Wahconah Park

Futures Collegiate Baseball League Pittsfield Suns New England Collegiate Baseball League
Wahconah Park
Location105 Wahconah St.,
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°27′44″N 73°15′09″W / 42.462319°N 73.252582°W / 42.462319; -73.252582Coordinates: 42°27′44″N 73°15′09″W / 42.462319°N 73.252582°W / 42.462319; -73.252582
OwnerCity of Pittsfield
Pittsfield Electrics (Eastern Association) (1913–14)
Pittsfield Hillies (Eastern League) (1919–30)
Pittsfield Electrics (Canadian–American League) (1941–48)
Pittsfield Indians (Canadian–American League) (1949–50)
Pittsfield Phillies (Canadian–American League) (1951)
Pittsfield Red Sox (Eastern League) (1965–69)
Pittsfield Senators (Eastern League) (1970–71)
Pittsfield Rangers (Eastern League) (1972–75)
Berkshire Brewers (Eastern League) (1976)
Pittsfield Cubs (Eastern League) (1985–88)
Pittsfield Mets (New York–Penn League) (1989–2000)
Pittsfield Astros (New York–Penn League) (2001)
Berkshire Black Bears (Northeast League) (2002–2003)
Pittsfield Dukes (New England Collegiate Baseball League) (2005–2008)
Pittsfield American Defenders (New England Collegiate Baseball League) (2008–2009)
Pittsfield Colonials (Can-Am League) (2010–2011)
Pittsfield Suns (Futures Collegiate Baseball League) (2012–present)
Wahconah Park
Wahconah Park is located in Massachusetts
Wahconah Park
Wahconah Park is located in the United States
Wahconah Park
Area18.2 acres (7.4 ha)
ArchitectJoseph McArthur Vance, David McNab Deans
Architectural styleshed-roof grandstand w/ wing
NRHP reference No.05000878[1]
Added to NRHPAugust 12, 2005

Wahconah Park is a city-owned baseball park located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and nestled in a working-class neighborhood. One of the last remaining ballparks in the United States with a wooden grandstand, it was constructed in 1919 and seats 4,500. Through the park's history, 201 different Pittsfield players went on to the Major Leagues, and 100 different Pittsfield players already had some Major League experience. The park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.[1]

In the July 23, 1990 issue of Sports Illustrated, author Daniel Okrent raved about the park in his column entitled Just A Little Bit of Heaven – Pittsfield's Wahconah Park is Baseball as it Oughta Be.[2]

In 2012, the stadium became the home field of the Pittsfield Suns, an expansion franchise of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.

Field configuration

Former park dimensions were 334 feet to left field, 374 feet to center field, and 333 feet to right field. The current field dimensions are 310 feet down the left field line, 377 feet to left field, 374 feet to center field, 403 feet to right-center field, and 305 feet down the right field line.

Because the field was constructed before the advent of field lighting, no harm was seen in orienting the diamond due west. It is one of only two professional ballparks in the U.S. today that faces west (the other being Sam Lynn Ballpark in Bakersfield, California, built in 1941). Lights were not installed until 1946. In 1989 a mesh screen was placed in center field. Nevertheless, some umpires still briefly suspend games at sunset, so that the setting sun will not interfere with the batters' view of the pitch.

In 1927, a dike was installed on the Housatonic River to prevent recurrent flooding.


The Pittsfield Mets were a minor-league baseball team moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts from Little Falls, New York, by an investment group organized by Michael T. Casey. The team played in the New York - Penn League, and were affiliated with the New York Mets from 1989 to 2000 and the Houston Astros in 2001.

In 2002, the independent Berkshire Black Bears moved to Wahconah Park after three years of dormancy as the Massachusetts Mad Dogs. After the 2003 season, they did not renew their lease but moved to New Haven, Connecticut.

Jim Bouton proposed to renovate the park without any public dollars and bring professional baseball back. On July 3, 2004, a record crowd of 5,000 attended a vintage baseball game he organized at Wahconah Park between Pittsfield and Hartford, a game telecast live for over four hours on ESPN Classic as America's Pastime: Vintage Baseball, Live. Commentators included Bouton, Bill Lee, actor Tim Robbins, and baseball historians John Thorn and David Pietrusza. Eventually, Pittsfield politics intervened and Bouton was forced out.[3]

In 2005, former Boston Red Sox General Manager Dan Duquette brought the Pittsfield Dukes, a New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) team, to Wahconah Park. During the 2007 season, the Dukes attracted a season attendance of 28,955 through 21 home games, averaging 1,378 fans per game. His agreement with the City of Pittsfield was jeopardized prior to the 2008 season over back maintenance fees, but Duquette and city officials reached a settlement. For the 2009 season, Duquette restyled the team the Pittsfield American Defenders, with a military theme. The park was called Nokona Stadium at Wahconah Park pursuant to a sponsorship deal with the manufacturer of baseball gloves that funded all-new bathrooms, stadium offices, and press box. On May 3, 2009, Williams College and Amherst College alumni played a game under 1859 rules to commemorate the 150th-anniversary of the first college baseball game, played between the two schools. Duquette, an alumnus of Amherst, was instrumental in organizing the event.[4]

The Pittsfield American Defenders lasted only one season. In 2010, Duquette moved the NECBL franchise to his baseball camp in nearby Hinsdale, and moved his Can-Am League entry, the New Hampshire American Defenders, to Wahconah Park from Nashua, New Hampshire; they were known as the Pittsfield Colonials.

Current tenant

In 2012, the Pittsfield Suns, an expansion franchise of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, began playing at Wahconah Park. Marvin Goldklang is the majority owner; the Goldklang Group also owns part of the club.[5] Goldklang owned and operated the Pittsfield Mets.

In the summer, concerts are held in Wahconah Park. It is also home to varsity football games for Pittsfield-area high schools.

Professional teams at Wahconah Park

League Team(s) Year(s)
Eastern Association (Class B) Pittsfield Electrics 1913–1914
Eastern League (Class A) Pittsfield Hillies 1919–1930
Canadian–American League (Class C) Pittsfield Electrics 1941–1948
Pittsfield Indians 1949–1950
Pittsfield Phillies 1951
Eastern League (Class AA) Pittsfield Red Sox 1965-69
Pittsfield Senators 1970–1971
Pittsfield Rangers 1972–1975
Berkshire Brewers 1976
Pittsfield Cubs 1985–1988
New York–Penn League (Class A) Pittsfield Mets 1989–2000
Pittsfield Astros 2001
Northeast League (Independent) Berkshire Black Bears 2002–2003
New England Collegiate Baseball League (Collegiate) Pittsfield Dukes 2005–2008
Pittsfield American Defenders 2009
Canadian–American League (Independent) Pittsfield Colonials 2010–2011
Futures Collegiate Baseball League (Collegiate) Pittsfield Suns 2012–present

Future Major League Pittsfield players

Pittsfield players with previous Major League experience

See also


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "Just A Little Bit Of Heaven". SI. Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  3. ^ Bouton, Jim (2005), "Foul Ball plus Part II", Lyons Press.
  4. ^ Edes, Gordon (2009-05-04). "Amherst and Williams re-enact first college game". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  5. ^ Lindsay, Dick, "Baseball coming back to Pittsfield", The Berkshire Eagle