PITTSFIELD, Mass -- As crowds of baseball fans file into Pittsfield’s Wahconah Park on a nightly basis, many are not aware of the history behind the very grounds they are walking. As the 2019 Futures League All-Star Game approaches, it is important to be able to appreciate the rich past of this ballpark.
Built in 1919, the city-owned ballpark is one of the last in the United States that has a wooden grandstand, making it extremely unique. It seats 4,500 fans in total and has seen the talent and development of upwards of 200 major leaguers. If that isn’t historic or significant enough, it was recognized and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.
Wahconah is filled with unique features that set it apart from other ballparks. The park faces west, one of only two professional ballparks in the United States with a westerly orientation. This makes it difficult for the batter to see the pitch during evening games when the sun is setting. Still, to this day, umpires will call for a sun delay during games, leaving no question as to how the Pittsfield Suns got their name.
As the Suns call Wahconah Park home now, the park has been home to some recognizable Major League affiliates as well. The Boston Red Sox AA affiliate Pittsfield Red Sox played at Wahconah from 1965-1969. That Pittsfield Red Sox team produced Major League players such as Reggie Smith, George Scott, and National Baseball Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk. Other AA affiliates to play at Wahconah following the Red Sox include the Washington Senators, Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Chicago Cubs. The Single-A Pittsfield Mets came into town from 1989-2000, followed by the Pittsfield Astros that played in the city in 2001.
Clearly, the park was a hot commodity for Major League affiliates and other well-known leagues around the country. So much so that in the July 23, 1990 issue of Sports Illustrated, author Daniel Okrent praised Wahconah Park in his column that he titled Just a Little Bit of Heaven—Pittsfield’s Wahconah Park is Baseball as it Oughta Be.
In 2005, the Pittsfield Dukes, a New England Collegiate Baseball League team, were brought to Wahconah Park by former Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette. This Dukes team drew in 28,955 fans in 21 home games, putting Wahconah Park even more onto the map than it was before.
A couple of other teams came and went following the Pittsfield Dukes, when finally the Pittsfield Suns came into the equation. The Suns claimed Wahconah as their home ballpark in 2012 as an expansion franchise of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. Now celebrating it’s eighth season in league, the Suns are set to host an all star game that will go down in history.
Be sure to come on down and experience one of America’s most iconic ballparks first-hand and support the league’s top talents from this season at the 2019 Futures League All Star Game on July 16th. There will be events going on all day including the Home Run Derby at 6PM with the All Star Game first pitch at 7:15 PM. For ticket information, please visit pittsfieldsuns.com. Be sure to stay updated with 2019 All Star Game news and rosters in the coming weeks on our social media accounts and our website, thefuturesleague.com.
Thank you all for your support of our league and we can’t wait to see you on July 16th in Pittsfield! It is not something you will want to miss!