Worcester, MA (April 25, 2012) - Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray, Mayor Joseph M. Petty, City Manager Michael V. O'Brien, Worcester State President Barry Maloney and other officials formally dedicated the Kevin D. Lyons Baseball Diamond at Rockwood Field on Saturday, April 21, in honor of the late Kevin D. Lyons, '65, '71. Mr. Lyons was the first baseball player inducted into the Worcester State University Hall of Fame in 1986. The dedication was held prior to the Worcester State University Lancers double header against Bridgewater State.
In addition, there was an unveiling of the Reliant Walking Trail (located near the baseball diamond). Reliant Health Care Foundation financially supported the creation of the walking trail at Rockwood Field.
"This is a momentous day in so many ways," said Worcester State University President Barry M. Maloney. "Not only does it mark a long awaited day for our university ball players, it demonstrates that great things can happen when a great city and a great university partner on a project like this. It is especially gratifying to be honoring Kevin D. Lyons as part of this event and I am deeply grateful to his family for being part of history at both WSU and the city of Worcester."
Mr. Lyons excelled at baseball while a student at Worcester State University. He was the starting centerfielder every year and an exceptional hitter on a baseball team that won 27 consecutive games. He posted a .403 career lifetime batting average, including back-to-back years of .475, and only struck out six times in four years. In 1964 and 1965, he helped his teams win the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship. He was captain of the 1965 championship team. Mr. Lyons was a lifelong supporter of local youth and interscholastic athletic teams.
Mr. Lyons graduated in 1965 and began his career as an educator in the Northborough Public Schools, teaching for more than 10 years. He also became Quinsigamond Community College baseball team's first coach and served in Massachusetts Army National Guard. He returned to Worcester State to earn a master's degree in education in 1971. In 1990, he became the owner of The Press Box, a tavern on Lincoln Street in Worcester.
"We are grateful to Worcester State University and the city of Worcester for honoring our Dad, Kevin D. Lyons," said Sean Lyons. "The Worcester State baseball team was a tremendous part of our Dad's educational experience. He continued his support of the program throughout his life and would be thrilled that the baseball team finally has its own home field. We wish the Worcester State baseball team the best of luck in continuing their winning tradition on their new field."
In 2008, Worcester State University and the City of Worcester aligned themselves in a strategic partnership benefitting the community to do major renovations to the long under-utilized baseball diamond. Specifically, improvements were made to remedy problematic drainage issues and to build a press box, dugouts, a bullpen, spectator stands and to provide adequate field maintenance. In 2012, the Kevin D. Lyons Baseball Diamond held its first university games and serves as the first-ever home field for the Worcester State University baseball team.
"Rockwood Field is an incredible public park and recreation area. It is home to dozens of sports programs, from little leagues to collegiate athletic programs. Since the adoption of the master plan, the City and its partners have made significant investments to improve the park's playing fields, and the aesthetics and environmental conditions, creating new recreational opportunities for our City's youth," said City Manager Michael V. O'Brien. "These improvements strike the right balance between protecting and enhancing neighboring properties and offering improved facilities to those who use the field. I wish to thank Worcester State University, as well as Jesse Burkett Little League, for their support and stewardship of this facility, and for honoring this field in name of a true community leader, Kevin Lyons."
Mr. Lyons was well-known for his generosity and helping those in need. He was a longtime supporter of local youth and interscholastic athletic teams. He was a member of the Emerald Club, the Worcester Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Leprechaun Society of Clinton, MA, the Brown Square Civic Club, Galaxy of Stars Committee and the PAV Club of Clinton. He was an associate member of Worcester's Marine Corps League. He was also a founding member of the Grafton Hillers, Inc., which established a WSU scholarship in his memory.
"When the City began a park and recreation Master Plan for Rockwood Field a critical component was collaboration with Worcester State University (WSU). WSU plays a critical role in the neighborhood. Partnering and collaborating with WSU to make the best use of the park and specifically the baseball field was a perfect fit. This partnership is fitting with the goals of the Master Plan to improve the facilities for the entire Worcester community and WSU," said Mayor Joseph M. Petty. "I am pleased that we are able to dedicate and open this field to the WSU Lancers as their home. It is fitting that the field is named in honor of Kevin D. Lyons. Kevin was not only the first baseball player introduced into the WSU Hall of Fame, but deeply involved in our community through various organizations."