Local History Matters: Port’s Field of Dreams, 1903

Local History Matters: Port’s Field of Dreams, 1903
Across from the train station, about where Dunkin' Donuts is today

Today our Manhasset nine are crossing bats with the clam diggers and no doubt it’s going to be a rowdy affair. Let’s hope it doesn’t get out of hand the way it did last time, and the rivalry stays on the ball field. Port has a fast team, but we aren’t as slow as they think, and I’m thinking they could be in for a surprise because we’ve got a crack twirler in the box.
It’s standing room only on the train.

Two minutes after we packed in like sardines in Manhasset and left the station, the train stopped somewhere in the middle of nowhere. It seems that the conductor needed extra time to punch tickets.

While we wait, we start making some noise for our boys. It’s crowded, hot, and sweaty. In other words, it stinks.
The entrance to Bradley’s Field is across the street from the railroad station alongside of the Central Hotel. Passing through the gate, you come into foul territory in the outfield along the left field line.

Over on the right, there are benches around the infield for the teams and the rooters. Looks like the clam diggers have got the best seats. Beyond the infield, there’s nothing but trees.
But first I’m going to get a Wurzburger and look for a local to give me good odds on the game. That shouldn’t be too hard since their rooters are riding high these days and don’t realize how good we are.

Last time I was here, you couldn’t get a drink in this part of town. Bradley has been good enough to open a bar and grill in the hotel.
Bradley’s bar, Bradley’s grounds, Bradley’s nine. He’s even got some rooms to rent in the hotel, and I forgot to mention that he is the manager of the team for the Port Washington Field Club, which is how it came to be called Bradley’s team.

Nobody’s making much money passing the hat during the game, but with the crowds coming here on Sundays to socialize and have a good time, he’s doing just fine.
When a player hits the horsehide into the trees behind home plate, the opposing team has to fetch it. Same goes if a hickory hefter hits a home run.

The difference is that home run territory here is cow pasture.

When “Husky” Erb steps up to the plate, the clam diggers go wild.

I’m guessing he’s semi-pro. As much as they want a corker into the cow pasture to win the game, I think they want to see one of our boys step in some cow dung.
Husky let them down this time, and we went on to win 2-1.

I left with enough money to pay for the beer and the ride home. And a noisy ride it was, no matter the crowd or the heat or the smell.

Ross Lumpkin is a trustee at the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society

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