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Best 5 Classic Baseball Fields

Best 5 Classic Baseball Fields
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Contributing editor Jim Collins wrote about fields of dreams in The Last Best League (Da Capo Press, 2004), a narrative account of one season in the fabled Cape Cod Baseball League. “Of course, no ballpark in New England–or anywhere else–can touch Fenway Park,” he says. “But you already know that.” For photos and histories of classic New England baseball parks, go to:

Edward A. LeLacheur Park
The views from the grandstand sweep out beyond left field to the Merrimack River, around to the smokestacks and brick exteriors of the mills that made Lowell famous. Home of the Lowell Spinners, the Red Sox single-A short-season team, LeLacheur opened in 1998. The constant carnival-barking promotions and between-innings entertainment may not be for baseball purists, but they’re a classic staple of minor-league baseball–and the house is packed every night. 450 Aiken St., Lowell, MA.

Veterans Field
Veterans Field turns magical when the lights come on and wisps of fog float in from offshore, and fans carrying lawn chairs and picnic blankets start filling the grassy spaces surrounding the playing field. All the diamonds shine in the Cape Cod Baseball League, the best collegiate wooden-bat league in the world–but none sparkles like the home of the Chatham Anglers. Part of the fun: picking out which college stars will become Major League players in just a couple years’ time. Another part: Admission is free. Off Route 28 (Main St.) or Depot Road, Chatham, MA.

Cardines Field
This old ballyard in downtown Newport, with its stone facade and covered wooden grandstand, is even quirkier than Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Both dugouts are on the same side of the field, which is hemmed in by houses and has crazy outfield angles–so little foul ground along the left-field line that the third-base coach can practically high-five fans in the front row. And this: the Mudville Pub, with its open-air ground-level view of the game. Cardines is the home of the Newport Gulls, which competes in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, and also the George Donnelly Sunset League, one of the oldest amateur baseball leagues in the U.S. 20 America’s Cup Ave., Newport, RI.

Recreation Field
Built in 1940 by the WPA, the wooden grandstand (with exposed iron trusses supporting a tin roof) tightly–and excitingly–packs 1,500 spectators behind home plate. The crowds watching the Vermont Mountaineers are the biggest in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The backdrop creates the postcard here: Pine trees tower above the grandstand; a long wooded hillside rises steeply beyond the left-field fence. It’s a dark-green setting for the emerald playing field. Major Leagues great Robin Roberts pitched here for two summers in the 1940s. Elm St., Montpelier, VT.

Yale Field
A horseshoe-shaped concrete grandstand, gracefully lined with arches, gives the Yale diamond not only a classic setting but a classical one. There are ghosts in the air here, of great games and great players stretching back to the park’s construction in 1927. Babe Ruth once called the playing surface “the best I’ve ever played on.” The Bulldogs’ schedule runs only through spring semester, but amateur tournaments and camps are held here in the summer. 252 Derby Ave., West Haven, CT.

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Updated Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

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