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Hurd family scores Hall of Fame history

Hurd team 400 21119An undated photo of the Hurds from Legendary Locals of Arlington.

What began as an Arlington family's pastime in 1930s has been recognized by the keeper of America's national pastime.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has noted the Hurd Family Nine as a unique part of baseball history, possibly the only U.S. family to field a long-running ball team at all nine positions.

"Very proud" is how former Selectman Jack Hurd responded after Chairman Dan Dunn read the proclamation at the Monday, Feb. 11, board meeting. The team drew "pretty big crowds back then," Hurd said.

A proclamation citing the achievement said the Cooperstown, N.Y. museum had accepted one of the three remaining “Hurd Family 9” jerseys into its archives, to be rotated on display at the Hall of Fame.

Linked to town since 1892

As recounted in Legendary Locals of Arlington (Arcadia, 2015), the family ball team is a notable link to the Hurds' long connection to town, since 1892:

That's when Alberta Hope and her husband moved to Arlington from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. A few years later, Alberta's widow mother arrived with Herbert Hurd (1871-1946).

selectboard logo

Herbert and his wife, Catherine, had 10 children -- eight boys and two girls. The Hurd children and friends played on a field at the Wiggins/Bowles estates. Acting on a petition from Herbert, the town bought the field and made it a public park, named Reservoir Field.

On this field Herbert and his eight sons played, forming their own semiprofessional baseball team.

Girls were involved

"They played for fun, to raise money for different charities, and from 1935 to 1941 they competed in the Suburban TWi-Light League," the book says. "Their games become a major pastime for town residents. All of Hurd's children and grandchildren were involved in sport, the girls as cheerleaders and the boys as team members or coaches or often both."

Five of the eight Hurd boys fought in World War II. Walter, the youngest, was killed in action. In 1968, Reservoir Field was renamed the Walter G. Hurd Field in his memory. Those who play softball or soccer of the grass across the bikeway from Trader Joe's may not know this history.

Frank Hurd Jr., a former selectman and Housing Authority executive director until 2007, made the Hall of Fame aware of this local legacy.

In comments to YourArlington, Select Board member John V. Hurd wrote Feb. 10 that both his father and he played baseball in town. Jack, a former board member, played Little League in the early 1960s. John played Arlington Youth Baseball, for Mirak in Little League and for the Astros in Babe Ruth, as well as for a number of summer teams.

Full proclamation

Here is the full proclamation:

WHEREAS: Herbert C. Hurd and Catherine M. Hurd were the proud parents of 10 children (8 sons and 2 daughters) all born in their family home in the Town of Arlington; and

WHEREAS: Herbert, together with his eight sons, Arthur, Frederick, Charles, Herbert Jr., Franklin, John, Carlton, and Walter comprised the “Hurd Family Nine”, a semi- professional baseball team from the Town of Arlington in the 1930s; and

WHEREAS: The “Hurd Family Nine” team has the distinction of being the only semiprofessional baseball team to be wholly comprised of a father and his 8 sons; and

WHEREAS: The team played its home games in Arlington, and away games as far away as Lewiston, Maine, proudly displaying “Arlington Mass” on their jerseys wherever they played; and

WHEREAS: The youngest member of the team was killed in action in World War II and in whose memory the “Walter G. Hurd Field” is dedicated; and

WHEREAS: After the team disbanded, several of the Hurd brothers coached, umpired, and volunteered for numerous youth programs in the community; and

WHEREAS: The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has recognized the Hurd Family Nine and its unique part of baseball history, and accepted one of the three remaining “Hurd Family 9” jerseys into its archives to be rotated on display at the Hall of Fame.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the Members of the Select Board of the Town of Arlington recognize the Hurd Family Nine baseball team and its unique part in Arlington town and baseball history. 

To read more the background submitted to the Hall of Fame, click here >> 

This news summary was published Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019.

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