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Time Travel: New England hoop league fades fast

By Alan Greenwood - Staff Writer | Jan 22, 2022

Alan Greenwood

Maintaining a minor league baseball presence at Holman Stadium has been a topic of conversation since the famed Nashua Dodgers skipped town after the 1949 season.

Organized baseball, all the way to the big leagues, labored in search of a strategy to live with the advent of television.

The Dodgers left behind a celebrated legacy as the first affiliated big-league club in the United States with two African Americans, Roy Campanella amd Don Newcombe. The moniker “Historic Holman Stadium” is well deserved.

At least one observer discovered that Nashua played host to a semi-pro basketball team that lasted two games in December, 1946, and fled to New Britain, Conn. Former Telegraph sports editor Frank Stawasz bid the team farewell.

JAN. 22, 1947 – “Remember that Nashua entry in the New England Basketball League which played two games here before it left town? Remember that the ballclub lost both contests played here before very meager crowds?

“You remember, and you’re glad they left? Well, get a load of this, bud! Just in case you don’t know, or were not aware, of what happened to our short-lived team, it’s now comfortably franchised in New Britain, Conn., and the fans there are going mad about them. And why not? Just take, for example, Saturday night’s score of the former Nashua club’s game with Fitchburg, Mass., reputedly the most heavily loaded team in the circuit: New Britain 100, Fitchburg 62.”

More importantly, Stawasz said, interest can be reflected in the fact that “thousands of Nutmeg State fans have taken the New Britains to heart.”

Alas, the league did not share that enthusiasm. It folded at the end of the 1946-47 season.

JAN. 23, 1922 – Though details were scant, this item is worth noting.

“The Nashua High School basketball team defeated Wilton High all stars Saturday night at the YMCA by a score of 50-27. The game was not scheduled on Nashua’s books, but Wilton had an open date so they gave Nashua an opportunity to have a good practice game.”

JAN. 24, 1972 – “A gathering of more than 450 congregated Saturday night at St. Stanislaus Hall to pay tribute to Fran Tate, retired Nashua High track coach and recognized Dean of New England mentors. The event featured a number of notables from throughout the state and was a justly deserved tribute to one of the finest of coaches and of men.”

JAN. 25, 1977 – “Has success spoiled Greg Landry? Has his steady climb to become one of the most respected quarterbacks in the National Football League spoiled him?

“No. Emphatically no.

“Greg Landry today displays the same personality traits that he possessed while a member of the Nashua High community. His appearance at Sunday’s Hampshire Hills Awards dinner for his former coach, Buzz Harvey, made it seem like he had never left town. He’s still personable and humble.”

JAN. 26, 1992 – “The Milford Drive-In closed for the season several months ago, but thanks to the imagination of Milford AREA Senior High School athletic director Bill Dod, there was still a double feature in town Saturday night.

“Dod thought it would be a great idea to play a girl/boy basketball doubleheader and the 800 or so who crammed the school’s gymnasium apparently agreed.

“… But for Spartan diehards, it wasn’t a total bargain. After a feel-good first feature, in which the home girls romped over the visitors, 58-42, the second game turned into a real tear-jerker. Matinee idol Matt Ripaldi and a capable cast of Merrimack sideman kept the brooms in the closet with a 76-61 decision.”

JAN. 27, 2017 – “The visiting Tomahawks improved to 3-4-1 in Division II with a 6-3 win over Winnacunnet. Stephen Licata had a hat trick. Alec Bronchuck, Remy Tupper and John Tiano each had goals with Tupper adding three assists. Zach Stimeling and Zach Richard each had an assist as well.”

Contact Alan Greenwood at agreenwood@nashuatelegraph.com.


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