Holman’s history was the real star on Wednesday

Home run.

Sure, the huge extravaganza planned for the Futures Collegiate League All-Star Game and 80th Birthday Celebration of Holman Stadium took a bit of a hit with Tuesday’s rain. The crowd was announced as 2,825, but there were some unused tickets, likely due to the change. But certainly over 2,000 in the house.

But could it have been any better on Wednesday night? From the Scout Day, to the great Home Run Derby, to the intros of eras and video history, video message from former Nashua Pride manager, the ever popular Butch Hobson, to the return of the World Famous Monkey Boy….well, just about everything, was fantastic.

Another Holman night to remember.

How special was it to see Hobson on the video board, relive some of the history, and then see 92-year-old Fred Gutherz, who played for the 1948 Nashua Dodgers take the field and throw out the first pitch.

“This is a big improvement from when I was here,” Gutherz said with a laugh. “We were playing by candle light.”

Seeing the old Dodger uniforms brought back memories. “Oh yeah, certainly,” Gutherz said. “It’s nice.”

It was fun for Nashua fans to see favorite Silver Knight Jake Lebel win the Home Run Derby. “It’s a long day,” Lebel said, “but an absolute blast, especially being here in front of all the Nashua fans. It’s unbelievable. Absolutely awesome. This is phenomenal. These fans are going to keep us going all night.”

Hobson told the fans that “Living in Nashua was a big part of my life.” And of course, if you wanted even more Nashua Pride nostalgia, all you had to do was see the World Famous Monkey Boy take the field and perform, and also hear the golden pipes of longtime Pride public address announcer Ken Cail. Nostalgia indeed.

This was certainly one of those nights. Mark it down, keep the program if you were there. All-Star games can give you memorable plays, and it was memorable to Lebel homer and drive in two runs in the game.

Ames hasn’t lost his touch as Monkey Boy, teasing players and umpires alike, and doing a striptease on the field in the seventh inning.

It’s funny, FCBL Commissioner Chris Hall, who also served a tenure as Nashua Pride general manager, didn’t really know all the history of Holman Stadium until he got here.

“No, I really didn’t,” he said. “I grew up in Brockton. It was a different history for me.”

Hall actually almost became part of Holman history as a player years earlier. Remember the ill-fated Nashua Hawks? Their manager, the late Harry Ayotte – a terrific manager and man – asked Hall to join the team. But injuries prevented that.

So he later became a Pride GM. “And had no idea what I was doing,” he said with a grin.

Hall was thrilled to see baseball return to Holman in 2011 with the work of Drew Weber. All Weber could say when asked about the night was “Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.”

Pretty much sums it up. Another part of history, in a historical place.

Tom King can be reached at 594-1251,tking@nashuatelegraph.com., or @Telegraph_TomK.