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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Where do the Legends of Holman go from here?

Tom King

Fred Lajoie was a great choice as one of the inductees into the Nashua Lions Club Legends of Holman.

He was the thinking man’s choice. ...

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Fred Lajoie was a great choice as one of the inductees into the Nashua Lions Club Legends of Holman.

He was the thinking man’s choice.

Even Lajoie was surprised when he got the call from Lions Club official Ed Lecius. As the longtime state Bambino Commissioner his only association really with Holman Stadium was bringing the Bambino World Series to Nashua in 1988 and organizing the whole affair. Yes, he had the role as the vice chairman of a committee to explore the return of minor league baseball to Nashua soon after, but that move failed. He was also on committees to elect those for the same honor he received.

One thing has bugged Lajoie ever since the success of the World Series, that minor league baseball, affiliated or independent, could never make it in Nashua while now Double A ball thrives in Manchester. Well, it’s apples and oranges, the business model just doesn’t work for indy ball and Holman would really need more upgrades to satisfy the affiliates. The Silver Knights of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League seem like a perfect fit.

But Lajoie’s love for the idea of having pro ball in Nashua got the wheels turning of who future Legends of Holman will be.

Yes, it’s to honor Nashuans who called Holman home and performed great, noteworthy athletic feats there, or were instrumental in the stadium’s history, as Lajoie was.

At some point, it should involve the professionals who played here, mainly from the Pride. The top two choices that come to mind would have to be Glenn Murray and Butch Hobson. Murray was a fixture with the organization, his number retired by the team, and Hobson of course was such an attraction all by himself as the Pride’s manager. He changed the franchise and its longevity, and we’d go so far to say that if Hobson hadn’t arrived in December of 1999, Holman Stadium would not be what it is today. Those rennovations two years later would never have been undertaken, because he rescued the franchise with that banner 2000 season. Climbing up the foul pole to point that a ball was fair for a home run? Pulling second base out of the infield, signing it and giving it to a fan? Being a true presence in the community for several years? Stuff legends are made of.

Same for Murray, who was such a staple with the organization. A veteran class act all the way through, and the team’s best player until his time to move on came later in the decade. He still calls Nashua home and there are still home run balls that are traveling in the sky off his bat.

When the time comes, perhaps even original Pride owner Chris English. Without him, no franchise, no Holman renovations, no nothing. He paid the bills for as long as he could and presided over not one but two Holman changes.

The old timers may bristle at some of these thoughts, but it’s hard to argue that the above three mentioned names didn’t add in a huge way to the history of Holman. When all the native Nashuans the committee feels have been appropriately inducted, then those members should look to the above.

And here’s one more: How about Nashua’s own Bill Twomey? Twomey has been a coach at just about every baseball level in Nashua, including youth, high school and the pro ranks. He’s spent countless hours at the stadium.

Of course, there are other names. The committee will do its due diligence; they came up with two great choices for this July 4. Let’s see what happens in the years down the road.

The Legends of Holman is really the only positive thing that came out of the brief one year of the American Defenders of New Hampshire; the Lions Club took it over after the Defenders departed for Pittsfield, Mass., and now it is part of a Nashua tradition.

Congratulations to Fred Lajoie and the family/memory of the late Richard “Dick” Belanger.

Holman is a special place. Its history, and those that made it what it is today, are to be honored and revered.

Tom King can be reached at 594-6468 or
tking@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow King on
Twitter (@Telegraph_TomK).