Nokona Field at Holman Stadium

From BR Bullpen

Holman Stadium in Nashua, NH, was the home of Nashua affiliated baseball, on a decidedly spotty basis, from 1946 through 1986. After that, the Nashua Pirates of the Eastern League moved into a newly rebuilt stadium in Harrisburg, PA, to become the Harrisburg Senators who play there today.

Built in 1937, the ballpark claims a special place in U.S. baseball history: It hosted the first integrated 20th-century Organized Baseball club a year before Jackie Robinson broke the MLB color line. Branch Rickey actually led up to breaking the color line by signing five players who would qualify - three of whom would become superstars: Robinson, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, Johnny Wright and Roy Partlow. Robinson, Wright and Partlow went to the Montreal Royals of the Triple-A International League - although first Wright and then Partlow were demoted to the Class C Trois-Rivières Royals - while Campanella and Newcombe went to the Nashua Dodgers of the Class B New England League - who played out of Holman Stadium.[1]

On May 30, 2023, the state of New Hampshire added a Holman stop on the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, commemorating the club as the first integrated Minor League Baseball team in the United States.[2] Montreal integrated around the same time, so whether that first extends beyond U.S. borders is open to research and interpretation. Does the event date to the signing of the players? Robinson's was October 23, 1945, but the specific dates for the others aren't readily available. Is it when they were signed? Is it when they were assigned to the team in question? Is it when their teams started play in 1946? Or when each played his first game with that team that year?

Nashua's Holman Stadium is not to be confused with the similarly named Holman Stadium in Vero Beach, FL.

Currently, the Nashua Silver Knights of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League call Holman home.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Michael Casey (Associated Press): "New Hampshire town recognized for historic role in racially integrating baseball in the 1940s", Yahoo! News, May 30, 2023. [3]