With the Annual Granite State Baseball Dinner happening this Saturday, November 21st, I thought it fitting to revisit this post about the tradition of baseball dinners in the Queen City. -Julia
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!
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.
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. For more information about this year’s dinner on Saturday, click here! 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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