Pittsfield to Host Amherst vs. Williams Game
PITTSFIELD — The famous college rivalry between Williams and Amherst returns to the birthplace of baseball next week.
The city will host "Hall of Fame Day at Wahconah Park" on Saturday, April 12, to commemorate the oldest rivalry in college baseball. The two liberal arts colleges first met on the baseball diamond in 1859; next year marks the 150th anniversary of that July 1 game.
Baseball was played a little differently back then; Amherst beat Williams 73-32 in 25 innings.
"On March 14, U.S. Rep. John Olver introduced a bill to recognize Pittsfield as being the birthplace of college baseball, and this rivalry game is what sparked the bill," said Mayor James M. Ruberto on Friday. "I am looking forward to Saturday's game and the historic 150th anniversary game next year."
Former Eph baseball player Michael Barbera, a 1989 graduate, got the ball rolling on this project and was assisted by Amherst graduate Dan Duquette who grew up in nearby Dalton, according to Williams College officials.
Barbera and Duquette worked with Williams head coach Bill Barrale and Amherst head coach Bill Thurston to move the game from the Williams campus to Pittsfield. Barbera and Duquette also enlisted the support of the Ruberto and secured the use of historic Wahconah Park.
There will be a ceremony before the game, when Collegiate Hall of Famer Neal Heaton, a graduate of the University of Miami, will officially commemorate Pittsfield as the "Birthplace of College Baseball" and Williams vs. Amherst as its oldest rivalry. Brad Walker, a member of the Hall of Fame's board, will also be on hand.
The Hall of Fame, in Lubbock, Texas, will have a stadium sign made up for Wahconah Park, embossed with the "Birthplace of College Baseball" logo.
"Families are encouraged to come out and make a day of the event," said Duquette, former Red Sox general manager and president of the Pittsfield Dukes, a New England Collegiate Baseball League. "This game is leading up to a very important and significant event for Western Massachusetts, Pittsfield and college baseball."
The Dan Duquette Sports Academy is sponsoring a College Baseball Hall of Fame youth clinic the morning of the game at Wahconah. The clinic will be free and is open to all youth sports leagues in Pittsfield and the surrounding area. Registration begins at 10 and the clinic starts at 10:30.
The college game begins at 1 p.m. Children are free with an adult admission of $5.
A fan bus for Williams students will be made available from the campus to Wahconah Park for the contest.
Additional information added on April 6, 2008.