Harwinton Firemen
Baseball Team

Back in the late 1940's and early 1950's, when baseball truly was the National pastime, there was a league in Litchfield County that included a team from Harwinton. The league was The Litchfield County League and included teams from Harwinton, Litchfield, Bantam, Canaan, Morris and Thomaston. Harwinton only fielded a team for three years but they were sure memorable.

In 1948 a group of local baseball enthusiasts wanted to join the league and were able to work out a deal to build a diamond behind the recently opened consolidated school. Through volunteerism, they all worked hard to create the field and it was impressive including the back stop built through lumber donated by the old Emmons Lumber Company.

The next obstacle would be where the uniforms would come from. It seems that a lot of the would be players were members of the Harwinton Agricultural Society, and miraculously, the society voted to fund the purchase of uniforms.

There were some very familiar names on those teams, including the 1951 League Champion Harwinton Firemen. Names like the best catcher in the league Bronc Calahan, The best outfield arm in the league Norman (Brother) Barber, Henry Barber, Kenny Connors, Dick Plaskett, Doc Ferenzy, Frank Towers, Harry Schmitt and the Reynolds brothers Warren and Vern.

I can remember attending some of those Sunday afternoon games and the crowd was really into the excitement.

Dick Plaskett recalled one game when an opposing player hit a ball to deep center field over Plaskett’s head. Dick chased down the ball, threw to Brother Barber the relay man, who fired a lazer towards Calahan. Bronc yelled at the runner to not try to score but it fell on deaf ears. Bronc held his ground and the runner, determined to earn an inside-the-park homer, barreled down the third baseline with the ball whizzing by his ear. As the ball slammed into Bronc’s waiting glove, that same glove slammed into the runner. The runner slammed into Bronc. The results were the same as if he slammed into one of the many oak trees along the third base line. Bronc didn’t move, the runner didn’t score and the crowd erupted in cheers as the runner lay prone 6 inches short of the plate.

The 1951 Litchfield County League
Championship Team

Front row left to right
Frank Tower, Dick Plaskett, Ken Connors, Warren Reynolds, Doc Ferenzy, Joe Carlson, Norman Barber

Back Row Left to right
Bronc Calahan, Joe Grech, Harry Schmitt, Warren Grosclaude, John Grech, Vernon Reynolds, Henry Barber, Don Renton.

After the 1951 season the firemen broke up and most joined the growing local fast pitch softball leagues. The basebal field, using these same volunteers, converted the field to little league dimensions and thats where the Harwinton little league played for quite a few years.

Sources: Dick Plaskett and my memory