Howard Herman | Designated Hitter: A great idea for Pellerin Field at Clapp Park
There are three kinds of ideas. There are bad ideas and there are good ideas. There are also great ideas, and plans for Clapp Park's baseball diamond fall into the latter category.
The baseball diamond at Clapp Park is now called Buddy Pellerin Field at Clapp Park. The new designation was approved by the Pittsfield Parks Commission last month. Now the group that pushed for the name change to honor the legendary coach is taking that to the next level.
The committee is trying to raise money to make extensive renovations to the diamond at Clapp, which happens to be the home field of the Pittsfield High School baseball team.
Pellerin, a member of the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, led Pittsfield to a state championship in 1966 with a team that had former Major League player Tom Grieve, Paul Pierce and Cliff Nilan among many, many names. Pellerin also coached the high school softball teams at Pittsfield and St. Joseph, and assisted Sheila LaBarbera at Taconic. He also coached the MCLA softball team, and was an assistant on the Babe Ruth team managed by Bob Shade that went to the World Series in Arkansas a couple of years back.
Pellerin might have been the last high school softball coach to wear a full uniform. All coaches today, and most of them when he was at Pittsfield, were into the khakis and polo uniform. Not Buddy. He wore a full softball uniform, and I'm darned if I can remember the number he wore.
Naming the field for Pellerin was a start, but Pittsfield attorney Ken Ferris said that was only the beginning.
"We kind of looked at it as a three-phase project," said Ferris, who I spoke with on the radio program I co-host with Shade on WBRK. "It depends on how much money we raise, and I'll tell you right now, we raised quite a bit of money without a lot of publicity."
In no particular order, here's what they want to do.
The plans include the construction of a scoreboard behind the fence in right field, along with moving the fence in a few feet. They would like to install dugouts that are actually dug into the ground, in order to enable fans to continue using the benches behind the first base bench, and the hills on both sides of the backstop.
The first phase of the project is to move the fence in five feet and make it higher, with the electronic scoreboard on top. The group would like to put in a combination batting cage-bullpen down the right field line, and install a flagpole with flag.
There would also be a plan for a temporary fence in left and center, so those famous Clapp Park ground ball home runs would cease to be.
Dugouts would be part of the second phase, and the potential of lights would be a third phase.
The group is trying to raise $250,000, and if you are interested, you can go to pellerinfield.org, and donate. Ferris said the money is all coming from donations.
"It just started as just a tribute to Coach Pellerin, who had a great career. You can't talk about baseball in Pittsfield, without mentioning Coach Pellerin's name," Ferris said. "What started as a just a tribute to him has kind of developed into let's make Clapp Park, the ball field there, a nice place to watch a game. Let's have it comparable to other places."
That's why this idea for Clapp Park falls into the great idea category.
Contact Howard Herman at (413) 496-6253.
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