People in the greater Keene area have been passionate about baseball for more than 150 years. From the 1860 Keene Base Ball Club, probably the region’s first town team, to today’s Swamp Bats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, local players and fans have demonstrated their love for our national pastime.
By the 1890s, it seemed that everyone was playing baseball. The town teams, school teams, and the boys on the common were joined by mill teams, store teams, church teams, and travelling barnstormers. Keene team rivalries included the “Married Men” vs. the “Single Men” and the “Short Men” vs. the “Tall Men.” Baseball was a game that everyone could play and enjoy, from the pastures and town commons to the professional league ball parks.
The Keene White Sox was the city’s great semi-pro team of the 1910s and 1920s. The team was as professional as the city would see during its era, featuring several future and former major league players. In addition to the local teams, the White Sox played many barnstorming teams during this period. The Keene Blue Jays of the semi-pro Northern League played here in the late 1940s-1950s. Baseball has been an integral part of life in Keene for generations.
South facing Gilbo Ave West Lot
Wade Lambristen, Vintage Sign Shop Menomonie, WI, and Alicia Rheal, Rheal Imagination Madison, WI
In Our Collections
The Historical Society of Cheshire County researched and designed an exhibit on the history of baseball in __ entitled “It’s All We Ever Did: Base Ball in Cheshire County, NH”. Exhibit materials and additional research are available to patrons by calling in advance to set up an appointment. Call 603.352.1895.
- 77 Arch Street, Alumni Field, where the Swamp Bats collegiate team plays today
Website, Keene Swamp Bats
Article, “New Hampshire’s Role in Creating Baseball” by Ray Carbone. NH Magazine. March 14, 2019.