Tag: dunkin donuts park

July 8th Crush Cancer Night at Dunkin’ Donuts Park

On Thursday, July 8, 2021, the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League will host a doubleheader at at Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford. The event will be the league’s 5th annual charity series. This year, ticket proceeds will be donated to Connecticut Cancer Foundation and the Brian Peer Memorial Scholarship.

At 6:00 PM, People’s United Bank will match up against the Bristol Greeners and at 8:00 PM, the East Hartford Jets will face the Hartford Colts.

Tickets will be available at the Main Gate for $10 per adult and free for kids 14 and under.

Read more about these charitable causes below:


About Connecticut Cancer Foundation

Connecticut Cancer Foundation was founded in 1987 by Connecticut native John C. Ellis, a former catcher for the New York Yankees, who played Major League Baseball for 13 years. John lost his sister, brother and sister-in-law to lymphoma. He is a survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma that was diagnosed before John reached 40.  Fortunately, John survived and CCF was born with the idea of raising funds through sports with the help of sports celebrities. CCF has flourished under the guidance of John’s wife, Jane G. Ellis, President and Executive Director of CCF.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is connecticut-cancer-foundation-img-27.jpg
John and Jane Ellis, Founders of Connecticut Cancer Foundation.

Through the CT Cancer Patient Assistance Program, CCF helps Connecticut families requesting assistance through referrals from oncology social workers from hospitals, cancer treatment centers and hospices throughout the state. For the past 34 years, CCF has quietly granted over $6.4 million to more than 7,000 Connecticut families dealing with the financial hardship that often follows a cancer diagnosis. In addition, the Foundation has donated over $2.4 million to support ongoing cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.


About Brian Peer Memorial Scholarship

This college scholarship is in the memory of Brian Peer who played and loved baseball in Windsor. He was a Windsor varsity player from 1996 until 1998, earning All-Conference honors as a senior. He also played American Legion Baseball in Windsor earning All-Zone Honors in 1998.  He continued on to Manchester Community College earning All-New England Junior College All Star recognition then on to Rhode Island College, being named Co-Captain his Senior Year. He continued to play in area adult leagues through 2018. The scholarship is awarded annually to a Windsor High School baseball player who will be attending college.

Brian Peer played in the GHTBL from 2004 to 2018 and is remembered as a good teammate and team leader.

Giving Back to the Greater Hartford Community

On Sunday, July, 9, 2017 the GHTBL hosted a “Charity Series” at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Four games were played and $5,641 in ticket proceeds were donated to Hartford’s Camp Courant. On June 21st and 22nd of 2018 the league hosted a pair of doubleheaders that raised $4,500 for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. In 2019, the Twilight League held another day at Dunkin’ Donuts Park and raised $7,000 for a Multiple Sclerosis charity named MS4MS. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the league managed to play a shortened season in 2020, including a doubleheader at Dunkin’ Donuts Park that raised $2,000 for the new Johnny Taylor Field in Hartford’s Colt Park.

Camp Courant Kids Day at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, 2017

Willy Yahn’s Baseball Blog

Yahn, a professional infielder in the Baltimore Orioles organization has written a great blog on recent baseball experiences in amateur and professional leagues. Here’s what he wrote about his time on People’s United Bank:

“Back on June 25th, the day of our first game at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, a man approached me after the contest and asked if I wanted to play for his team in the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League (GHTBL). The GHTBL was established in 1929 and is one of the oldest baseball leagues in the U.S. That man turned out to be Tom Abbruzzese, the manager of the People’s United Bank team out of Wethersfield. Tom and I stayed in contact and I was also in touch with Justin Morhardt, former Atlanta Braves minor leaguer and two-way player for People’s United Bank. I hashed out dates that I could work around Gator games and sent them to Tom. On July 21, Lindsey made the trek over with me to Riverfront Park in Glastonbury as I made my Banker debut.”

“I did not make a glowing first impression with the bat, as I went 0 for 4. But Justin started that game on the mound and I remember converting on about a dozen plays at shortstop en route to a close victory over Rainbow Graphics out of Manchester. I quickly began to enjoy playing for People’s Bank for a few reasons. For starters, I always find it fun getting to know a new group of teammates and showing proving that no matter who I played for I wanted to win badly and that I had my eye on two league rings that summer. 

Between the People’s United Bank team and his Great Falls Gators, Yahn was just shy of playing 30 games last summer.

Second, I was a touch more anonymous in the GHTBL, or at least I felt like that was the case (correct me if I’m wrong people). But with the Gators everyone generally knew ‘that’s Willy’s team that he made’, I would do the coaches meetings a lot of games, I stuck out like a sore thumb. But with People’s Bank I could sneak into our dugout with a plain t-shirt and the team hat that resembled that of the Philadelphia Phillies, and I could surprise the opponent at least for my first at-bat from the leadoff spot. I say that because after my first game as a Banker, many of my first at-bats I received fastballs that caught a lot of plate early in the count, as pitchers were trying to establish their fastball early in the game to the leadoff hitter. AB number one would go: knock, swipe second base, then third, another Banker drives me in for an early lead. It was at this point I felt like teams thought “oooooh it’s that long hair schmuck from UConn who belly flops everywhere” and they remember for the next at-bat. 

It was about to be playoff time for the GHTBL as well, as I needed to get into one more regular season game to qualify myself for the playoffs with People United Bank. We were playing the East Hartford Jets at Wethersfield High School after I had finally received my custom Dove Tail Bat in the mail earlier in the day. It had a natural finish with the DTB and Willy Yahn in Gator green. She was beautiful. I wanted to use her that day because she was fresh out of the box in which it was shipped. I was the lead off hitter and the first pitch of the bottom of the first with the new weapon, I smashed a line drive into center for a single. A good sign for the new bat headed into the playoffs. Then a new pitcher came in for the Jets in the 3rd innings, throwing pretty hard from a funky angle. I learned after the game that it was Lief Bigelow, former UConn sidearmer who transferred to University of Maine. I faced off against him my second at bat, first pitch was a hard runner fastball on the corner inside. I took a hack at it and the barrel of my brand new bat explodes off the handle. I watched the beautiful green label saucer away in disgust. My running so fast in anger and the infielders being distracted by a flying wooden knife allowed me to reach on an infield single. But at what cost, folks? I jokingly called out to Lief (at this point was still trying to remember who he was) saying he owed me a new Dove Tail.”

“I finished the game with three knocks and three swiped bags, the Bankers came out on top 4-2. We were able to win all five regular season games for which I made the trip, as we had a pretty solid team. About the same average age as the Gators, with a lot of solid hitters throughout the line up and a few college pitchers who knew what they were doing. Justin Morhardt contributed highly on both sides of the ball. On top of hitting some bombs out of the clean-up spot, he is a competitive pitcher who induces a lot of ground balls, which as a shortstop makes him a guy that is fun to play behind. People’s United Bank finished 6-6 as we would face off against the GHTBL powerhouse the Vernon Orioles.”

Stay tuned to Willy Yahn’s baseball blog – Chapter 6: The Gator was also a Banker

Yahn is expected to play for the Bowie Baysox of the Eastern League in 2021.

Hartford Base Ball Park of 1896

Long before the Yard Goats roamed Dunkin’ Donuts Park, there was a place named Hartford Base Ball Park. Also called Wethersfield Avenue Grounds, the park was constructed in 1896. Hartford’s minor league team Manager William “Bald Billy” Barnie led the effort to build the minor league venue. That season, grandstand tickets were 15 cents and Newark finished in first place in the Atlantic League. However, Hartford protested their victory.

City planning map showing Hartford Base Ball Park, 1896.

Manager Barnie argued that Newark’s record was unfairly inflated due to a dozen extra games played. Newark also used a suspended pitcher named Joseph Frye who had left Hartford mid year. As a result, the 2nd place Hartfords challenged Newark to a 7-game series. Newark declined the invitation but the 3rd place Paterson club accepted and prevailed over Hartford.

Hartford Base Ball Park, (c.) 1900.

By November of 1896, the matter was put to rest by Sam Crane, President of the Atlantic League who declared Newark as champions. Manager Barnie passed away in Hartford in 1900 beloved by local fans. He was buried alongside many other baseball greats in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York. Hartford finally won a minor league pennant in 1909 at Hartford Base Ball Park.

Bill Barnie, Manager, Hartford, 1900.
Hartford vs. Brockton at Wethersfield Avenue Grounds (Hartford Base Ball Park), 1901.

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!

Chris Denorfia Coming Home to Manage Yard Goats

Former GHTBL outfielder signs on as Hartford Yard Goats Manager.

At 39 years old, Chris Denorfia has been named Manager of the Hartford Yard Goats. In his new role Denorfia will be greeted back to his home state of Connecticut following a 10-year Major League career.  He was a journeyman outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs and for other minor league clubs. In 2018 he joined the Cubs as Special Assistant to the President/General Manager, Theo Epstein.  During the 2019 MLB season Denorfia was the Cubs’ Quality Assurance Coach as part of Manager Joe Maddon’s staff.

Chris Denorfia carried by Cubs teammates after game-winning homer, 2015.
Chris Denorfia doused by Cubs teammates for a walk-off homer, 2015.

Denorfia was born in Bristol and was raised in Southington, Connecticut.  He played prep school baseball at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut, under Head Coach Tom Yankus and was inducted into the Choate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.  During the summer of his high school years Denorfia was a standout player for the Wallingford Legion program. 

Chris Denorfia inducted into Choate Athletics Hall of Fame, 2012.
Chris Denorfia inducted into Wheaton College Athletic Hall of Fame, 2013.

He went on to play college ball at Wheaton College where he was a Division III All-American and would later be inducted in the Wheaton College Athletic Hall of Fame. In the summer of 1999 Denorfia played in the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League for a full season with a Simsbury-based franchise operated by Tim Vincent and Tom Vincent of Simsbury, Connecticut.

Hartford Courant excerpt, 1999.
Chris Denorfia, Outfielder, Wheaton College, 2000.

Denorfia officially became a professional prospect when he led the Manchester Silk Worms of the New England Collegiate Baseball League in the summer of 2000 and 2001, making the NECBL All-Star Game both years.  Winsted native, former Major Leaguer and GHTBL alumnus, Moe Morhardt was Denorfia’s manager with the Silkworms in 2000. 

Hartford Courant excerpt, 2001.

Denorfia was said to be a highly coachable ballplayer, a plus defender, fleet of foot and capable of hitting for power.  He was later picked out of Wheaton College in the 19th round of the 2002 MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds and later made his Major League debut for the Reds in 2005.

Chris Denorfia, Cincinatti Reds organization, 2002.
Dayton Daily News excerpt, 2007.

Perhaps the top highlights of Denorfia’s baseball career came from starring in the World Baseball Classic in 2009 and 2013 for Team Italy.  After hitting 41 home runs, driving in 196 runs and batting for a .272 average in the big leagues, Denorfia played his last MLB game on October 4, 2015 with the Cubs. 

Chris Denorfia celebrates home run at World Baseball Classic, 2013.

He signed a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants the following season.  Listed at 6 feet tall and 195 pounds, he ended his playing career after the 2017 season in the Colorado Rockies organization with the Triple-A affiliate, Albuquerque Isotopes. Denorfia’s invaluable baseball experience and ties to the Greater Hartford community is expected to serve the Hartford Yard Goats very well as Manager in their 2020 Eastern League campaign.

Chris Denorfia (left) doused during interview after walk-off homer, 2013.

#spreadingORANGE Series Scores $7,000+ for MS

MS4MS and GHTBL team up to fund the fight against Multiple Sclerosis.

On Sunday, July 21, the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League played a charity series for a third consecutive year at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. This year, the Twi-loop partnered with a fantastic nonprofit organization called MS4MS to present the #spreadingORANGE Series for MS.

The all-day event was major a success. In addition to spreading awareness for Multiple Sclerosis, GHTBL raised over $7,000 – the league’s largest amount ever raised by our benefit games.  Little 7-year-old John Hart threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Thank you to the following sponsors of the #spreadingORANGE Series: CIGNA, MENCHIE’S FROZEN YOGURT OF WINDSOR, CONCENTRA, COILPRO and TUCCI LIMITED BAT COMPANY.

#spreadingORANGE Series for MS

  • Sunday, July 21, 2019
  • 10:00 AM  8:00 PM
  • Dunkin’ Donuts Park, 1214 Main Street Hartford, CT, 06103 (map)
  • Google Calendar  ICS

All 8 GHTBL franchises will play 4 Regular Season games in a day to benefit Multiple Sclerosis research and spread awareness about the disease.

$10 admission at the main gate. Free for all kids 14 and under.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS FROM MS4MS

GHTBL Raises $4,500 for CT Children’s Medical Center

The Hartford Yard Goats and Dunkin’ Donuts Park hosted the Twi-loop’s Charity Series.

The Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League achieved the 2nd Annual Charity Series at Dunkin’ Donuts Park on Thursday, June 21 and Friday, June 22. 

8 teams made up of current and former college ballplayers as well as several ex-professionals competed under the lights. 

Adult fans paid $10 at the Main Gate and helped us raise $4,500 to be donated to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford.

(Pictured above – L to R: Wes Ulbrich, GHTBL Secretary and Bill Holowaty, GHTBL President present a check to Nicholas Giampetruzzi of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.)

Thank you to all of the friends, family, and fans who came out to the ballpark and we hope to see you again throughout the 2018 season and for next year’s Charity Series.

All the best,

Bill Holowaty
GHTBL President

Charity Series at Dunkin’ Donuts Park

4 GHTBL games to benefit Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to be held June 21 and 22.

June 21st and June 22nd – first pitch at 6:10 PM each night.

The GHTBL Charity Series will feature a pair of doubleheaders on back-to-back nights to raise funds for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

 South Windsor Phillies East Hartford Jets6:10 PM EDT 
06/21/18
 Rainbow Graphics Vernon Orioles8:00 PM EDT 
06/21/18
 People’s United Bank Middletown Outlaws6:10 PM EDT 
06/22/18
 Record-Journal Expos Ulbrich Clippers8:00 PM EDT 
06/22/18

Tickets are $10.00 per person; free entry for kids 14 and under.
Reserve tickets or pay at the Main Gate – 1214 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103. Event open to the public; tickets valid for any and all games. 

CLICK HERE TO RESERVE TICKETS

Thank you to the Hartford Yard Goats for facilitating our stadium rental.

We’ll see you at the ballpark for this great cause!