by Mark Huard
On July 28, Maine State Cal Ripken Baseball Commissioner Reggie Hatfield was on hand to announce the selection of Waterville being host of the New England Cal Ripken Baseball Championships. The tournament included all of the New England State winners and took place from July 28 to August 3, at Wrigley Field, in Waterville.
As part of the opening ceremony Waterville native and NFL pro football player John Roland Huard was surprised by his former 1965 University of Maine Tangerine Bowl teammates. They arrived via bus and helped dedicate the John Huard monument at Purnell Wrigley Field. Hundreds of friends and fans showed up for this special surprise.
John, a former Waterville Boys & Girls Club member, played pro football for the Denver Broncos (defensive captain), of the American Football League, and New Orleans Saints, of the National Football League, Montreal Alouettes, and the Toronto Argonauts, of the Canadian Football League. He also coached at the pro and college levels. In 2003 he was inducted into the University of Maine’s “Ring of Honor.” He was elected to College Football Hall of Fame in 2014. His monument will be in-between Coach John Winkin College Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and Clyde Sukeforth, the Maine native baseball scout who signed Jackie Robinson to a professional contract, making him the first African-American to play in baseball’s major leagues.
About the Purnell Wrigley Field Project
Purnell Wrigley Field joins the Harold Alfond® Fenway Park, in Oakland, as the only two licensed replica turfed fields in the country – located right here in Central Maine. CEO, Ken Walsh of the Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCA at the Alfond Youth Center said, “These fields give kids the opportunity to feel like real Major League players! The turf not only gives everyone the chance to play but extends the baseball season here in Maine, giving kids more time to develop their skills and learn sportsmanship while playing the game they love. The Purnell Wrigley Field is truly a grass roots community project built on the support of many and varied contributors of monetary and in-kind gifts. It’s a wonderful project honoring the legacy of some terrific ‘home town’ heroes. John Huard is certainly one of our hometown heroes. His strong character, spirit and love of the game started here in Waterville. His legacy will remain strong within our community forever.”
F.M.I. Contact Ken Walsh, CEO Alfond Youth Center 207-649-1824 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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