Back in the summer of 1973, a group of Holy Cross College recent grads and assorted friends rented a house in Holden, Massachusetts, outside the city of Worcester, for three months.
The core group of that commune worked nights in the composing room of the Worcester Telegram, proofreading, learning to work the linotype machines, pushing hot-metal type and occasionally offering up headlines for the sports department..
With days free in the summer of Watergate and Watkins Glen, the group started a series of Monday morning softball games against the news veterans and composing room crew at the Telegram. They called themselves the Bats of Holden, a dual word play on softball and their nocturnal habits.
And after a slow start, the Bats rallied to take the summer series from the composing room veterans, five games to three
The following summer, the Bats had a reunion in Millbury, Mass. They played softball. Hence was born Bat Day.
Year after year the Bats gathered, first in Massachusetts and later in Dutchess County, New York, about 75 miles north of Yankee Stadium. Family members and friends and friends of friends were invited, enhancing the tradition. In addition to softball, sports like volleyball and golf and fris-bat (a unique combination of frisbee and baseball) were played.
During its peak years, Bat Day attracted dozens of campers and hundreds of people who competed for fame and awards, both on and off the playing fields.
Like all traditions, Bat Day has changed over the years. The original Bats have passed down the heritage to their children, and their children’s families and friends.
But the tradition continues, right up to the present day.
Yep, after all those years, 36 to be exact, Bat Day is alive and well.