The Worcester Tornadoes came to Worcester’s Fitton Field at Holy Cross with grand fanfare; winning the Championship their first year in the Can-Am League. Just a few short years later, they exited the scene with the same furry as the tornado they were named after. Is baseball in Worcester doomed? It may seem that way, as the fate of the Worcester Tornadoes was not an isolated incident. In fact, Worcester was once home to a Major League Baseball team, aptly named, Worcester Worcesters.
There is a rich history of failed baseball teams around the nation and, in 1879, the National League looked to Worcester’s minor league team to replace the failed Syracuse Stars. Although the city of Worcester had less than 60,000 residents, the city was able to sell stock in the team to raise enough money to support the team and in 1880 the Worcester Worcesters were born into the MLB’s National League.
They started strong leaving their mark in the history books. Worcester Worcesters’ Lee Richmond was the first pitcher to throw a perfect game in Major League history. The same year, the team was the first in league history to be no-hit at home. Notoriously, the Worcesters were also responsible for having the Cincinnati Reds expelled from the league for serving beer at their game in the 1880s.
Attendance was a constant struggle for the Worcester Worcesters, both because Worcester was underpopulated and was surrounded by five rival teams, all within a hundred miles. Two short years after being added to the league and setting two prominent records, the Worcester Worcesters were dropped from the league and made way for the forming of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1883.
There is a common theme between the Worcester Tornadoes and the Worcester Worcesters… is baseball in Worcester cursed?
In September 2013, the College of the Holy Cross and Worcester’s city manager announced a new partnership with the Futures Collegiate Baseball Leauge of New England to bring baseball back to the city of Worcester with local team owner John W.S. Creedon Jr—vice president of Creedon and Co. Inc.
This new partnership will bring baseball back to Fitton field in 2014… a name, schedule, and other details will be finalized for opening day in early June. Worcester will be the 10th city to field a Futures League team, including Boston, Martha’s Vineyard, Old Orchard Beach, ME, and Portsmouth, NH. Let’s hope, this time, baseball is here to stay!