Category: Events

Scheduled league events.

Back! Opening Day Scheduled for Early June

In the first week of June, the GHTBL reigning champions East Hartford Jets will take on the Vernon Orioles at McKenna Field, East Hartford at 7 PM. A specific date has yet to be determined.

Each franchise will play 18 Regular Season games followed by a 10-team double-elimination tournament. More details on the league’s complete schedule are forthcoming.

Scheduling the GHTBL Regular Season generally takes place during the month of April and published in May of each year. Playoffs, as always, are held in early to mid-August.

10 franchises will compete this summer for the league crown. They include: Bristol Greeners, East Hartford Jets, Hartford Colts, Malloves Jewelers (Middletown), People’s United Bank (Wethersfield), Rainbow Graphics (Manchester), Record-Journal Expos (Meriden), South Windsor Phillies, Ulbrich Steel (Wallingford), and Vernon Orioles.

The GHTBL looks forward to this summer and we invite new players to apply for a roster spot on any one of our teams by going to www.GHTBL.org/Join and filling out the application. Have a great spring!

Johnny Taylor Field Charity Series at Dunkin’

To raise funds for Johnny Taylor Field, the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League will play a doubleheader on Monday, August 3, 2020 at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

If you’ve been itching to watch some baseball at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, you’re in luck. And if you’re interested in Hartford’s baseball heritage, it’s must-see baseball.

The venerable Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League will stage a doubleheader Monday beginning at 6 p.m., fans allowed, to raise money for what’s yet needed to complete Johnny Taylor Field at Colt Park. A host of future major league players have appeared in the GHTBL though its history, which began in 1929, but Taylor, though he was kept out of the segregated major leagues in his time, is considered by many to be the greatest of them all.

Johnny Taylor Field under construction, Colt Park, Hartford, Connecticut, 2020.

Negro Leagues star Johnny ‘Schoolboy’ Taylor may be Hartford’s greatest baseball player; with enough signatures, a city ballfield may be named for him »

“He’s probably the most talented pitcher to ever come from Hartford,” said Wes Ulbrich, GM of the Ulbrich Steel team and the league’s historian. “The Yankees were going to sign him, and he would have been the first Black player signed in the history of the game, but they decided not to when they found out he was African-American. He would have been the first in the 1930s.”

Taylor played for Bulkeley High as a senior in 1933, and struck out 25 batters in a nine-inning game against New Britain. A Yankees scout, Gene McCann, was sent to Hartford to watch Taylor pitch, and called The Courant to find out when he’d be on the mound again. Sports Editor Albert W. Keane told McCann that Taylor was African-American, and McCann’s response, “cannot be printed in a family newspaper,” Keane wrote. The Philadelphia A’s were also reported as interested at the time, but unwilling to sign Taylor.

Taylor, who had the nickname “Schoolboy,” went on to a long professional career in the Negro Leagues. In 1936, columnist Lewis R. Dial in the New York Age, chastised Yankees top executive Ed Barrow for not signing Taylor, who was by then starring for the New York Cubans. “Surely, Mr. Barrow has heard of him, for his talent scout went all the way to Hartford to look over this youngster,” Dial wrote.

One can only imagine how many games the fire-balling Taylor might have won for the Yankees of the 1930s, with Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Tony Lazzeri and Bill Dickey producing runs for him.

There were suggestions that Taylor renounce his heritage, learn Spanish and pose as Cuban, but he would not do that. He often returned to Hartford to play before packed crowds, at Colt Park or Bulkeley Stadium. In September 1941, Taylor brought an all-star team from the Negro Leagues to play the famous Savitt Gems; his catcher was Hall-of-Famer Josh Gibson. Taylor struck out 15.

Johnny Taylor (left) and Satchel Paige, 1942.

“There was one time [Taylor] needed a police escort, because there were so many people,” Ulbrich said.

Taylor’s story is particularly relevant this summer as the Negro Leagues’ 100th anniversary is commemorated. He finished his pro career playing for the Eastern League’s Hartford Chiefs in 1949, and he lived in the city until his death in 1987.

Through the Colt Park Foundation, Ulbrich hopes to raise more money to supplement funds already allotted for improvements. Johnny Taylor Field at Colt Park is supposed to be ready for the spring of 2021.

“We’re going to donate to Public Works, so they can get things like bases and signage,” said Ulbrich, “or they might choose for us to buy it and donate it. We really need lights, which is a lot of money, but they just gave an additional $500,000 for Colt Park. We want to keep fundraising through the Colt Park Foundation. We really care about the park, and it ties in with our league’s history so much.”

Watch more on the push to rename Johnny Taylor Field in Colt Park:

NBC Connecticut covers Johnny Taylor Field renaming.

The Greater Hartford Twilight League is playing its 92nd season despite the pandemic, with health and safety protocols and social distancing rules proving effective so far. The league schedule, usually 24 games, is 12. “We’ve had no issues,” Ulbrich said.

For the games Monday at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the league got a reduction in rent from the Yard Goats and secured free parking in the Trumbull Street Stadium lot, which holds about 250 cars. With Dunkin’ Donuts Park’s 6,000 capacity, and a 25 percent capacity limit, that should be enough for Monday’s doubleheader. Tickets are $10 for adults; children under 14 get in free. The Record-Journal Expos play People’s United Bank at 6 p.m., and Ulbrich Steel plays the East Hartford Jets at 8 p.m.

Dom Amore can be reached at damore@courant.com.

Watch more on the renaming of Johnny Taylor Field in Colt Park:

Hardball for Hartford at Dunkin’ Donuts Park

Two games to raise funds for Johnny Taylor Field in Colt Park.

Fans are invited to Dunkin’ Donuts Park at 1214 Main Street Hartford to fundraise for the new “Johnny Taylor Field” in Colt Park. Recently, our league petitioned the City of Hartford to name a new ballpark after one of the Connecticut’s greatest pitchers. Now, Johnny Taylor Field is being constructed and additional funds are needed. Read more about Johnny Taylor here: https://ghtbl.org/thebatandball/taylor.

Night games will be played at Dunkin Donuts Park on Monday, August 3, 2020:

– Record-Journal Expos vs. People’s United Bank at 6 PM.

– East Hartford Jets vs. Ulbrich Steel at 8 PM.

– $10 per person at the Main Gate / free for kids 14 and under.

– Due to COVID-19, everyone who enters the stadium, players and spectators, must wear a mask and social distance. Once players take the field and spectators find their seats, all are welcome to remove masks.

– For cleaning requirements, the stadium will open one half of the stands for each game.

– Indoor cages are not available due to Covid-19 guidelines.

– No seeds or gum allowed in the dugouts.

Looking forward to seeing you at the Dunkin’ Donuts Park!

Play Ball! 2020 Schedule Posted

The GHTBL Regular Season schedule has been published.

After a recent league meeting, GHTBL Executive Committee members have determined the 2020 Regular Season schedule.  Some dates are subject to change. 7 franchises will compete in the 92nd season of the Twilight League. Each team will play 12 games followed by our standard double-elimination playoff tournament.

Players will need to appear in 2 games to qualify for playoffs. Fans will be welcomed at all games as long as they social distance and adhere to state guidelines..

GHTBL officials, managers and players are pleased to be playing baseball again. In partnership with the Hartford Board of Umpires, the league will work diligently to protect players, coaches, umpires and fans.

Opening Day is July 7, 2020

GHTBL announces start of 2020 season.

LEAGUE ANNOUNCEMENT

Monday, July 7, 2020 will be Opening Day this year. The Twilight League will begin its 92nd season of play.

12 games followed by a double-elimination playoff tournament (more details and full schedule to be announced).

Players should plan to use their own personal equipment like gloves and helmets.

The league will be announcing other safety measures and precautions in the near future but they will not limit the game on the field.

We’re looking forward to playing ball!

Stayed tuned for additional updates. 

GHTBL Joins ABCA

All GHTBL Managers become ABCA members to improve coaching and player development.

The GHTBL is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA).  Our league and all of our managers will become members of the ABCA, the world’s largest amateur baseball coaching organization. 

The ABCA provides coaching resources, clinics, events, news and information about all things amateur baseball.  There are nearly 13,000 members representing all 50 states and 25 countries worldwide.

GHTBL President, Bill Holowaty is an ABCA Board Member, a former ABCA President and a 2002 ABCA Hall of Fame inductee.  Coach Holowaty is looking forward to improving the baseball knowledge and teaching tools of each GHTBL manager. 

Coach says, “You only get better if you keep learning.”  Barry Chasen, former Windsor High School head coach, GHTBL Hall of Fame inductee and current Greater Hartford umpire was inducted in the ABCA Hall of Fame in 2017.

The GHTBL is excited to join the ABCA in 2020 and our managers look forward to helping amateur ballplayers reach their fullest potential.  A special thanks goes to ABCA Executive Director Craig Keilitz for his tireless efforts in operating a world class baseball organization.

Winter Workouts for Twi-Leaguers & Prospects

860Baseball of Hartford hosts GHTBL and new recruits.

A new Twilight League development has materialized this off-season.  The first “Winter Workout” was held on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 at 860Baseball in Hartford, Connecticut. 

GHTBL veterans and prospective players met up to stretch out, throw bullpen, take indoor batting practice and to socialize.  In all, 18 ballplayers attended the inaugural Winter Workout, many of which said they would be back for the next training session.  

Winter Workout #2 will take place on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 860Baseball.  In fact, the GHTBL plans to organize monthly workouts this off-season.  Each training session will be announced 3 weeks in advance. Two sessions will be planned for April. 

Many thanks goes to the friendly staff and ownership at 860Baseball for their hospitality.

CLICK HERE TO SEE A CLIP FROM WINTER WORKOUT #1.