Archive 2008 - 2019

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

by Joanne Hulbert

Part II:  A Look Back at the Baseball Career of Holliston’s Wonoski  (1930’s)


Holliston’s high school has fielded a baseball team for more than a century, players often joining the local town teams during the summer. During the 1930s, baseball was the most important social activity in town. Goodwill Park was constantly in use – except on Sundays – until the town finally in 1936, in a hard-won battle fought by the local baseball players and their loyal fans, allowed for Sunday play.

Some of Holliston’s players even got tryouts with the Boston Braves and the Red Sox, in a system where the pro teams were able to see—fleetingly--what local talent they could pick up. But rarely would this be a pathway to the pros.

A few old-timers still recall Charlie Wonoski, who grew up on Winter Street. Indeed, he even got a tryout with the Braves, but, according to eyewitness Michael Callahan, local sports reporter, he flubbed up the trial by annoying manager Rabbit Maranville, who dismissed him with, “Kid, you gotta’ million dollar arm and a two cent brain – get outa’ here.”

Charlie was better known for his basketball prowess, but, in 1937, a group of British baseball scouts heard about his baseball playing and signed him to play for the Leeds of the Yorkshire Baseball League in England. A snake ball pitcher, he wowed the crowd with his antics and quirky personality, was ultimately called “the Babe Ruth of British baseball,” and expected to return in 1938. But new rules restricted the number of foreign players allowed on each team, and none could be pitcher. Thus ended Wonoski’s British baseball career.

The Holliston Merchants Team, 1937

This series continues with a look back to the other 20th Century players.