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Haverty, John (1988)

Haverty, John (88)

He was born of Irish parents Woburn, Massachusetts sixty-four years ago, and like most children of that time was poor and grew up during the Great Depression with his 6 brothers and one sister and father and mother.

John learned his baseball on Valley Road where all the kids moved Mr. Mawns cows around and used dried cow flaps for bases; and also Libray Field. He played ball all day every day during the summer and was always

late in delivery of his evening newspapers. Haverty graduated from Woburn High School in 1940, the youngest in his class of over 200 boys and girls.

During World War II John enlisted in the Army Signal Corps. After months of specialized training he landed in England before D-Day and saw service in the U.S. First Army under General Hodges; in the U.S. 3rd Army under General Patton; in the U.S. 9th Army under General Simpson and was also detached service to the British Eight Army under General Montgomery.

Haverty was very lucky and returned home in the spring of 1946 and had many jobs until he started selling Buick automobiles in Greater Boston. He came to Portland in 1956 and bought Portland Buick and called it Haverty Buick. John still resided in his first home, 1851 Washington Ave. Portland, Maine.

Because of his interest in baseball he negotiated the purchase of land, behind his home; from a neighbor in 1961 where he built his own baseball field with the help of his father, Patrick Henry Haverty, his brothers and anyone else who would work. This he did in his spare time, nights, and Sundays and Holidays. Haverty also joined the Portland Twi-League with his team, the Haverty Buick Wildcats and Merv Kilgore was his first player-manager. At age 42 John often played first base and hit the ball well. Sixty percent of his team members were from Bowdoin College with Peter Hess among them. Today Hess is a college professor in Pennsylvania, but in those days he took great pride in his care of the ballfield which became known as Haverty Park.

In 1965 Cheverus High School started using Haverty Park as its home field and continues to this day. Haverty Park is located extremely well as it sits in a natural amphitheater with a gentle sloping for spectator watching. Its dimensions are of major league caliber with 326 feet down both foul lines, 368 feet in the power alleys and 401 feet to center field. The distance is actually a little longer but Haverty didn’t want young fellows to get discouraged. Haverty Park has its own access road and there is ample parking. It is considered the best field around the Greater Portland area with its hitter ‘“green background.’’ Pitchers like it also with its fine dimensions and large foul areas.

Before the Maine Guides team decided to go to Old Orchard Beach they wanted to play at Haverty Park but Haverty allowed the Portland Park and Recreation Dept. to use his facilities, during an illness, but they in turn did damage to the playing surface and took down the dugouts and never replaced them.

If that wasn’t enough, the city tried to take his land for more highway, but Haverty opposed them and after 18 months of battle John Haverty won — as he has done all his life. The reason John Haverty built the field in the first place was ‘‘if he ever made it in life he would build a real baseball field.’’

Like all good Irishmen, John is on Gods side.

Haverty is now retired but baseball will always be his #1 sport. John will always be #1 in the eyes of all Maine sportsmen.

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