Archive 2008 - 2019

Holliston’s Long and Glorious Baseball History: A 4-Part Series; Part I

by Joanne Hulbert

Part I:  I Meet Mark Sweeney

This year, in June, the annual convention of Society for American Baseball Research was held in San Diego. I attended the event and hoped I might meet up with Mark Sweeney, Holliston’s one great contribution to major league baseball.

Mark played for seven different National League teams having begun his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1995, his first stint with the Padres in 1997, the Cincinnati Reds in 1999, Milwaukee Brewers in 2001, Colorado Rockies in 2003, San Francisco Giants in 2006 and the LA Dodgers in 2007 and retiring in 2008. Most notably he played for the San Diego Padres 1997, 1998, 2002, 2005, and now he is an analyst for Fox Sports and appears on MLB Whiparound, in addition to performing pregame and post game analysis.

I was able to speak briefly with Mark, just enough time to remind him of his Holliston roots after he spoke about his experience as a player over a notable 14-year career.

Mark Sweeney with Randy Jones, June, 2019 SABR Convention at San Diego

I kept an eye on his career, in a way, having seen him hit a home run at Wrigley Field in 2001, when he was with the Brewers, and I also was able to get a signed ball from him at Coors Field in 2003, when he played for the Rockies. That ball spent many years displayed on the wall of the Superette.

His 14-year career carried him around the National League, and he did gain significant claim to baseball fame worth noting. Baseball stats and records are famously meticulous in their ability to celebrate the finest points of the game. Mark ranks second in career pinch hits with 175 and first in career pinch-hit runs batted in with 102. 

Having played several positions throughout his career, he found fame and fortune as a pinch hitter, a position that some may consider a dying art, now often filled by an idle position player. He said pinch-hitting was a way to keep a uniform on, but he proved there is an art to it, stepping up at interesting moments in the game. He truly made pinch-hitting his art and science. And, he also is remembered for making the final out in the 1998 World Series, but, he noted, he did not strike out that time, but grounded out--a much more dignified way to end a game, albeit the final game of the World Series.

Mark Sweeney – his grand slam pinch-hit, September 7, 2004. 

The legacy of Mark Sweeney is an enduring part of Holliston’s sports history.  He is our most recent contribution.

Before Mark Sweeney, there were many others who contributed to local baseball history. A few aspired to but were not always encouraged to pursue a professional career. In subsequent articles, we’ll take a look at some of Holliston’s baseball history.

Comments (3)

Joanne: You do a great job. I look forward to your next article

Tom Laronga | 2019-09-16 16:47:36

Thank you Joanne. Always nice to read a story about our son with factual, well-researched reporting. Well done!

Dan Sweeney | 2019-08-14 05:47:53

Great story Joanne, thank you. Looking forward to more. Jackie

Jackie Dellicker | 2019-08-13 15:31:59