04/22/2008 9:15 AM
Cape League’s Chatham, Harwich
Get 2008 Yawkey Foundation Grant
For Improvements to Baseball Fields
BOSTON -- For the fourth straight season, the Cape Cod Baseball League has received a grant of $300,000 from the Yawkey Foundation to support improvements of its baseball fields, this time in the towns of Chatham and Harwich.
The Cape League has now received a total of $1.2 million in Yawkey grants to enhance playing facilities for eight of its 10 teams.
Veterans Field, home of the Chatham A’s, and Whitehouse Field, home of the Harwich Mariners, will receive $150,000 each to utilize for field improvements to support the activities of the Cape League and community baseball leagues, including high school, Babe Ruth League and American Legion teams.
This is the fourth time the Cape League has received a $300,000 grant from the Yawkey Foundation. Bourne and Brewster benefited in 2004-05 to assist in the construction of new fields for the Bourne Braves and Brewster Whitecaps. Falmouth and Hyannis received similar grants in 2006, as did Cotuit and Wareham last year.
“On behalf of the Field Upgrade and Improvement Committee, I am thrilled with this most recent grant from Yawkey Foundation II toward phase four of our program,” said Dick Sullivan, committee chairman. “To date, we have received $900,000 in grant funds for the first three phases, resulting in two brand new fields and dramatic upgrades in four others. I am delighted to report we have recommended and the Yawkey Foundation II has subsequently approved a grant of $300,000 to the Cape League with Chatham and Harwich as recipients for 2008.
Each franchise will receive $150,000 toward completion of upgrades with a focus on safety for players and fans alike. The thrust in Harwich is for state-of-the-art, maintenance-free, high-intensity lighting to replace an outdated system which presented increasing safety issues.
Chatham will focus on renovating the outfield, upgrading lights, building a brick knee wall behind home plate and additional safety netting in front of the stands. The biggest item of the improvements is a re-building of the outfield with related drainage and other improvements that will yield a greatly improved playing surface.
According to Sullivan, what is even more impressive is the degree of community support and partnership for these improvements, a critical element in the grant application process.
"The Chatham Athletic Association is thrilled to receive this grant from the Yawkey Foundation,” said Peter Troy, association president. “Veterans Field in Chatham is one of the premiere locations in the Cape League to thoroughly enjoy the full experience of our special brand of baseball. This grant will allow us and the town of Chatham to upgrade lights, install new viewer-friendly screens with a brick knee wall from dugout to dugout.
He continued, “We are most grateful to the support of the Yawkey Foundation in supporting this project. In addition to the Yawkey grant, Chatham fans and our community have generously supported this project. We look forward to commencing the major work right after Labor Day.”
The Harwich Mariners report that all the necessary equipment for the lighting upgrade at Whitehouse Field is on hand and awaiting the completion of the pole foundations. Led by the efforts of vice president Jim McGonigle, the ambitious, $320,000 project is being funded by a grant from the Yawkey Foundation, local team supporters, the Town of Harwich and the Cape Cod Five Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank Charitable Foundation.
"We expect to have the new lights ready by our mid-June summer season start." said Mary Henderson, president of the Harwich Athletic Association. "There is still much to do, but we have every reason to believe the target date will hold." stated Peg Rose, association secretary.
The mission of the Yawkey Foundation is to continue the charitable legacy of former Boston Red Sox owners, the late Tom and Jean Yawkey by making grants that provide immediate, significant and positive impact on the quality of life of youth, families and the under-served.
The Yawkeys were committed to organizations focused on youth and amateur athletics, education, health care, social services, arts and culture and conservation. Following the sale of the Red Sox, the reach of the Yawkey Foundations broadened considerably.
"The Yawkey Foundation is pleased to provide a grant this year to Chatham and Harwich,” said Jim Healey, its president. "The Cape Cod Baseball League continues to play a key role in developing some of the outstanding players in the game today. Tom and Jean Yawkey were passionate about amateur and professional baseball and the Boston Red Sox. Supporting these field improvement projects is a good fit for the Yawkey
The Cape League returns this summer for its 124th campaign. The now 10-team league originated in 1885 with individual town teams, was reorganized into the Cape Cod Baseball League in 1923 with teams in Chatham, Falmouth, Hyannis and Osterville and is now the premier collegiate baseball summer league in the country.
With more than 1,000 alumni performing at all levels of professional baseball, a total of 212 former Cape Leaguers currently populate major league rosters, including World Series MVP Mike Lowell (Chatham ’94), Boston Red Sox captain Jason Varitek (Hyannis (’91, ’93), AL Comeback Player of the Year Carlos Pena (Harwich ‘96/Wareham ’97) former Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito (Wareham ’97 & ’98), former AL batting champion Nomar Garciaparra (Orleans ’93) and former NL Fireman of the Year Billy Wagner (Brewster ‘92) . A total of 20 performers in the 2007 World Series honed their skills in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
Cape Leaguers of yesteryear include Baseball Hall of Famer Harold “Pie” Traynor (Falmouth ’19), “former New York Yankee greats “Jumpin” Joe Dugan, Red Rolfe (Orleans ’30) and Thurman Munson (Chatham ’67), former Texas Rangers and New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine (Yarmouth ’67), Cy Young Award winners Steve Stone (Chatham ’68) and Mike Flanagan (Falmouth ’72), Firemen-of-the-Year Wayne Granger (Sagamore ’62) and Jeff Reardon (Cotuit ’74-76), MLB scout Len Merullo (Barnstable ’35) and Manager of the Year Nat “Buck” Showalter (Hyannis ’76).
Today’s CCBL teams are located in Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Cotuit, Falmouth, Harwich, Hyannis, Orleans, Wareham and Yarmouth-Dennis. The 2008 season gets under way on the weekend of June 13-15.