Colin Healy ‘25
Intramural Softball Athlete
Last week, the Holy Cross baseball team faced UMASS in their home opener at Fitton Field. Originally scheduled to be played at Fitton, the game was moved to Auburn High School’s home field due to poor field conditions at Fitton. Hours before first pitch, the game was moved back to Fitton as field conditions improved enough to host the contest. The Crusaders ended up downing the Minutemen 4-3.
However, despite the victory at Fitton, the baseball team has made the decision to vacate Fitton Field entirely and move any future home games to Auburn High School. The change is said to be permanent and effective immediately. Auburn’s field features a turf infield and grass outfield, making it easier to host games in the early weeks of New England spring.
Although a Division 1 program, the team has nonetheless decided to leave the friendly confines at the bottom of Mount St. James for Auburn HS. The new field has no official capacity listed, though it will be down considerably from Fitton’s capacity of 3000. No official statements have been made, but poor field conditions after bad weather are said to be the main reason for the exit. The standards of a high school facility will meet these concerns. Additionally, it is believed that the abundance of noise coming from I-290 contributed to the decision.
Coincidentally, Auburn Street lies just beyond Auburn HS’s left field fence, so the Crusaders will not escape sounds of traffic coming from left field. Home runs to left will likely end up on Auburn Street or in the McDonald’s on the other side of the road. Beyond the right field wall lies a small brook, followed by Auburn Street, followed by the Auburn Post Office. These views will replace Fitton Football Field as the new sights beyond the right field fence.
Built in 1905, Fitton used to face the opposite direction of where it does today. Many changes have been made to the complex since its early days, but the field has played its part in a ton of big moments. In the final regular season game of 1952, the Crusaders beat rival Boston College 13-3. They would go on to win the College World Series that year, still the only team from the Northeast to ever do so. In 2017, HC clinched its first ever Patriot League Championship at Fitton.
Perhaps the most famous moment ever at Fitton came on April 14, 1939, when the Crusaders hosted the Red Sox in an exhibition match. In this game, Ted Williams hit his first ever home run in a Red Sox uniform. Though only an exhibition game, Teddy Ballgame’s feat at Fitton Field is essential to understanding the history of Fitton.
Unfortunately though, baseball at Fitton will be no more. Despite such a vaunted past, Fitton’s gates are being shuttered for good. Auburn HS will mark a new chapter for HC baseball, one that will try to match the success the program had basked in for more than a century at Fitton.
It is unclear what will become of Fitton now that HC baseball has relocated, but the rumor mill is already alive and well. Reports are swirling that the baseball field will be completely leveled and converted into a space used exclusively for tailgating. The dedicated tailgate zone would likely do well in attracting prospective students to attend and would raise the profile of the football team even higher. The space would probably lie dormant from January to August when football is in the offseason, but that’s neither here nor there.
A second unconfirmed report suggests Holy Cross is considering rebuilding the Howard Johnson’s Hotel that was demolished on Southbridge Street in the 90s. There would be ample space for the hotel to be rebuilt. The abnormally large class of 2026 could use the hotel to their advantage.
Yet another unconfirmed report says the school is in talks with Rotmans to construct a superstore to resurrect the furniture store, which recently went out of business. Students could benefit by furnishing their dorms, apartments, and off-campus houses. It should be noted that the writer of this article could use a couch for his senior year on Caro Street.
Regardless of what becomes of Fitton Field, the baseball team is surely looking forward to playing on a high school diamond going forward. If all goes well, other programs across the country could also look to move to high school fields as their primary home fields. The change is reason for excitement. A new era of Holy Cross baseball is on the horizon. A Howard Johnson’s might be too.
Photo courtesy of Auburn Public Schools
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