WOONSOCKET, RI: The dedication ceremony for the new Little League field at World War
II Veterans Memorial Park in honor of Woonsocket native and National Baseball Hall
of Famer, Napoleon «Nap» Lajoie, is scheduled for 11:00 am on October 8. Saturday’s
dedication ceremony on the diamond of the new field will take place immediately
following the Autumnfest opening ceremony. Members of the public and baseball fans
are invited to join Woonsocket community leaders and Woonsocket Little Leaguers for
the dedication ceremony and inaugural baseball game, set in the midst of the City’s
biggest cultural festival.
«We are excited to dedicate Napoleon Lajoie Field during Autumnfest Weekend and tie
two important pieces of Woonsocket’s history together,» said Mayor Lisa
Baldelli-Hunt. «Our earlier dedication plans were postponed due to inclement weather
but we are fortunate to have a perfect setting during Autumnfest to share the story
of our City’s baseball legend with the masses that congregate in Woonsocket this
Immediately following the dedication ceremony will be the inaugural game at Napoleon
Lajoie Field, featuring a matchup of Little League opponents Woonsocket versus
«I am thrilled to have this event be a part of this year’s Autumnfest celebrations,»
said Jeff Gamache, Autumnfest Committee Chairman and emcee of the field dedication.
«It’s great to activate this space in the park with a beautiful new ball field and
be able to incorporate that into a spectacular weekend. I hope that we can build
upon this year’s dedication and game and feature Nap Lajoie and the Little League at
Autumnfest for years to come.»
Spectators can also visit the special Napoleon Lajoie tent, located near the field,
for more information on the baseball legend including memorabilia, led by local
Lajoie biographer Dr. Greg Rubano.
Dr. Rubano, is one of the foremost experts on Napoleon Lajoie, authoring several
books and compiling an extensive memorabilia collection of the Woonsocket baseball
legend. Dr. Rubano will conduct presentations the day of the dedication and during
Autumnfest weekend while dressed as Lajoie, in an authentic replica uniform.
«Baseball’s first superstar and holder of the single season highest average in
American League history has returned to the City he loved and each Little Leaguer
who steps onto this field will feel his inspiration,» said Dr. Greg Rubano, Chair of
the Unearthing Our Treasure: Napoleon Lajoie campaign. «The City of Woonsocket has
stepped up to resurrect this wonderful symbol of community pride.»
Napoleon Lajoie was born in Woonsocket in 1874 and went on to become one of the
finest baseball players in the history of the sport, enjoying a career that lasted
from 1896 to 1916. Lajoie still holds one of the highest career batting averages in
Major League history, .338, and was known for his superior fielding and career as a
manager in addition to his extraordinary hitting ability.
«The Woonsocket Little League couldn’t be happier to link such a meaningful piece of
our past with the future of the baseball in our community,» said Michael St.
Germain, President of the Woonsocket Little League. «We have witnessed the
transformation of the park and field into something special that serves as a
centerpiece for this community. On behalf of the League and the players, I would
like to thank the Mayor and the City for collaborating on this accomplishment and
the opportunity it presents.»
The new Little League field at World War II Veterans Memorial Park was completed in
2016 as part of extensive, multi-year renovations made to the park. Saturday’s
dedication ceremony will kick-off at 11:00 am and the inaugural game is scheduled to
begin shortly thereafter at 12:00 pm.