writing in 1856 about when the Concord fields were sufficiently dry in April to play ball, or the local newspaper gloating about a Concord Base Ball Club defeat of Boston 36 to 2 on Fourth of July 1879, baseball has a place in Concord’s history. As Renee Garrelick wrote in Concord in the Days of Strawberries and Streetcars, her 1985 history of Concord in the early twentieth century, “Baseball once held an unrivaled place in the recreational life of the community. From backyard games to semi-pro events swelling crowds to the thousands at Emerson Playground, baseball was the dominant recreational pastime for Concordians.”
“Fast day—Some fields are dried sufficiently for the games of ball—with which this season is commonly ushered in. I associate this day, when I can remember it, with games of base-ball played over behind the hills in the russet fields toward Sleepy Hollow where the snow was just melted & dried up.” – Henry D. Thoreau, Journal, 10 April 1856
“At 9 o’clock A.M., a match game of Base Ball was played on the Concord grounds, between the “Diamonds” of Boston and the “Concords” of Concord, in which the former suffered an overwhelming defeat. Score 36 to 2 in 8 innings.” – The Concord Freeman, July 10, 1879, reporting on July 4 festivities on the grounds behind the railroad depot
“Concord was all asparagus in those days, and we all worked at the asparagus farms. When we would get done working at night, we would all head down to Emerson Playground to play baseball in the Asparagus League. That league was established in about 1930, and it quit in about 1950 when television came in….It was the happiest time in my life in the Asparagus League.”
– Tom Hayes, interviewed August 22, 2005 at age 81, Concord Oral History Project (click here for the full interview)
Discover an American Treasure related to baseball in Concord at the Library of Congress.
Browse the William Munroe Special Collections at the Concord Free Public Library to learn more about their photographs and oral histories related to baseball in Concord.
Learn about Vintage Base Ball.
Top and background image: Three members of the Macone Family playing ball in front of the family barn on Strawberry Hill Road in Concord, sometime in the 1930s. Photograph courtesy Paul Macone.
Second image: Concord Knights of Columbus Baseball Team, about 1900. Back Row: Jim Powers, Mike Powers, Bill Dee, Mark Mara; Middle: Mike McHugh, Mart Powers, John Goulding, Jim Hanley, Jerome Gleason; Front: Martin Bulger. Photograph courtesy of Patty Powers Selin.