More About Holliston’s Baseball Heritage
By Tom Laronga
Joanne Hulbert’s series on Holliston’s baseball history inspired Holliston native Tom Laronga to submit his recollections about Holliston baseball in the late 1940’s and 1950’s.
Reading Joanne Hulbert’s great articles about Holliston baseball brings to mind many good memories from the 1940’s, in particular 1947 – 1948 of the Holliston Legion semi-pro baseball team.
After the war ended and our Holliston men returned, they began to pick up their lives.
The Holliston Legion baseball team was formed and began to play again. It was a great time and it was a great to see my idols play. The players I remember from that time were: Ray Tondorf, player and manager, George Pidgeon, George Mantell, Jim Blair, Russ MacDonald, Joe Hayes, Vic Laronga, Bill Sheehan, Ed Kurzontkowski, Bill Honey, Ernie Kampersal, Charlie McGuire, Joe Nowick, Eric Laronga, Bill Casey and Punk Vernon. I’m sure there were others but I can’t remember at this time.
This was a very good team as Holliston has always had really good athletes. They played their games mostly on Sundays with some games during the week. The league was known as the Twin Rivers League and consisted of teams from Natick, Ashland, Hopkinton, Medway and Saxonville. There may have been other teams as well. You could find many Holliston fans at the Sunday games, as it seemed to be the thing to do.
Back in the 1940’s there was no little league and no other formal coaching. But, in true Holliston tradition, older men ran informal practices for 10 to 12 year olds. Mr Dillon, Mr Tule and Mr Tondorf are the ones I can remember. They were great teachers and followed the progress of those players, as was evidenced by the fact that they attended many of their high school games. Those players were in Holliston High School from 1950 to 1953 and won three league championships during that time. It was Ray Tondorf who coached those 4 years.
Thanks Joanne for the push to write this article and bring back my memories from that time.
PS: I thank my lucky stars that I grew up in Holliston during such a great time.
Publishers’ Note: Thank you Tom for sharing this slice of Holliston’s baseball history. When we moved here a few years ago we thought that “Casey at the Bat” was the extent of Holliston’s baseball legacy. Now we know so much more about this rich tradition in our town.