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 1951 Litchfield County League
row left to right
Frank Tower, Dick Plaskett, Ken Connors, Warren Reynolds,
Doc Ferenzy, Joe Carlson, Norman Barber
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