June 22, 2017
Contact: Carol K. Dumas
Regan Communications Group
508-420-5566, ext. 103
Firebirds to mark 50th anniversary of 'new' Eldredge Park
ORLEANS -- The Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod Baseball League will mark the 50th anniversary of "new" Eldredge Park, the iconic baseball field that's been home to the baseball team and a venue for tennis games, pops concerts and middle school sports throughout its history. A ceremony will be held Tuesday, July 4, before the team plays host to the Chatham Anglers at 7 p.m.
In 1913, Lewis Winslow "Win" Eldredge donated 10 acres to the town "in consideration of my affection for and interest in the young people of Orleans and my desire to provide a playground for them."
"New Eldredge Park" refers to the extensive renovations made to the baseball field in 1966. The major change was turning the field 90 degrees (home plate used to be where left field is today). The following year, the park was dedicated at the League's All-Star Game. Gov. John A. Volpe came down to throw out the first pitch. A Philadelphia sportswriter described the modernized field as "A Norman Rockwell painting come to life."
There's still a playground at Eldredge Park, but over the years, the park has become better known for being the home field of some of the nation's most famous baseball players, including shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who went on to have a storied career with the Boston Red Sox; former Chicago White Sox star Frank Thomas and former New York Yankee first basemen Mark Teixeira, who is now an analyst with ESPN.
On July 4, following a color guard ceremony, the ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by former Chatham hurler Ed Baird, who, 50 years ago, started for the Lower Cape team at the Cape League All-Star game played at Eldredge Park. Baird is still involved with the Chatham team, as treasurer and member of the board of directors of the Anglers.
Fans attending the July 4 game, will receive a commemorative postcard of "new" Eldredge Park.
“The Firebirds are fortunate to have such a beautiful venue for our games," said Firebirds President Gene Hornsby. "The unique terraced hill on the first base line provides a great place to view a game, and Eldredge Park continues to be one of the top amateur ballparks in the nation. It’s a wonderful place for family and baseball fans alike.”