Nashua Dodgers 1946 Mural

Nashua is one of the lucky areas of this country that has had the privilege of being touched not only by one, but two baseball greats: Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe. We hope to pay tribute and recognize the efforts of these two men and of the righteous decision of the Nashua Dodgers to allow these two men to play the game of baseball. The next time youre at Holman, take the time to read the plaque commemorating the achievement of these men. The plaque is located at the front of the Pride Box Office. The citizens of Nashua can truly be proud.

 

IN 1946...Branch Rickey desegregated the Dodgers by sending Jackie Robinson to Montreal AAA. Five months later, he opened a second phase by signing catcher Roy Campanella and pitcher Don Newcombe. He had to send them to A ball because of their history as Negro League stars, but 3 of the 5 Dodger A teams were in segregated states. That left Danville, IL and Nashua, NH. Danville refused the 2 players, but Nashua GM Buzzie Bavasi said, "If they can play ball better than what we have, we don't care what color they are."

 

Nashua, New Hampshire, according to Wendell Smith, was a typical New England town, quiet, liberal, and staid in its ways. Located forty miles north of Boston, Nashua residents seemed to have no qualms about welcoming the two black athletes. These people are wonderful, reported the ebullient Campanella. Newcombe and I go anyplace we want to, do anything we please, and are treated like long lost sons. Newcombe and Campanella and their wives constituted the entire black population of Nashua. They rarely saw the other blacks in the area, who lived at a lumber mill several miles outside of town. We even had to go to the white barber shop, recalls Newcombe. He didnt know how to cut black peoples hair. We got scalped many times by the barber who tried. He could have said No, I dont cut black peoples hair, but he tried. Bad haircuts, however, seemed a small price to pay. The two black families had no trouble finding lodgings and experienced no problems in restaurants or at the stadium. We were very lucky to play in that area, says Newcombe. On a short brick outfield wall in a very short left field are circles with the numbers 36, 39, and 42. The 42 is for Jackie Robinson; the 36 and 39 are for his future Dodger teammates Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella, who played here for the Nashua Dodgers in the late 1940s. (Robinson never played at Nashua; he spent the 1946 season at Montreal before being recalled to Brooklyn in 1947.)

 

  • Tracy Lee Carroll 9y

    From an interview posted on the Dodger's website:

    BJ_Neverett: Don, talk about your experiences in Nashua, N.H., in the Minor Leagues.

    Newcombe: Nashua, in my memory, is one of the finest cities that I've been to in my lifetime. I say that because of the people and the way Roy Campanella and I were accepted there in 1946, when we had nowhere else to play in the entire Dodgers organization as black men. The city of Nashua and all of its people, including the president of the league, accepted us as if we were one of their own sons and I will forever be grateful to all of those people, for a part of my success. It had to start somewhere, and it started in Nashua.
  • Dollfacesweetie 9y

    I never knew any of that and I've been here all my life. New mural? Looks like Maynard & Lesieur and I've never seen it before.
  • barvault 9y

    Interesting--and fun!
  • Tracy Lee Carroll 9y

    Jackie, there was something I read somewhere (memory is gone) that told about the people who had designed it and the group that had painted it. I can't find any of that information now, but I know it was just completed within the last month or so.

    As far as the 1946 Dodgers, that is why they say "Historic Holman Stadium" when they talk about the place and the signs on the highway.
  • Tom Schopper 9y

    What a great story.... Robinson, Newcombe, Campanella and others had to overcome so many obstacles outside fo the baseball diamond in their early careers that they should have had to deal with -- it is nice to hear that they were so welcomed and well-treated (as they should have been) during their time in Nashua.

    Thanks for sharing this, TL!
  • artofgold/Sunny 9y

    Wow, great story and picture! Beautiful!
  • Baby Rose 9y

    Great!!!
  • Ed Karjala Photography 9y

    Incredible history behind a very nice image.
  • Wally Gobetz 9y

    Great picture. Check out my new group: Sports Statues and murals

    Where in Nashua is this?
  • frank thompson photos 9y

    Two of my favorite players when I was a child. Many thanks for sharing.
  • Tracy Lee Carroll 9y

    This is just off Main Street at a tire company's (Maynard & Lesieur) building at 31 West Hollis Street. Maynard & Lesieur has been in business since 1928 and were around when the duo played in Nashua.
  • Tracy Lee Carroll 9y

  • The Phantom 8y

    This passionate Brooklynite was unaware of this slice of history. Thanks for posting this. Just great.
  • Tracy Lee Carroll 8y

    I just drove by here the other day and realized that they have painted more of the mural on the left side of this building. I will have to go back there and get more photos.
  • Wally Gobetz 8y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Brooklyn Dodgers, and we'd love to have your photo added to the group.
  • Wally Gobetz 8y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called New York Baseball, and we'd love to have your photo added to the group.
  • rbaly79 7y

    Nice picture :)
  • Tracy Lee Carroll 7y

    More information here:

    Nashua's Dodgers 1946-1949

    Plaque from Historic Holman Stadium
  • adc0317 4y

    Does anyone have any information on the 1949 Nashua Dodgers team?
  • Tracy Lee Carroll 4y

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Taken on May 17, 2006
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