Founded and incorporated in 1957, the Foxon Recreation League, Incorporated, was the brain child of Joe Esposito, who lived in the High Ridge section of Foxon in East Haven. It was started as a place for boys to go in the summer to play America’s pastime, Baseball.
The league was given permission to use a section of the state of Connecticut’s sand pit; this area provided sand for roads and road work and was nearing the end of its usable life. Area kids knew the “Pit” well and often played on its dangerous sand cliffs and paths. They also used it for many pickup baseball and football games, and it was the perfect setting for Foxon Rec.s first field.
Joe gathered a group of his friends, mostly World War II veterans, and they began the long task of making this dusty hole in the ground a place to play. They showed up nightly and on weekends with rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows and most importantly their kids and transformed one corner of the “Pit” into a place to play.
With only a backstop and some wooden benches they had their first games in May of 1958. The players had only T-shirts and hats and used leather wraps as batting helmets. There were six teams divided by neighborhood and only the Glenmore team had a sponsor (High Ridge Pharmacy).
In 1964, the field was rededicated as “John F. Kennedy Memorial Field” in honor of our then recently assassinated United States President. But even renaming it couldn’t prevent the kids from referring to it as the “Pit”.
As the league expanded over the years, it became one of the first in the state to have softball for girls. It grew to over 600 kids (in Tee ball, four boy divisions and three girl divisions) and provided recreation from April to August for all. Where once they had to sell refreshments from the back of a station wagon, now there is a modern, two story, 1,600 square foot refreshment stand and meeting room.
The early children where accustomed to playing on the sand dunes and cliffs, now the league sports a modern playground, a batting cage, a lit basketball court and dugouts. From one field of dirt the league has expanded to two little league size baseball fields, one softball field, one tee ball field and one full sized field. And, one of the fields is lighted for night games.
For over 50 years the “Pit” and the Foxon Recreation League have served the people of the East Haven community and it continues to be the place to go on those special summer days.