May 2 – Middletown 366

1872

Middletown Mansfields Play Ball

Mansfields Score card
A Middletown Mansfield scorecard

On this day, the Middletown Mansfields, Connecticut’s first professional baseball team, won its home opener against the Brooklyn Atlantics, 8-2. The club, first organized in 1866 by Benjamin Douglas, Jr. of the Douglas Pump Company family, paid its $10 fee in 1872 to join the professional ranks of the National Association, the forerunner of the National League. It was named after General Joseph Mansfield who was killed at the Battle of Antietam and was the great uncle of Ben Douglas. One of the stars of the team was James “Orator Jim” O’Rourke, a Bridgeport native, who went on to fame with the Boston Red Stockings of the National Association and the New York Giants of the National League and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1945. Although the team folded in August of its inaugural season in the major league due to financial difficulties, it was revived by the Middlesex County Historical Society which sponsored the vintage team to the cheers of modern day fanatics.

In the picture Benjamin Douglas, Jr. is in the doorway, fifth from the right, next to his father with the long beard.

Douglas Pump employees

Story contributed by Deborah Shapiro.


1988

Students Demand Divestment

Police arrested around 110 students from Wesleyan University on May 2, 1988. This was the fifteenth day of protest again Wesleyan’s investment in 12 companies doing business with South Africa. This divestment would include over $10.6 million in stocks or four percent of Wesleyan’s endowment. More than 2,600 students were involved in the protests against investment in South Africa, where apartheid was still taking place.

Sit-ins had been conducted since April 18th, but May 2nd was the first day in which protesters disturbed the daily work of the administrative buildings and blockaded the entrance to South College. Dean Edgar Beckham presented protesters with a letter barring them from the building three hours before their arrest.

Once every person was processed at the police station, a policeman stated, “We’ve got three busloads of students.” Many of these students were part of a group called Divest Now.

Story contributed by Kimberly Singh.

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