The Haverhill City Council gave its approval to naming the major league baseball diamond at Swasey Field after the city’s own Mike Ryan, a catcher for the Red Sox during the “Impossible Dream” season.
Ryan, who passed away last year at the age of 78, was a member of the Red Sox from 1964-1967. He also played for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates. After a career on the field, he continued coaching for the Phillies until 1995.
Vin Ouellette, Haverhill’s director of human services said, despite his success, Ryan always maintained a great affection for his hometown, particularly for the time he spent honing his skills at Swasey Field.
“He came back to this area to live and he often talked about the joy and the fun and where he developed the skills up at Swasey Field,” he said.
In addition to naming the diamond the “Mike Ryan Memorial Baseball Field,” his family was authorized to install a granite bench overlooking the space. The bench will have Ryan’s likeness etched on it along with highlights from his career.
City Council Vice President Colin F. LePage said he considered it an honor to memorialize one of Haverhill’s star sportsmen at a field that has undergone numerous improvements over the past year.
“What we did to that field is fantastic and it’s a great centerpiece down there and it’s a great honor to be able to have a hometown hero put out there, and I think it’s great,” he said.
The Council voted unanimously to approve the project with Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua suggesting the city should invite some Red Sox players on the day the bench is installed.