Monday, January 2, 2012

guys from connecticut, pt 1

Let's face it, Connecticut isn't know for its baseball. It's miles behind New York or California or any other bigger state for that matter. We have no professional Major League team (in any sport for that matter) after the Hartford Whalers left.

What it does have though is a small group of professional Major Leaguers that either spent time living here or were from one of our little New England towns (or cities I suppose) and this series of posts will highlight them. I'll also give a little insight on them if I have any and show in relation to where they are (or were) to where I am. It's a small state and I live practically in the middle. I can reach any of the four borders in about 45 minutes, tops, so no one is really all that far.

First for this initial post though, I'd like to go through a few of the teams that we do have in our humble little state. Four teams, at least in the past 15 years, have made Connecticut their home turf. Let's check them out.

First up we have probably the most recognizable of the bunch, the Minnesota Twins Double A affiliate, New Britain Rock Cats. As I have mentioned before, this stadium is 8 minutes from my house and we've attended a bunch of games in the past two seasons. Its a great time every time. That stadium gets pretty packed on a charity night, for an important game or when a Yankee is sent down to their Double A, the Trenton Thunder and they happen to be playing in New Britain. I'm not kidding. Phil Hughes got sent to Trenton and they played a game against the Cats at home and they filled that stadium up. Sure it can only hold about 8000 fans but they did it.

Next up we have the Connecticut Tigers, the Single A affiliate for the Detroit Tigers. I have not made it to a Tigers game yet but I plan to this season. A while back I talked of a missed opportunity to meet Al Kaline at a game and was pretty bummed that I did. They play in Dodd Stadium in Norwich, which is about a good half hour from me. More with traffic. Once I do make it to a game I'll be sure to post up some pictures.

How about these guys? Part of the Atlantic League, they are not affiliated with an MLB team. I haven't been to a game here either and they're another good 30 minute drive but in the opposite direction as the Tigers. I also just read that their manager is Willie Upshaw, of Toronto Blue Jays fame (1978-87). Cool! I am also going to try and get to one of these games this season too.

Now here is one I forgot all about until I ran into a Minor league card at the local shop while rummaging through a box. The New Haven Ravens were the Double A Affiliate of the Colorado Rockies in 1994. Then in 2003 they moved the franchise up to New Hampshire, to become the... you guessed it... New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Double A Affiliate of the Blue Jays. Thats some neat history right there. I remember hearing advertisements for Ravens games on the radio back in the 90's.

Sure there have also been some others before these teams, like the New Britain Red Sox, the Connecticut Defenders, who were the Norwich Navigators, who are now the Richmond Flying Squirrels (in Virginia). They both used to play where the Tigers play now. Around 1902 we even had our own league, the Connecticut State League, which folded in 1914. We also had one of the original teams to start up the National League in 1876, the Hartford Dark Blues, a team which lasted only two seasons but will forever be cemented in history as a charter member of the National League.

So that about wraps up our little history lesson. I plan on focusing on a single player in these posts from here on out, so be on the look out for part two very soon. I just wanted to do a little baseball background from the state for the initial posting.


  1. Minor league baseball is a ton of fun. I didn't realize Detroit had a team in Connecticut, that's cool, maybe I'll make it out there some time.

  2. The Ravens were with the Mariners in 98-99 but never really fielded very good teams. The did have cool looking hats though.

  3. Oh yes, the Connecticut Dark Blues. Since I'm from Connecticut and went to visit a few months ago, I saw a photo of the old stadium and a team picture at an antique shop. It was a really cool piece that I wish I ended up buying.

  4. Great post!!! When I was a kid it was a BIG deal to drive out to Beehive Field and watch the New Britain Red Sox play... I hated the Red Sox, but followed both Ellis Burks and Brady Anderson because of their ties to NB... I started going to Ravens games when I was older and lived in New Haven... The other teams were born long after I became a southern Troll... Once again, great post!!!