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Play Ball!

Just like today, spring in 1948 and 1949 meant it was time to play baseball at Consolidated School. But that is where the similarity ends.

In those years Consolidated School included grades 1 thru 8 and the average class size was less than 20 students. It took the boys from 6th, 7th and 8th grades to make enough players for two teams at recess. The school had very little or no athletic equipment so the boys brought their own. Some were fortunate enough to have gone to Rocano’s Sporting Goods store on White Street in Danbury and Mom and Dad bought them a Spaulding or Rawlings leather baseball glove. This was a prized possession! One of the former students remembers he sent for a glove from Sears Roebuck Co. for $6 or $7 and when it arrived it didn’t look anything like the picture in the catalog, but he used it anyway. A good baseball probably cost $1 but you could buy one for 69 cents at Woolworths. The problem with that one was after it had been hit a few times it became lopsided or torn. If a ball was hit into the brush that surrounded the playground the game stopped and everyone looked for the ball.

A highlight towards the end of the school year was when the New Fairfield boys would play against the boys from Sherman or Brookfield. I guess you could say it was the beginning of a “travel team”.

Baseball was a favorite pastime for men as well. There was a large baseball diamond behind Lobraico’s gas station on Route 37 here in town and teams from Danbury would come to play against the local men. Catherine Lobraico Vetrano recalls that games were played on Sunday afternoons in the 1930/1940s for about ten years. The field was made by her Dad, Fred Lobraico and he made the backstop out of chicken wire. Fred was a selectman in New Fairfield for many years. Catherine also recalls that one of the teams would come from Danbury in a produce truck so they were called the “Banana Boys” by Catherine and her family. There were no bleachers or benches and the spectators sat on the top of the knoll to watch the games and cheer their players on.

There may not have been lights on the field, bleachers or uniforms but many great memories still remain.

"A nation with no regard for its past has little hope for its future."

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