Building Maine's Fenway Park
Harold Alfond®, the founder of Dexter Shoe Company, the first majority minority owner of the Boston Red Sox for the State of Maine loved the game of baseball. Mr. Alfond attended numerous ball games in his owner’s box at Fenway as he watched and became part of the Red Sox family of friends along with many Hall of Fame Red Sox players such as Ted Williams, Yaz, Jim Rice, Pedro and of course Carlton Fisk. His dream was always to bring the opportunity of baseball to kids throughout the country, especially Maine. Ken Walsh, CEO of the Alfond Youth Center wanted to help make this dream possible as he ventured out to honor Harold Alfond for his life’s work by raising funds to build the Harold Alfond Fenway Park.
In honor of Harold Alfond, in 2006, Ken Walsh along with the Board of Directors of the Alfond Youth Center set out to build the “Field Of Dreams”. The mission was to create the wow! The only way to do this was to build the replica of the Boston Red Sox Fenway Park, the most beloved ballfield of Major League Baseball. After many months of planning and receiving the rights from Major League Baseball and the Boston Red Sox to use the name Fenway Park, the dream started taking shape. Utilizing the Red Sox staff and area engineers the Maine’s Fenway in honor of Harold Alfond was designed to be a 66% scale replica of Fenway.
After months of raising funds and construction completed, on September 7th the grand opening was held featuring the State of Maine Governor, John Baldacci, Mr. Baseball of Maine, College Coach with most wins in history Dr. John Winkin and Iron Man of Baseball Cal Ripken Jr. In down pouring rain under a tent, Harold Alfond® watched the thousands of spectators arrive to celebrate the grand opening. Four area little league teams line the field hoping to be the first teams to play on the field.
Unfortunately, this was not to be due to the inclement weather. However the Iron Man of Baseball, Cal Ripken Jr. said to Harold Alfond, “this is about the kids and I’m going to pitch to each and every one of them”. Cal Ripken got on his hands and knees in the down pouring rain and threw 5 pitches to each and every youth from the four teams as they all tried to hit the ball over the Green Monster Wall. The legend of Harold Alfond and Cal Ripken Jr. was cemented into history that day.
Soon after that September day, Harold Alfond passed away at the age of 93. Since then hundreds of ball games, tournaments and camps have been part of the Maine’s Fenway in honor of Harold Alfond®.
Now with the number one youth baseball camp in the country we all have a sense that Mr. Alfond is watching each of these games in the best seat in the house. On his "Field of Dreams".