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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Holman Stadium - Nashua Silver Knights


Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57

Holman Stadium 67 Amherst St Nashua, NH 03063



Year Opened: 1937

Capacity: 4,000

 

Historic Holman Stadium


Holman Stadium, in the southern New Hampshire city of Nashua, hosted the first integrated team in baseball’s modern era. As members of the Nashua Dodgers, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe played at Holman Stadium in 1946. In addition to serving as home to the Dodgers’ single-A team in the 1940s, Holman Stadium hosted the Angels’ and Pirates’ AA Eastern League teams in the ’80s.


The stadium is named for Charles Frank Holman, who contributed $55,000 towards the building of the ballpark, which was constructed under the auspices of the WPA during the Great Depression. The facility was originally used for both baseball and football and was dedicated to the youth and people of Nashua in memory of Holman’s parents.


Affiliated ball left Holman Stadium with the Pirates in 1986, and a series of independent league teams passed through Nashua with varying levels of success throughout the 90s and 00s.


In 2011 the Futures League, a summer wooden bat collegiate league, came calling with the Silver Knights. Nashua has quickly become the standard bearer of the circuit, winning six championships in the Future League’s twelve seasons. The Silver Knights are the lone remaining original Futures League franchise.


Food & Beverage 4


Holman Stadium features a pretty basic concessions menu, but one which touches all the bases. There are two concession stands in the facility, one near the front entrance and one down the right field line. Both stands feature nearly identical menus, with burgers, hot dogs, and sausage and peppers sandwiches featured. Pretzels, chips, and popcorn are available for fans looking for snacks. The right field stand also serves chicken fingers and french fries.


Coca-Cola products are featured at Holman Stadium. Fans looking for an adult beverage should be sure to check out the Dragon Slayer Tavern located right by the main entrance. In addition to the typical national brands, several local craft brews from Athletic, Burlington, Jack’s Abbey, 603, and Downeast Breweries. Busch Light drafts are half-priced on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In addition to the beer selection, wine, and mixed drinks can be purchased at Dragon Slayer.


Atmosphere 3


Fans who have traveled the New England summer college ball circuit will know that the Futures League features a more elaborate game day presentation than their brethren in the Cape and New England Leagues. It’s more akin to a minor league game presentation, just scaled down for the smaller crowds and lesser amenities in place.


Holman Stadium bills itself as “historic,” and here the moniker fits. Holman Stadium was home to the first integrated team in baseball’s modern era. The exterior of the stadium features murals of Don Newcome and Roy Campanella, who played for the Nashua Dodgers in 1946. There are jerseys honoring these players on the left field wall, and a plaque on the ground quoting Newcombe’s affinity for the city of Nashua near the entrance.


The game day presentation is fairly typical here in Nashua. In a tradition that dates to the beginning of the Silver Knights, the entire Silver Knights team, interns included, joins together on the field and dances to David Guetta’s “Love is Gone” in the middle of the sixth inning.



Neighborhood 4


Located in a largely residential area, there’s not a whole lot in the way of dining or lodging options right around Holman Stadium, but there are many options for visiting fans just a short drive from the ballpark.


Downtown Nashua is about a mile from Holman Stadium down by the banks of the Merrimack River. The area features a variety of shops, restaurants, and scenic architecture. Several excellent brew pubs are located in the downtown area. It’s a great place to walk around during the warm summer months of the baseball season. The tourist attractions of the White Mountains are located a couple of hours north of Nashua.


Holman Stadium is located adjacent to Amherst Street Elementary School, and there are basketball courts, tennis courts, a little league field, and a swimming pool on the grounds of the ballpark.


Fans 3


Nashua annually ranks somewhere in the middle of the Futures League attendance rankings with about 1,500 fans per game. The crowds here in southern New Hampshire are typical of other teams in the area, with a mix of locals, die-hards, families, and people with connections to the players. With Futures League rosters made up primarily of players with New England ties, there are lots of friends and family in attendance.


Some of the fans of the Silver Knights have been coming to Holman Stadium since the days of the independent Pride. You can still hear the cowbells in Nashua after a big play, or the drum being beaten by one of the team’s superfans out in the left-field stands.


Access 4


Nashua is a small city of just under 90,000 residents located 45 miles northwest of Boston on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border. The city straddles the Merrimack River, which gave the city the bulk of its industrial past through the textile industry. The city has rebounded quite nicely from the exodus of manufacturing jobs, capitalizing on the region’s economic expansion as part of the greater Boston region. Nashua has twice been named the “Best Place to Live in America” by Money Magazine.


Getting to Holman Stadium is very easy. It is located on Amherst Street, about a mile from Route 3. Take exit 7A and follow Amherst Street to the ballpark, which will be on your left. There is ample parking in the lot next to the field.


Fans enter Holman Stadium onto an outdoor concourse. Immediately to your right will be a concession stand, with the Dragon Slayer Tavern to your left. There is more than enough room to get around during a typical Silver Knights game.


Fans enter the seating area, which stretches from first base around to third base, through several vomitories. There is a wide walkway separating the upper and lower levels. Fans may want to pick seats a few rows up if sitting on the upper level to avoid the traffic passing in front of them. The nets are strung in front of the entire seating bowl at Holman Stadium.


Access to the picnic area in right field can be had by a stairway at the end of the seating area, or by simply walking around the back of the grandstand and down the hill to the picnic area. Several tables are located here, as well as an additional concession stand. The left field area features more picnic tables, a basketball court, and a bouncy house.


Fans requiring handicapped access will have no problem navigating Holman Stadium’s wide walkways and concourse. There are two sets of bathrooms here, which are more than large enough to accommodate the typical Silver Knights crowd.


Return on Investment 4


Tickets to Silver Knights games cost ten dollars for general admission seating. Parking is free in the lot adjacent to the ballpark. Concessions are affordable and in line with other small ballparks in the area. Overall, a night at a Silver Knights game is a most affordable entertainment option for southern New Hampshire baseball fans.


Extras 3

Holman Stadium embraces its history as home to the first integrated baseball team in the United States. Murals of Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe adorn the exterior of the ballpark. Retired numbers honoring Campanella, Newcombe, and Jackie Robinson hang on the short brick wall in left field. Fans visiting Nashua may want to head downtown to see the mural honoring the first integrated team in the United States, located near city hall. In addition, the Holman Stadium Hall of Fame honors significant persons in Nashua sports history.



Even the seats at Holman Stadium have an interesting story. All the seats in the ballpark came to Nashua from Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium when Holman was renovated in 1998.


Final Thoughts


Holman Stadium is a quaint ballpark that has likely seen the end of its days as a professional facility. With Northeast Delta Dental Stadium located 20 minutes to the north and LaLacheur Park located 20 minutes to the south, there are just not enough fans for affiliated ball in the area.


The Futures League has given new life to several other New England ballparks that otherwise would have faded into history. Seven of the eight teams in the circuit play in ballparks that used to house pro teams but have seen them leave for newer, more modern parks.


Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.

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