Chronological Tour: Stop 59

President Bush Played Here

Yale Field, looking from across the street, Jun-2003.

A semicircular seating bowl erected in the 1920s was upgraded in the 1990s. This photo and the next are from 2002.

Yalies have been playing on this ground for over 75 years.

Quick Facts: Rating: 2 baseballs
The 1920s were a time for Yale University, based in New Haven, to expand its athletic program. They bought up some land in nearby West Haven and built a football field (the Walter Camp Field at Yale Bowl) on one side of Derby Avenue and this baseball field on the other.

Yale Field hosted several barnstorming teams through the 1930s; Babe Ruth played on one of them. In the late 1940s, Yale had a first baseman named George H.W. Bush. He became the team captain; forty years later, he became President.

In 1981, Yale hosted an NCAA regional tournament. In a classic matchup, future major leaguers Ron Darling of Yale and Frank Viola of St. John’s did battle for eleven innings, which were televised by the then-fledgling ESPN, which is headquartered in nearby Bristol.

When the Eastern League expanded in 1994, one of the new franchises was the New Haven Ravens, who were affiliated with the Colorado Rockies for their first five seasons. They chose this venerable facility as their home.

My biggest complaint about Yale Field is the distance from the field to the seats, combined with a very low seating-bowl pitch. It makes the game more difficult to view here than in most parks. The park had the most foul-ball area of any park in the Eastern League; the size of its foul territory rivals the major-league park in Oakland.

In early 2003, the Ravens announced that they were planning to move to Manchester, N.H., for the 2004 season. The New Hampshire Fisher Cats would play at Gill Stadium in 2004 and move into a new facility in 2005. The last Ravens game at Yale Field was 10-Sep-2003, game two of the Eastern League championship series against the Akron Aeros. The Ravens tried to rally from a 9-0 deficit but fell short, 9-7.

The next season, an independent league club moved here from Pittsfield, Mass., and became known as the New Haven County Cutters. They lasted through 2007.

Game # Date League Level Result
135 Sun 24-Jul-1994 Eastern AA Portland 10, NEW HAVEN 1
184 Sun 27-Aug-1995 Eastern AA Portland 7, NEW HAVEN 1
187 Sat 9-Sep-1995 Eastern AA NEW HAVEN 2, Reading 0
441 Fri 8-Sep-2000 Eastern AA NEW HAVEN 5, Binghamton 3
523 Sun 30-Jun-2002 Eastern AA NEW HAVEN 6, New Britain 0
588 Fri 27-Jun-2003 Eastern AA NEW HAVEN 8, Reading 7, 10 inn
648 Wed 10-Sep-2003 Eastern AA Akron 9, NEW HAVEN 7
743 Sat 25-Jun-2005 Can-Am Ind. North Shore 6, NEW HAVEN 2
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