Lynn's Fraser Field was built in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The 73-year old field has a long and colorful history including hosting the 1940’s Lynn Red Sox, the farm club of owner Tom Yawkey’s Boston Red Sox. Other former tenants of the grand old park include the Lynn Tigers, Lynn Sailors, Lynn Pirates, Massachusetts Mad Dogs and North Shore Spirit.
The infield of historic Fraser Field is field turf while the outfield is natural grass. In late 2013, the existing artificial turf is scheduled to be replaced, and the new material will also include turfing all infield dirt areas except the mound.
Currently Fraser Field is home of the North Shore Navigators of the New England Futures League, which is a college level wood bat league (similar to the Cape Cod League.) The Navigators began play in 2008 and captured the championship of the New England College Baseball League in 2010.
Fraser Field is also home to the five Lynn High School Varsity Baseball teams: Lynn Classical, Lynn English, Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, St. Mary’s and KIPP Academy.
The Fisher College Falcons of Boston, under the direction of Athletic Director and Head Baseball Coach Scott Dulin, also call Fraser field home.
In 2011, Fraser Field hosted the MIAA State Baseball Championships. Annually, Fraser hosts many state tournament games, as well as the Agganis Classic, the Massachusetts High School Coaches All Star Game and the Lynn Invitational.
In 2012, under new ownership by Salvi Sports Group and General Manager Bill Terlecky, the Navigators switched to the Futures League, reaching playoffs in their first season of competition in that circuit.
The 2013 Navigators will be managed by Peabody native Jon Cahill and the roster will include Lynn’s Kyle Devin and Saugus’ Riley McEachern. Front office staff includes Lynn’s Joe Gill and Ashley Laramie.
Fraser Field is located next to the former Manning Bowl, which was razed and replaced with the new Manning Field in 2008.
||The North Shore Navigators
||Fraser Field and Manning Field are located in East Lynn. The entrance to either field can be accessed via Locust and Ford Streets.
Click on the map icon for a full map and directions.
|The Fraser Story by Robert Keaney
||LYNN WAS RED SOX NATION, 1946-48
When Fraser Field hosted its first ever Minor League game in 1946, the Lynn Red Sox dueled the first racially integrated team based in the United States in the 20th century -- the Nashua Dodgers.
In the historic contest, before 4000 fans, Nashua's burly catcher Roy Campanella (who was African-American and Italian) connected for his first professional home run on his way to a Hall of Fame career. It was the park's first ever pro homer, also.
The playoffs that year were weirdly scheduled. During the series, a doubleheader began at Fraser in the afternoon. Then both teams rode a bus to Nashua, New Hampshire, to play the nightcap!
Tom Yawkey liked cozy Fraser Field in Lynn, just 10 miles north of Fenway Park. For his Class A New England League team -- the Lynn Red Sox --Yawkey named Pip Kennedy, a St. Mary's High coach, as skipper. Yawkey even brought his Fenway Park Sox with Ted Williams and Johnny Pesky to play here twice!
In 1948, the Lynn Sox featured the long ball as Dale Long, Lynn's first baseman, lashed out 28 homers, a local pro record. Dale became a Big Leaguer with the Pittsburgh Pirates and set a MLB record with home runs in 8 straight games, a mark shared by Junior Griffey and Don Mattingly. In three seasons, Yawkey's "Lynn Red Sox" compiled an impressive 253-118, but moved out after 1948.
DETROIT TIGERS GIVE FRASER A TRY
In 1949, a former Lynn English baseball star named Larry Kelly became owner of Fraser's next Minor League squad. His Detroit Tigers farm club moved into the Fraser "Cage" in the Eastern League. The Lynn Tigers were tame, but did wind up signing Lynn Classical shortstop George Bullard to a Major League contract at Fraser ceremonies. Soon, it was goodbye Tigers and farewell to Minor League baseball at Fraser for the next 31 long summers.
LYNN SAILORS ANCHORED HERE, 1980-82
In 1980, like a breath of fresh ocean air, the Seattle Mariners farm club -- The Lynn Sailors -- rode the waves into Fraser waters. After smooth sailing for two seasons, attendance sank like an anchor causing the Sailors to ship out. Sixteen Sailors, including Spike Owen, short-stop with the pennant-winning Red Sox in 1986, made it to The Show. Remember Spike Owen, Alvin Davis, Mike Moore, Jim Presley, Matt Young, Clark Crist, Orlando Mercardo, Tito Nanni, Hal Reynolds, Rodney Hobbs, Karl Best, and Bud Black? All became Major Leaguers. Black is now manager of the San Diego Padres! The Sailors were also popular in 1981 and 1982, but sailed away in favor of the new Lynn Pirates.
PIRATES WERE SHOT DOWN BY THE ROCKET, 1983
In 1983, Roger Clemens The Rocket smashed Lynn's championship dreams. That year, former Lynn Classical infielder Mike Agganis (Harry's nephew) and Red Sox great Rico Petrocelli brought in the Lynn Pirates. The owners and players were super, but didn't draw well, and were beaten in the championship finals by none other than future 7-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens of the New Britain Red Sox.
THE MAD DOGS HAD BITE, 1996-98
In 1996, Fraser Field became The Dawg Pound.The Massachusetts Mad Dogs were unleashed here for three good years, and were led by pitcher Jay Murphy, Tony Nicosia Jr., Eric Roepsch, all of Lynn; Mike Giardi of Salem, Doug Spofford of Swampscott, and MVP Roy Marsh. The skipper was George Scott, who was "The Boomer" for the '67 Red Sox. They made it to the finals but lost in the thrilling finale.
PLENTY OF SPIRIT AT FRASER, 2003-2007
In 2003, Nick Lopardo's Spirit became the most popular minor league squad in Fraser history. Lopardo spent millions and redesigned the historic park (erected in 1940), called it Fraser Field, and hired Fenway favorites John (Super Sub) Kennedy as manager; Dick (The Monster) Radatz as pitching coach, and Rich Gedman, coach. The trio, along with coaches Frank Carey and Jim Tgettis, steered the Spirit to the league's Little World Series finals two seasons in a row. Ken Ray of the 2005 Spirit went on to pitch for the Atlanta Braves and, in his debut, fanned Barry Bonds on three pitches! The Spirit had much success and popularity, but moved on after five seasons. Fans fretted, but Rosenfield, Falcon and their young Navigators saved the day. They navigated their way here to deliver baseball-hungry North Shore fans more summers of fabulous family fun at fabled and friendly Fraser Field.
|Lynn High School State Titles
Fraser has been home to a few state titles for Lynn teams:
1937: English High, under Coach Tom Whelan and Jim Hegan and George Bontaitis.
1947: Classical, with George Bullard, John McCarthy and Harry Agganis, and Coach Bill Joyce.
1973 Lynn Tech, with Rick Ford on the hill, and Bart Conlon as skipper.
1980: The English Bulldogs, spearheaded by pitcher Mark Ricker, Joe O'Connor and Tom Day and Coach Ron Bennett.
1986: St. Mary's, with pitcher Tim Fila and Coach Jim Tgetis in charge.
1987: St. Mary's repeated with Bill Norcross, Derek Dana, Mark Giardina and Tgettis.
|Other Fun Fraser Facts
Mike Pazik pitched Fraser’s only perfect game...
It was June of 1968 when Pazik's Lynn English nine beat Haverhill 8-0. The tall high-kicking southpaw fanned 18 of 21 batters. Catcher that day was Doug Anderson. For the spring, Pazik had a string of 59 scoreless innings, and finished 18-2 lifetime before starring at Holy Cross, throwing a no-hitter with the Yankees' Syracuse team, winning a game with the Minnesota Twins, and becoming Chicago's big league pitching coach. As a Bulldogs senior for Coach Dave (Jingles) Barry, he fanned 106 in 60 innings.
FRASER NO-HITTERS: Salem High's Jeff Juden threw a 1989 state tourney no-no with 19 strikeouts vs. Wakefield, a week before signing with Houston Astros. His Salem record: 30-4.
Leo Estabrook of English held Gloucester hitless in '96 on his way to a 30-9 record. Gregg Burke of Classical fired a no-no vs. Beverly in '98. Beverly got back at Classical in 2005 when Dave Silvio no-hit Rams here. English lefty Fred Cole turned the trick in ‘05 for Coach Joe Caponigro, and Bulldog David Kolozetski spun his gem here for St. Mary's in '04. St. Mary's Spartan Tim Burt had a no-no in the 1980s on Tony Conigliaro Day.
More English mound legends: Ed Turmenne, now a Lynn school principal, owned 0.44 earned run average ion his heyday. Dick Newton won 25 in a row; Jim Leonard ws a marvel in the 1950s; Tippy Johnson (18-5), Turmenne, Vin Jarvis, the late Mark Ricker (27-2), Vin Maribito and Leo Estabrook (he bagged 30 wins) won more than 170 games for Lynn English. Ray Bessom reportedly won 30 games in a row for English in the 1930s.Maribito holds the record for most strikeouts at Fraser with 23 in a 12 inning thriller in 1972. In 2007, Maribito, now a city worker, is presently caretaker of the Fraser diamond prior to schoolboy games.
Let's not forget Lynn English's Larry Kelly, who reportedly won 26 in a row during The Roarin' Twenties. In 1949, Kelly bought the Lynn minor league franchise in the N.E. League from the Boston Red Sox. He hired Hap Clancy (Mayor Chip Clancy’s uncle!) as business manager and Pip Kennedy as skipper for his Lynn Tigers, a Detroit Tigers minor league squad.
Classical greats include Eric McGrath, Bobby Nash, Bobby Cronin, Stan Dubis, Sam Sapira, Dick Champa, and Ken Hill, who won 117 games in the Major Leagues. Bullet Bob Remson fanned 18 in 7 innings at Fraser while besting Pazik in a title showdown in '68. Ram ace Jackie Carroll (a perfect game hurler for Connery at Peabody) had a 17-strikeout game here, and old timers recall Donnie Cross whiffing 20.
Lynn Tech hurling heroes include Gene D'Amico (career 4 no-hitters), Mike Mesalbas, Richie Wancewicz, and Tech’s Al Donovan, but will anyone ever top the four no-hitters in a row by Mike Wetmore?
St. Mary's mound aces include Tim Burt, Richie Wancewicz, and Chris Howard who was a combined 2-0 with both the Red Sox and White Sox during his big league career. Howard is now on the staff of the Navigators.
St. Jean's was a high school in Lynn, making five in the city dur9ng the 1950s. Larry Lessard logged 20 strikeouts in a state tourney win at Fraser. In 1959, the blond-headed right-hander halted Hamilton, whose own hurler fanned 22. The combined total of 42 K's set a tournament and Fraser record. Other talented Allouettes stars for Coach Mike Carr were Carl Deveau, Billy Beaton, Jack Koloski, Ed Gaudet, Eddie Gagnon, Rob Roy and Ken Cormier.
One Fraser Field hero from Gloucester was 1962 Boston Red Sox hurler Billy MacLeod. With the Fisherman, in 1960, he pitched at Fenway with the Red Sox, but not before he sailed into Fraser to strike out 19 Lynn English batters and 17 Classical swingers in victories. MacLeod, here to honor Dick Radatz in 2005, recalled: "I once had a no-hitter going for 8 and two-thirds innings against Classical, but I lost it when Mike Agganis got a single." Yes, Mike was Harry's nephew, who spoiled the no-hit bid. Mike later became owner of the Lynn Pirates, the Fraser Field team that was beaten by The Rocket, Roger Clemens, back in 1983.
||Photo Courtesy of BallParkWatch.com