Dedication commemorates $1.5 million state investment in Central Park
SCHENECTADY – Today, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy joined Assemblymember Phil Steck, Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara, City Historian Chris Leonard, and Hamilton Hill Neighborhood Association President Marva Isaacs for the rededication of the Central Park A-Diamond “Buck Ewing” Field.
From 1924-1943, the Mohawk Giants called the Central Park ‘A’ Diamond home. Each year the Giants played nearby teams and those from around the country, attracting thousands of spectators. In 1933, the Giants joined the inaugural Schenectady Twilight League and dominated throughout the decade.
The Giants biggest star was William “Buck” Ewing, a catcher who had spent five years in the Negro Leagues, including three (1928-1930), with the famed Homestead Grays. MLB Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander declared Ewing to be “the greatest catcher I ever saw, black or white.”
From 2015-2017, with the support of New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assemblymember Steck, and Assemblymember Santabarbara, the City of Schenectady began to implement a $1.5 million investment to upgrade and redevelop the historic ‘A’ Diamond field.
On Thursday, the rededication of the field included the unveiling of a plaque behind home plate to commemorate the history of the field and recognize the recent investments. The newly redeveloped field also includes signage on the new scoreboard in honor of Buck Ewing. The new plaque was installed next to an older plaque that had been donated previously by the Hamilton Hill Neighborhood Association.
“After decades of neglect and disinvestment, the field fell into disrepair,” Mayor Gary McCarthy said. In 2015, Speaker Heastie, and our local Assemblymember’s Phil Steck and Angelo Santabarbara, committed to a $1.5 million state investment toward our efforts to redevelop Central Park and the A-Diamond ball field. We are proud to honor and pay tribute to the legendary history of this field and the Mohawk Giants here in Central Park. And on behalf of the City of Schenectady, we thank our leadership in the New York State Assembly for their pivotal investment to revitalize Central Park.”
“Working collaboratively to secure a $1.5 million investment needed from the State Assembly for improvements to Central Park was also key to restoration of the historic “A” Diamond baseball field,” Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara said. “Not only have we completed the redevelopment of this historic site, but an important part of Schenectady’s history is getting its long overdue acknowledgment. The accomplishments of William "Buck" Ewing, storied catcher of the Mohawk Giants baseball team, are finally receiving the recognition they deserve. Today’s rededication honors his legacy and our renewed commitment to building a bright future here in Schenectady.”