SAUGUS — Almost a year after vandals tore through World Series Park, those who stepped in to get it fixed were honored during a dedication ceremony.
Last August, about two dozen high school students kicked in doors, ripped downspouts from the facility building, covered the ground with smashed beer bottles, and littered across the community ballpark. Because of the park’s previous security systems, which were of low quality and also vandalized, none of those culprits were caught.
“It was pretty crushing to wake up to and it was disgusting to watch the surveillance tapes back and see those kids doing what they did,” said Bob Davis, the field’s superintendent. “I feel like it’s my backyard because I’m here every day cutting all the grass, preparing the field for every game, and selling food with my wife at the snack bar during games. This field isn’t for nothing.”
After the vandalism, Davis hoped he could get the town together and raise $4,000, which would cover the cost of installing new security systems. A long list of members from the town and its surrounding communities took it upon themselves to pitch in and raise the money to fix the field and install a better security system.
Ed Stetson, Sr., a 92-year-old Lynn resident, was the first person to offer up a donation, even suggesting to Davis that he spread the word so more people would know how to help. Davis, Stetson, and the rest of the community surpassed their original goal and ended up raising more than $12,000. The money paid for the new security systems, fixed the damages, and will help sustain the field for the next few years.
“We have to call attention to this field and there should be more people helping donate to it every year, not just when something bad happens,” said Stetson. “People aren’t going to give until you go over and gently twist their arm and that’s because they’re not aware.”
Residents, town officials, and neighbors gathered at the ballpark on Saturday as the list of names, almost 100 being dedicated, were read aloud. The right side of the ballpark’s new permanent Wall of Fame was a list of names of loved ones from the community who have died. Davis hopes people will be willing to add more names to the list as time goes on. Town Administrator Scott Crabtree was pleased at the outcome of the community’s effort to revitalize the field.
“Bob Davis, his supporters, and the people that support this park have really done a phenomenal job to allow Saugus to have something like this that no other community has,” said Crabtree. “One thing that’s good is that Saugus and people around the area may have their differences, but with things like this, when it’s really for the community, everyone really does come together.”
Before Davis concluded the ceremony and invited guests to enjoy some baked cookies and cold refreshments, he made sure to give a gift of appreciation to Stetson. The World War II veteran opened the box and found an original Stetson cowboy hat, which he was surprised, and pleased, to see. State Senator Brendan Crighton and State Rep. Donald Wong (R-Saugus) also attended the dedication ceremony.
“World Series Park is the hidden diamond of Saugus and of Massachusetts,” said Wong.