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February 22, 2013

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Clifford Otto

Bill Thompson caught for Concord, NH, in the short-lived New Hampshire State League (Class D) in 1907. Teams in the league included Franklin, Laconia, Concord, East and West Manchester, Nashua (all in NH), Burlington and Barre-Montpelier (VT).

Bad weather led to poor attendance and I think that in turn made travel costs a problem. Once one NH team folded, several others rapidly followed. Vermont tried to take over the operation with some of the NH franchises moving there but that also soon collapsed.

Thompson spent a lot of his life in Concord, although he apparently traveled to New England towns to play ball. He died in Boston but is buried in Concord, NH. I've spent quite a bit of time trying to determine how he ended up in NH and my first guess was that he came up there with the Cuban Giants and just stayed (I have a local NH newspaper article mentioning that he played with the Cuban Giants) but I think his mother may have already been in NH. There was a report of some racial complaints in Vermont when Concord played there but it didn't seem to be a big problem from the point-of-view of NH reporters. I've looked at newspapers and talked with historical societies from all the NH towns involved and there just is no much information available.

Barbara Sweet Bell

Ray Carbone,
My dad played Sunset League at White Park and as a family we would be at the park to watch the games during the 50s. As a young girl, probably 4-7, I vividly remember Bill Thompson. We would sit with him in the bleachers; he always called me "Nellie," as he did my sister also. Thank you for your article in Around Concord Magazine.

Gary Ashwill

You can download that issue of The National Pastime here:

https://research.sabr.org/journals/pdfs-np/583-the-national-pastime--16

Ray Carbone

I am a freelance writer working on a story for a regional magazine named "Around Concord" (NH),and I need your help.
I'm doing a story about the city's Sunset League, which is the oldest continuously operating in America. One of the characters I discovered in my research was a player named Bill Thompson. Locals say that Thompson was a black man who could have played in MLB if not for his skin color.
You'll see above a mention at the beginning of the second paragraph - "Seamus Kearney wrote a great article about him in The National Pastime back in 1996 (p. 67)."
I would like to find this article, or connect wtih Mr. Kearney.
Can anyone help me?
Thank you very much for your consideration.

Ray Carbone
Content by Carbone / Carbone Productions, LLC
26 North Road, #21
Warner, New Hampshire 03278
P: 603.520.6964

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