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 retired and on display at the post.
From 1992-2006, the team was led by Head Coach Paul Lemire. Lemire played for Sweeney from 1975-1978 and went on to play his college ball at Northeastern. In 1980 he was selected to the All New England Baseball Team while at Northeastern. He was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 16th round of the 1981 MLB Draft.
In his 14 years at the helm, Lemire won 2 State Championships, 1 Regional Championship and 1 World Series appearance. When he stepped down as head coach in 2006, his uniform #20 was retired. From 2006-2016, Lemire served as the Athletic Director for the team. He currently remains active with the program serving as a member of the Baseball committee
2018 Sweeney Baseball Team
Sweeney Post Baseball would like to thank all those who came out yesterday and participated in the John "Jumbo" Reilly Golf Tournament. The event was a huge success! Thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors. The organizing of this event begins in early March and its success would not be possible without your support and assistance.
This year was special as it marked the 20th anniversary of the event. We also recognized long time Sweeney Coach and Athletic Director Paul Lemire. His uniform number 20 was formally retired and will soon be displayed at the post along with "Jumbo's" number 21.
Congratulations to the winners:
1st Place: Paul Lemire, Mike Gleason, Ron Beaurivage and Matt Brown.
2nd Place: Mark Collins, Brad Collins, Chris Collins and Chris Phillipy.
3rd Place: Brendan LeVeille, Jaxson LeVeille, Brian LeVeille and Mike Smith.
We hope everyone enjoyed themselves and we will see you next year!