The baseball field in New Waterford is now named after a former mayor as it was renamed in 1992. This field is the second oldest ball field in Canada (after Labatt Park in London). They have been playing baseball on this site since 1911 (Labatt Park is 140 years old, oldest ballfield not only in Canada but the entire world). The discovery of Jerry Marsh Field being the second oldest in Canada was made by a nine-year old girl named Sophia Hillier who made the discovery while working on a heritage project. The family is hoping the park will gain heritage status with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. The hope is the field will gain this status by next summer. To put the field’s age in prospective, they have been playing baseball here one year longer than they have at Boston’s Fenway Park.
The field was home to the New Waterford Dodgers of the old Cape Breton Colliery League. As discussed in previous posts, this is not the only Colliery League park that is still in use. The only Major Leaguer to play as this park (as a Dodger) was Leo Merullo (who would play for the Cubs). In preperation of the Colliery League (in 1937), the town of New Waterford moved the fences out ten feet and added more spectator seating. The parks in both Glace Bay and Sydney Mines are also still used for ball (both are used for softball today).
The park was also home to the 1959 New Waterford Giants, the first Cape Breton club to win the Maritime championship. In 2011 (the park’s centenary), it underwent renovations including new dugouts, drainage system and fencing which were for the 2011 national Big League championships.
The field is now used by New Waterford Minor Baseball. More information on the field can be found in this article by Jeremy Fraser of the Cape Breton Post. A shout out goes out to Sophia and her father for doing the research regarding this being the second oldest baseball field (still in use) in Canada.