Throwback Thursday Mar-5-2015

With a winter as long as this one, sometimes it’s hard to remember that Spring is right around the corner! As an avid Red Sox fan, one thing that keeps me thinking ahead to Spring is Truck Day–when the trucks leave Fenway Park full of equipment for Spring Training in early February. Now that Spring Training is well underway, what better way to celebrate than with today’s Throwback Thursday…

While clicking through the Manchester Historic Association‘s archives, I saw some fantastic images from Manchester’s past about–you guessed it–baseball! From 1949 to 1988 the Union Leader and famed baseball columnist and New Hampshire native Leo Cloutier hosted the Annual New Hampshire Baseball Dinner here in Manchester. Each year honored a different baseball great. Among the esteemed were: Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Yogi Berra, Ty Cobb, Tommy Davis, Mickey Mantle, Elston Howard, Roberto Clemente, and Johnny Pesky; among many others!

Leo Cloutier, Jackie Leonard, and Ted Williams
Image via Manchester Historic Association: Leo Cloutier, Jackie Leonard, and Ted Williams in 1959

The dinner, as mentioned, was the brain child of Leo Cloutier originally of Berlin, NH. Cloutier’s love of baseball propelled him into an exceptional career as a writer of the sport. He was the sports editior of The New Hampshire Sunday News and sports promotional director of the Union Leader Corporation. At the height of his career, Cloutier’s work was featured in 47 New England newspapers! Additionally, he could be heard on the radio and seen on television.  The video below features the “History of Cloutier” with speeches by Ted Williams and Jimmy Piersall.

Ty Cobb, Tom Dowd, Leo and Laura Cloutier
Image via Manchester Historic Association: Ty Cobb, Tom Dowd, Leo and Laura Cloutier in 1958

The New Hampshire Baseball Dinner was attended by 2,600 people by its 30th Anniversary in 1978. Sadly, Cloutier passed away in 1988, thus ending this particular era of celebrating baseball in the Queen City. Today, the spirit of baseball dinners in Manchester carries on! The New Hampshire Fishercats host an annual Granite State Baseball Dinner that raises funds for CHaD, The Ted Williams Museum, and the Fisher Cats Foundation. It’s no secret the love of baseball here in the Queen City! See below for some programs from the annual dinners courtesy of the Manchester Historic Association.

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