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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

Rededication of Tom Mellody Field

By Jennifer Ersalesi

Photo credits: Dan Meredith


The 2024 Rutherford's baseball and softball season kicked off this past weekend in the Borough of Trees. The annual Little League and Softball parade began at 9 am on Saturday, April 6th. Players, coaches, assistant coaches, and families walked from Union Middle School to the Little League Field (Tom Mellody Field). Younger players joined the parade by Tryon Field. This is Rutherford spoke with the Vice-President of the Little League Board, Brian Redington about the recent field upgrades and the opening day ceremonies.





TIR: This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the naming of Tom Mellody Field where baseball players have played and coaches have coached since 1953. Can you tell us more about the history of the field?


Brian Redington: Tom Mellody, Rutherford resident, dad, and coach, founded Little League in Rutherford. He drove to Cooperstown to get the first charter to establish Rutherford Little League. He was the President of the League from 1951 until 1974 when he passed away.


For many years, the Little League teams played on town fields, but Mellody wanted a field specifically for Little League. The Little League Board obtained the property where the field was built in 1953 for a lease from the town for $1 per year. The Clubhouse was located at the end of Monona Ave. After the war deeds were sold for houses. The Clubhouse on Monona was moved beside the field. In 1974 after Tom's untimely passing, a large birch tree was planted behind the field and dedicated to him. A new tree was recently replanted in memory of Tom.


TIR: What made this year's Opening Day Ceremony this past Saturday memorable?


BR: Before the first pitch, we held a ceremony to rededicate the field to Tom Mellody and to unveil the new brick monument built by DiMeola masonry. We were fortunate to have five of Mellody's descendants, including his children and grandchildren, join us. A wreath was placed on the new monument as well.


Around the field, we set up enlarged baseball cards of seven of our former Little League players who made it to the Major Leagues. Bobby Jones and Vinny Mazzaro were two of those players who joined us to receive the first pitches. They also signed their displayed baseball cards.



TIR: One of the other exciting parts of Opening Day was unveiling the improvements and upgrades made to the field through capital campaigns. What are some of the changes that were made?


BR: DiMeola Masonry did all of the work down at the field. They completely renovated the clubhouse and brought it back to life. Last spring they rebuilt the bullpen area. They redid the infield and revitalized and refreshed the field. DiMeonla Masonry also created a paver patio area from the parking lot up to the first baseline, the Baseball Heritage Walk, paver stones can be purchased by residents (see information below). Behind the clubhouse, they built a new concrete area. They installed a new bullpen backstop and bullpen padding.


With contributions made by the Mellody family, we ordered new LED lights to replace the old lights that have been there for many years. Tom Mellody's grandson, Jimmy Davis, a retired Public Service lineman, will install the new lights by the end of the month.







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