DRHS Week 10! George Desmond’s Baseball Monument at Devitt’s Field

Aug 26, 2021

Ever wonder why there is a large stone baseball monument at Devitt’s Field or who George Desmond was? George Desmond is considered to be the “Father of Baseball in Middlesex County.” For decades he was the driving force behind the Middlesex County League which was a semi-pro baseball organization that included over 20 local teams. 

George Desmond was born at home on Kirtland Street in 1868. The game of baseball was still evolving but rapidly gaining in popularity.

George began playing ball when he was young and excelled as a pitcher. His career was cut short in 1893, with a shoulder injury at the age of 38. However, he stayed involved in the game. George worked as a sports writer and correspondent for the Middletown Press. He was a founding member of the committee which organized the Middlesex County Baseball League in 1905, at the New Era Printing office in Deep River. The league became the oldest semi pro-organization in the country. The first pennant was won by the Deep River team. The league began with six teams and rapidly grew to 21. George served on the Executive Committee for several years before serving as the League’s Secretary and Treasurer for 34 years. 

George began playing ball when he was young and excelled as a pitcher. His career was cut short in 1893, with a shoulder injury at the age of 38. However, he stayed involved in the game. George worked as a sports writer and correspondent for the Middletown Press. He was a founding member of the committee which organized the Middlesex County Baseball League in 1905, at the New Era Printing office in Deep River. The league became the oldest semi pro-organization in the country. The first pennant was won by the Deep River team. The league began with six teams and rapidly grew to 21. George served on the Executive Committee for several years before serving as the League’s Secretary and Treasurer for 34 years. 

Teams included: Glastonbury, Cromwell, East Hampton, Portland, Middletown Giants, K of C of Middletown, Noiseless Typewriter Co., St Andrews of Middletown, Moodus, Higganum, Chester, Deep River, Essex, Ivoryton, Old Saybrook, Clinton, Guilford, Branford, Wallingford, and Meriden. The Deep River team is the only one that had been on the roster from the inception of the league. 

When George Desmond died in 1942, he was the best-known baseball figure in the county. In May of 1944, a large stone baseball was erected in left field at Devitt Field to honor the memory of J. George Desmond a baseball legend in this town. It was later moved to its current location at the entrance to the field. Designed and created by the Middlesex County Baseball League the monument was given to the town during a moving ceremony as a tribute to J. George Desmond, the Father of County Baseball. Over 600 league fans attended the ceremonies and parade to honor George Desmond. The inscription reads:

In Memoriam

John George Desmond

Secretary & Treasurer

Middlesex County Baseball League

1907 – 1942

Every year the Historical Societies of Chester, Deep River, and Essex play a “Vintage Baseball Game” using rules established in 1857. This year’s game is scheduled for September 19th at 1 pm. Admission is free. Come out and join in the fun. 

Till then, head to Devitt’s Field, find the monument, take a picture and post it to our Facebook Page to win a prize!

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