Dedication Ceremony at Johnny Taylor Field in Colt Park

Dedication Ceremony at Johnny Taylor Field in Colt Park

On Wednesday, April 28, Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez joined The Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League, Donna Swarr of Friends of Colt Park, Hartford City Councilman John Gale, Board of Education Chairwoman Ayesha Clarke and member Craig Stallings, Johnny Taylor’s daughter Lynne Taylor-Grande and members of the community for a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony at Johnny Taylor Field in Hartford’s newly refurbished Colt Park.

Colt Field #9 was renamed after Johnny Taylor, Hartford’s first professional African American athlete. A graduate of Bulkeley High School, Taylor was Hartford’s greatest baseball player and a pitcher in the Negro Leagues from 1935 to 1945. Taylor pitched eight career no-hitters and was a star in Cuba and Mexico, among his many lifetime achievements. Taylor, who died in 1987, was inducted into the Greater Hartford Twilight League Hall of Fame in 1982 and posthumously inducted into the Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.

After Gale unveiled a proclamation on behalf of the City of Hartford and speakers shared reflections, they gathered for the ribbon-cutting with Bulkeley Principal Digna Marte. To kick off the inaugural baseball game between Bulkeley High School and Rocky Hill High School, Johnny Taylor’s grandson Robert Grande threw the ceremonial first pitch.

Board of Education Chair Ayesha Clarke (left), Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez and former Board Chair and current Member Craig Stallings (right) flank the Hartford Public/Bulkeley HS baseball team

Many thanks the Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League, Friends of Colt Park, Board of Education Member Craig Stallings, Frank Delarippa, DPW, Phil Barlow, To Design, Pedro Mercado, HPS Acting Assistant Athletics Director Heidi Schmidt and Bulkeley’s Athletics Director Diane Callis, who all worked hard to make the dedication ceremony a reality.

See more photos from the event here.


In the News
First Black professional athlete from Hartford, baseball player Johnny ‘Schoolboy’ Taylor gets Colt Park named after him, Hartford Courant