Archive 2008 - 2019

More About Holliston's Baseball Heritage

by Tom Laronga

By:  Tom Laronga

Reading Joanne Hulbert's great articles about Holliston baseball brings to mind many good memories from the 1940's, in particular 1947 - 1948 of the Holliston Legion semi-pro baseball team.

After the war ended and our Holliston men returned, they began to pick up their lives.

The Holliston Legion baseball team was formed  and began to play again. It was a great time and it was a great to see my idols play.  The players I remember from that time were:  Ray Tondorf, player and manager, George Pidgeon, George Mantell, Jim Blair, Russ MacDonald, Joe Hayes, Vic Laronga, Bill Sheehan, Ed Kurzontkowski, Bill Honey, Ernie Kampersal, Charlie McGuire, Joe Nowick, Eric Laronga, Bill Casey and Punk Vernon.  I'm sure there were others but I can't remember at this time.  

This was a very good team as Holliston has always had really good athletes.  They played their games mostly on Sundays with some games during the week. The league was known as the Twin Rivers League and consisted of teams from Natick, Ashland, Hopkinton, Medway and Saxonville.  There may have been other teams as well.  You could find many Holliston fans at the Sunday games, as it seemed to be the thing to do.

Back in the 1940's there was no little league and no other formal coaching.  But, in true Holliston tradition, older men ran informal practices for 10 to 12 year olds. Mr Dillon, Mr Tule and Mr Tondorf are the ones I can remember.  They were great teachers and followed the progress of those players, as was evidenced by the fact that they attended many of their high school games.  Those players were in Holliston High School from 1950 to 1953 and won three league championships during that time. It was Ray Tondorf who coached those 4 years.

Thanks Joanne for the push to write this article and bring back my memories from that time.

PS:  I thank my lucky stars that I grew up in Holliston during such a great time.

Publishers' Note: Thank you Tom for sharing this slice of Holliston's baseball history.  When we moved here a few years ago we thought that "Casey at the Bat" was the extent of Holliston's baseball legacy.  Now we know so much more about this rich tradition in our town.

Comments (2)

Tom, reading your article was like listening to you talk. Your presentation was wonderful and so informative. Like you, having grown up in Holliston Mudville was wonderful also. In the 1940's I was quite young, but never-the-less, I do recall some of those baseball games. And, as Tom Shirley mentions, I can see the spectators walking down Green St. heading for the stone bleachers carrying blankets, snacks and whatever to sit upon. As we discussed a few weeks ago Tom, in reference to the players, I remember all those you mention who took part. Holliston was a small town back then. In one way or another, you knew just about everyone you came in contact with, whether it be a ball game, a minstrel show or just passing on the street. Proud of my town. Thanks Tom. Shirley (Hamlet) Chipman.

Shirley (Hamlet) Chipman | 2019-09-29 07:39:43

Having grown up in the 40's and 50's in Holliston, I can remember going to Goodwill Park and watching the games. Remember the stone bleachers we sat on along the 1st base line. Thankyou Tom Laronga for bringing back some fond memories.

Tom Shirley | 2019-09-29 03:44:18