Research Finds Historic Baseball Grounds in Massachusetts

From The Grafton (Mass.) Historical Society History and Research Committee on June 24:

Among several research projects that the Grafton Historical Society is currently working on is an effort to compile information about a mid to late 1800’s facility known simply as the “Base Ball Grounds.” The “Grounds” were located in Grafton Center, to the southeast of the Common, behind the Baptist Church and adjacent to the Grafton and Upton Railroad Station. The grounds were reached by a road that connected to South Street and accessed several back property lots. The location of the Grafton base ball grounds is shown on an 1898 Worcester County Atlas. Of particular interest in 2011, the Grafton base ball grounds were located on what is now known as the Perreault property that was recently purchased by the town of Grafton.

The Historical Society’s History and Research Committee has compiled information about the Grafton Base Ball Grounds, how long the facility was in use, and what teams played there. In the 1985 publication “Grafton at 250,” there is a brief mention of an annual Red Sox exhibition game being played in Grafton around the turn of the century at a “field on Upton Street back of the coal company yard,” and “on the day of the game it was not uncommon to have 5,000 people congregate, many seated on open bleachers, and horses and buggies everywhere.”


Further research, now assisted by members of the 19th century committee of the Society of American Baseball Research, have documented that baseball was played on the Grafton base ball grounds as early as August 31 of 1860. This pre civil war time period is consistent with documentation of an 1859 championship team playing in Upton known as the “Excelsiors.”

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Originally published: June 25, 2011. Last Updated: June 25, 2011.