The 2018 season marked the 93rd anniversary of National competition in the American Legion Baseball Program. The program was founded in Milbank, South Dakota on July 17th 1925. It became a National Program in 1926 with 16 states represented and the first tournament was held in Philadelphia, PA. There was no tournament in 1927 due to finances stemming from a costly inaugural season.
In 1928, NH began participating in the program. There were initially about 50 junior teams playing under the sponsorship of American Legion. After representative teams were selected, including the Manchester American Legion Team, District and State championship tournaments were to follow. Every team was required to furnish birth certificates confirming no player was above the age limit of 16. The Manchester team, under the certification of Henry J. Sweeney Post #2, won the first state tournament in Concord, NH defeating Concord by a score of 6-2.
Since 1928, Henry J. Sweeney Post has sponsored a team. 2018 marked the 90th anniversary of Sweeney Post Baseball. Through the years, Sweeney has hosted 3 World Series in 1932, 1942 and 1968. All took place at Historic Gill Stadium. Sweeney has amassed a total of 29 State Championships, 5 Regional Titles and competition in 5 World Series. Sweeney’s best finish in a World Series came in 1942 when they placed runner-up to Sunrise, CA. Pitching the championship game was Chris Tonnery who later went on to coach Sweeney teams for the better part of five decades.
Obviously there are many stories of player’s accomplishments, too many to single out. Some of our players and coaches who have attained the pinnacle of the sport in the Major Leagues are: Tom Padden – Coach, Bob Savage – Player/Coach, Ray Dobens – Coach, Mike Flanagan – Player (1979 AL Cy Young, 1983 World Series Champion), Steve Balboni – Player (1985 World Series Champion) and Mike Lavalliere – Player (1987 Gold Glove Catcher).
The name which has been and always will be synonymous with Sweeney Post Baseball is Legendary Head Coach John “Jumbo” Reilly. In his 36 years of coaching, he was successful in leading his team to 14 State Championships, 3 Regional Titles and 3 World Series appearances. His uniform #21 is the only number in team history to be retired and is on display at the post.
2018 Sweeney Baseball Team
The 90th Sweeney Post Baseball Awards Dinner took place on November 23rd 2018. The team celebrated the accomplishments of the past season and honored the graduates that will be moving on. We were also graced with the presence of the Reilly Family, Smith Family, Cashin Family and Mrs. Boyle. For well over thirty years, these families have dedicated their time to make this program the very best in the state.
Individual players were recognized for their accomplishments on the field. Congratulations to:
Nick Sullivan - MVP
Jamison Reilly - Pitching Award
Conner Erickson - Batting Award
Cameron Tomko - Sportsmanship Award
Also the following players were awarded scholarships:
Eric Langley - John "Jumbo" Reilly Scholarship $500
Nick Sullivan - George Smith Scholarship $500
Ian Maniscalchi - Jack Boyle Scholarship $500
Mike Montembeault - Casey Heron Scholarship $250
Matt Provost - Chris Tonery Scholarship $250
Congrats to all!, especially our graduating players:
See you next Summer!