The playing field at Franklin Park has always been very small featuring limited foul territory and a short left field fence. This was ideal for Bantam and Pee-Wee League play providing every pint-size slugger a chance to hit a genuine out-of-the-yard homerun.
Down the left field was a gardener’s shack where Mr. Brown, the park gardener, kept his lawnmower and who knows what else. The shack was in play and more than a few hard rubber “indoor” baseballs bounced off the roof or wooden siding. Regular baseballs were not allowed at Franklin as their unrestricted flight characteristic would send them blasting to all parts of the park like canon shots causing danger to life and limb. The fence itself was covered with thorn filled rose vines that kept the kids off the fence and created a Wrigley Field like experience. (Click here to see photos)
Oh that fence! Like a siren, it called your name day after summer day. You dreamed about it. Hitting one over that fence put you in an elite class.
Tim Garvin recalls its magic:
I remember a right of passage being able to hit the ball over the fence after trying for hours, days, weeks. The poor Lucia’s had to hit to the opposite field.
Tim references Franklin Eagle players Chris and Jeff Lucia who were identical twins and hit left handed. Bummer! Right field was comparatively lackluster open space backed up by the basketball court blacktop and a ground rule double. Other guys, like Brian Cary and Rick Holgerson, could regularly send white projectiles flying over the fence and into the flower beds beyond.
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