The Exeter Junior Baseball League traces it's roots back to April 1952, when the league was first organized at a meeting held at the home of Francis "Red" Walsh on Main Street. Walsh was chosen president; Carl Brewitt, vice-president; Ralph Turner, secretary; and David Merrill, treasurer.
The league consisted of 4 teams: Braves, Dodgers, Red Sox & Yankees. Walsh and Dick Eustis coached the Yankees; George Knox and Dick Brewitt coached the Red Sox; Reginald "Scratch" Toland and William "Scotty" Lees, the Dodgers; and Ed Becker and John Lusona, the Braves. Today you can still find some of those 12-year-old boys, albeit a little older now, around town!
The league expanded by adding the Tigers in 1956 and the Pirates in 1961.
Games were first played behind Tuck High School, which back then was the high school for boys in Exeter. Later, games were played at the Emerson School field, which was located near High Street and Portsmouth Avenue. In 1956, voters appropriated $2,500 to prepare a baseball field on what was then Robinson Female Seminary. The seminary was in use as a girls school until 1954, when students began attending Exeter High School. The field was ready for play in 1957. The seminary later burned down in 1961.
The league changed its name in 1962 to the Exeter Junior Baseball League when officials decided that the national Little League rules were not suitable for Exeter.
Currier Field was named at the opening of the 1963 season to honor Paul C. Currier, a former coach and one of the 17 civilians aboard the submarine Thresher, which disappeared off the Atlantic coast on April 10, 1963. Walsh Field, the adjoining field where games are played today, was created after Francis "Red" Walsh, one of the original founders of the league, died. The Walsh family was instrumental in getting the field built.
In the 1990's, the league added a 7th team, the Marlins.
In 1999, the league came under the Babe Ruth umbrella and was renamed the Exeter Junior Bambino Baseball League.
In 2001, the league split into two separate age groups, the Major and Minor Leagues, to allow younger players to play a more active role. The Majors would include 11 & 12 year olds while the Minors would include 9 & 10 year olds. The Red Sox (merged with the Tigers) and the Dodgers (merged with the Athletics) moved to the Minors. In addition, the league expanded by including teams from Kensington and Newfields in the league. 4 new teams joined the league: the Minors added the Cardinals (Exeter) & Rockies (Newfields) while the Blue Jays (Newfields) & Cubs (Kensington) joined the Majors.
In 2004, the Diamondbacks (Exeter) and Orioles (Newfields) were added to the Minor league.
In 2005, the league expanded again by 3 teams for a total of 15 and opened up to players from Brentwood & East Kingston. The league no longer fielded town-centric teams; players from all towns could be on any team. The Athletics & Tigers re-joined the Major league, while the Astros joined the Minors. Approximately 180 children played in the league.
In 2006, the league expands again adding 7 more teams. The Mariners and Giants are added to the Major league, while the Devil Rays, Nationals, Twins, Indians & Rangers are added to the Minor league. The Yankees are renamed the Angels. The league expands to the 7-8 year-old level with a new Rookie League consisting of 8 teams. EJBL grows to include 340 children!
In 2007, the league is split into 4 levels - Majors, AAA, AA & A. The Royals & Mets are added. The Twins are renamed the Reds.
In 2008 Night baseball comes to EJBL. Thanks to a generous benefactor, beautiful Sawyer Park opens in Kensington, NH. There is a lighted youth baseball field and two lit softball fields that can be converted for baseball play. Night games are played on Friday and Saturday evenings. EJBL hosted the Cal 10 year old New Hampshire Eastern District tournament in Kensington.
In 2009 the White Sox are added to AAA. The Royals move to AA and the Dodgers move from AA to AAA.
During the spring and fall of ’09, Dugout roofs and floors are added to both Currier and Walsh fields, also fenced in on deck areas were added to both fields. This was made possible by the fund raising efforts of EJBL players, parents and the donation of monies and labor from Timberland Corporation and their employees.
In 2010 the Twins come back to EJBL after a four year absence as the ninth Single-A team. 27 of the 30 MLB teams are now represented.
The overwhelming popularity of the rookie league caused expansion again and the program increased to 10 teams. In 2010 the 10 teams were the: Aberdeen Iron Birds, Batavia Muck Dogs, Carolina Mudcats, Connecticut Defenders, Durham Bulls, Greensboro Grasshoppers, Lakewood Blue Claws, Louisville Bats, Portland Sea Dogs and the Savannah Sand Gnats.
In 2010, the league expands to include the 13 year-old prep league. EJBL will send 3-4 teams of 13 year-olds to play other towns in the Great Bay Babe Ruth.
In 2011, the league expanded yet again because of the large number of 9 and 10 year old players, adding the Padres to the AA-League and the Brewers to the A-League. There are now 17 teams in the AA and A leagues and 29 of the 30 MLB teams are now represented in EJBL!
Portions of this text were taken from the May 3, 2002 edition of the Exeter News Letter
EJBL Cal Ripken Post-Season Championships
- 2001 12 year-old District 5 Champions
- 2004 12 year-old District 5 Champions
- 2006 9 year-old East Area Champions
- 2007 9 year-old East Area Champions
- 2008 12 year-old 60' District 5 Champions
- 2008 10 year-old District 5 Champions
- 2009 12 year-old 70' STATE CHAMPIONS
- 2009 9 year-old STATE CHAMPIONS
- 2010 10 year-old STATE CHAMPIONS
- 2011 9 year-old STATE CHAMPIONS
- 2011 11 year-old 60' STATE CHAMPIONS
- 2011 11 year-old 70' East Area Champions
- 2011 11 year-old 70' NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL CHAMPIONS
- 2012 9 year-old East Area Champions
- 2012 10 year-old District 5 Champions
- 2012 10 year-old STATE CHAMPIONS
- 2012 11 year-old 70' East Area Champions
- 2012 11 year-old 70' STATE CHAMPIONS
- 2012 12 year-old 60' District 5 Champions
- 2012 12 year-old 70' District 5 Champions
- 2012 12 year-old 70' STATE CHAMPIONS
- 2013 11 year-old 70' East Area Champions
- 2013 11 year-old 70' STATE CHAMPIONS
- 2013 12 year-old 60' District 5 Champions
- 2013 12 year-old 70' STATE CHAMPIONS
- 2014 10 year-old District 5 Champions
- 2014 11 year-old 70' East Area Champions
- 2014 12 year-old 60' District 5 Champions
- 2014 12 year-old 70' East Area Champions
- 2014 12 year-old 70' STATE CHAMPIONS
- 2015 10 year-old District 5 Champions
- 2015 12 year-old 60' District 5 Champions
- 2015 12 year-old 70' NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL CHAMPIONS
- 12-60' District 5 Champions
History of Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Baseball
- 1951 - Babe Ruth Baseball was founded in Hamilton Township, New Jersey to provide baseball for 13-15 year-olds.
- 1966 - Babe Ruth Baseball forms a 16-18 year old division.
- 1974 - Babe Ruth Baseball forms 13 year-old prep division.
- 1982 - Babe Ruth Baseball forms the Bambino division for ages 5-12.
- 1984 - Babe Ruth Softball begins for girls ages 5-18.
- 1989 - Carl Yastrzemski is elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame - the first Babe Ruth graduate to be honored.
- 2000 - The Bambino division (ages 5-12) is renamed Cal Ripken Baseball