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St Pat's Ball Park in St. John's. — SaltWire network
St Pat's Ball Park in St. John's. — SaltWire network

Hollett hit first homer under the lights at St. Pat’s; Harvey Thomas deserves a lot of credit

With the St. John’s Molson Senior Baseball League about to open its championship series, we thought we’d share these couple of historical tidbits.

The first item comes courtesy of Bill Barron, the long-time St. John’s Senior Men’s Softball League executive and softball/baseball historian.

The first game played under the lights at St. Pats Ball Park was Saturday, June 16, 1956, the opening game of season.

St. Bon’s defeated St. Pats 11-6, with John Power recording the win over Peter Deutsch. Game start time was 7:30 p.m., and the lights were turned on at 8:50 p.m. by then-Mayor Harry Mews.

The game was called after eight innings due to the 11:30 p.m. curfew.

The first home run hit under the lights came Wednesday June 20, 1956 by Dave (Hack) Hollett of Feildians. Hollett provided the only offence for the Double Blues in a 2-1 loss to Guards.

The homer came off winning pitcher Doug Woolgar in the top of ninth into the bullpen in left field.

•••

This we stumbled on from George Perlin’s column, “Sports in the News”, published in The Daily News back on Tuesday, July 3, 1956.

“Aubrey Mack’s sportscast last night was well worth listening. Aubrey referred to the founding of baseball in Newfoundland and he pointed out that one of the prime movers in getting the game here in the first place was Harvey Thomas. Mack went on to point out that Harvey, along with “Ank” Murphy, re-established baseball in St. John’s back in 1947.

Yet Harvey Thomas is a man few of our fans know.

He is a man who, as Mack says, prefers to stay in the background.

I can think of no greater tribute to Harvey Thomas than that paid to him by Aubrey last night. He is a little man with a big heart.”

Aubrey MacDonald (Aubrey Mack) was a hugely popular broadcaster on the Broadcasting Corporation of Newfoundland (BCN), later to become the CBC.

Harvey Thomas, a former Sports Editor and reporter for The Evening Telegram, was inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.

According to his Hall of Fame bio, he is credited with having revived baseball when, following the Armistice of 1945 and the departure of the Americans (from Newfoundland), that game was in the doldrums.

sports@thetelegram.com

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