FARMINGTON — For the past 100 years, countless baseball players have found their own field of dreams at Hippach Field.

And at Saturday’s centennial celebration a baseball game played by oldtime rules will be one of the remembrances of what the field has meant to many over the years.

The celebration begins at the field at 6 p.m., Roger Spear, organizing committee member, said. A game between Dirigo Vintage Base Ball Club and Sunrise Base Ball Club will be played under the lights and according to by 1860 rules: No gloves, underhand pitching, and the pitcher’s mound 45 feet from home plate, he said.

The Dirigo club is led by Jake “Shoeless” Newcomb, a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington and a teacher and a coach, Spear said. Several of the players are UMF graduates.

The game, refreshments and matinee showings of “Field of Dreams” are free. The movie will be shown at 12:15 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Narrow Gauge Cinema.

Spear said that last fall, local historian Paul Mills reminded him and Parks and Recreation Director Matthew Foster that the centennial was coming soon and it was worth celebrating.

The 10.5-acre recreational park and field have been the gateway to Farmington since 1916.

Hippach Field was developed in remembrance of Howard Hippach, a three-star athlete and Abbott School graduate, Spear said. His portrait hangs in the Town Office and the field’s clubhouse.

Hippach Field is near the site of the former Abbott School.

After graduating from the boys preparatory school in 1914, Hippach went home to Chicago with every intention of returning in the fall to continue his education. The 18-year-old and his dog were killed that summer when his car went off the road and overturned, Foster said.

His mother and sister survived the sinking of the Titanic and two older brothers were killed in a Chicago movie theatre fire. The family spared no expense creating a memorial field for the school where their son played.

After the school closed, the family gifted Hippach Field to Farmington in 1935. In the 1940s, Cassius Clark organized a semipro baseball team and recruited players from all over New England and New Jersey. The team played 60 games each summer and attracted about 2,000 people per game. Night games were so popular that portable lights were used.

“Hippach Field has been important to other towns, not just Farmington,” he said. “It has been a place for people to enjoy.”

“Everyone loves it,” Foster said. “It gets so much use, there is hardly time to maintain the field.”

Planning for the celebration began six months ago by Spear, Mills, Foster, Town Manager Richard Davis, David and Ellie Duley, Bucky Leighton and Police Chief Jack Peck.

“It will be a lot of fun,” Richard Davis said.

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Hippach Field Centennial Celebration Highlights

* 6 p.m.: Food, Farmington Historical Society display of Farmington in 1916, Model T car display.

* 6:30 p.m.: Paul Mills, master of ceremonies , and welcome by Town Manager Richard Davis; history of Hippach Field and players by Paul Mills and Roger Spear; presentations of “Take Me Out To the Ball Game” and “Casey at the Bat”; explanation of vintage game rules; first pitch ceremony featuring Hippach relative, national anthem by Sammie Angel; Farmington Braves game, weather permitting.


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