Chronological Tour: Stop 290

Fitton Field

An overview of Fitton Field from the parking garage, Jul-2005.

An opposite-side view of the seating bowl.

The light towers and outfield fence are new for the professional club.

Quick Facts: Rating: 3 baseballs
The College of the Holy Cross was founded on land purchased for the Catholic Church by Father Fitton, who was born in 1805 and ordained in 1827. The college was founded on the property in 1843. On Wednesday 19-Apr-1905, 100 years and nine days after Fr. Fitton was born, the Crusaders’ baseball program moved to a new facility at the base of the campus named after Fr. Fitton. That day, Holy Cross defeated Brown, 8-5.

As depicted in photographs, the original grandstand was quite impressive and sizable. Reports of a 1925 game pitched by Owen Carroll, who later went on to coach at Seton Hall University, say that 25,000 fans flocked to Fitton Field to watch the Purple and White score a 2-1 victory over archrival Boston College. Fitton Field also hosted several barnstorming major-league teams in the 1930s.

By 1980, the baseball portion of Fitton Field was reduced to several bleachers and a press box. (The Crusaders play other outdoor sports in an adjacent football stadium beyond right field which seats about 20,000.)

Meanwhile, Worcester, which had a National League team from 1880 to 1882 (and which was the home of the majors’ first perfect game, by J. Lee Richmond in 1880), had gone without professional baseball of any kind since 1934. That was rectified in 2005, when the Worcester Tornadoes, named strangely enough for a memorable tornado that hit Worcester in 1953, joined the Can-Am League.

Original plans for the Tornadoes were to build a professional park in Worcester and have it operational by 2008. In order that the team could begin playing in 2005, Holy Cross agreed to team up with the city to renovate Fitton Field.

The new grandstand at Fitton consists of an aluminum-based bowl with mostly stadium seats (some sections have bleachers), a press box, and concession stands along the first-base side near the entrance, which in turn is adjacent to a parking garage. Lights were installed for the first time, and the outfield fence was shortened to somewhat normal dimensions, although center field is a bit short at 385 feet. (In the early 1980s, there was no arcing fence and the ball could travel 450 feet to right-center and still be in play.)

The Tornadoes, who played eight years in the Can-Am League, shared Fitton Field with the college for their entire existence; the new park was never built, and this facility has reverted to its usual use by the Crusaders as well as for the Bravehearts, a college summer league team.

Game # Date League Level Result
1 Tue 1-Apr-1980 Independent Div I HOLY CROSS 5, Northeastern 1
2 Tue 8-Apr-1980 Independent Div I HOLY CROSS 6, Assumption 3
3 Sat 12-Apr-1980 Independent Div I HOLY CROSS 2, Providence 1, 1st
4 Sat 12-Apr-1980 Independent Div I HOLY CROSS 7, Providence 3, 2d
5 Fri 18-Apr-1980 Independent Div I HOLY CROSS 9, Bentley 0
6 Sun 20-Apr-1980 Independent Div I New Hampshire 9, HOLY CROSS 8, 1st
7 Sun 20-Apr-1980 Independent Div I HOLY CROSS 7, New Hampshire 4, 2d
8 Tue 22-Apr-1980 Independent Div I HOLY CROSS 6, Harvard 5
9 Thu 24-Apr-1980 Independent Div I HOLY CROSS 3, Massachusetts 3, 14 inn, tie
10 Sat 26-Apr-1980 Independent Div I HOLY CROSS 7, Siena 0, 1st
11 Sat 26-Apr-1980 Independent Div I HOLY CROSS 2, Siena 0, 2d
748 Sun 3-Jul-2005 Can-Am Ind. New Haven 8, WORCESTER 5
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