Spring, Athletics, Top Story

Brighton Athletics Village to be Dedicated in John Harrington’s Name

About a month after Boston College baseball christened its new playing field in Brighton, the entire complex is being renamed. On Thursday afternoon, the school announced that it will dedicate the village—one that consists of three fields used for baseball, softball, and intramurals—to University trustee associate and former Boston Red Sox CEO John L. Harrington, BC ’57.

The ceremony will take place on Saturday at 2 p.m. and, in addition to Harrington, will feature University President William P. Leahy, S.J., Yawkey Foundations President James P. Healey, and BC Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond. Following remarks and on-field festivities, such as the obligatory “first pitch,” the softball team—winners of a program-record 12 straight—will close out its three-game weekend series against No. 13 Florida State. Meanwhile, across the way, Birdball will take on Wake Forest, searching for just its second ACC series victory this season.

What will now be known as the Harrington Athletics Village is situated between St. Clement’s Hall and Lake Street. The three fields serve as a replacement for the programs’ previous home of 56 years, Shea Field—a plot of land adjacent to Alumni Stadium that is being used for alternative construction projects, including football’s indoor practice facility. Aside from the fields, the Brighton complex also has a one-story support building with restrooms and concession space.

Harrington, who graduated from BC 65 years ago but has remained very active in the community since, was taken aback by the news.

“As I grow older and reflect on where I stand the many good opportunities I was afforded, I always end up reflecting on my days at Boston College, with my teachers, classmates, and old friends—along with family—who helped to hold me together in difficult times,” he told BC.edu. “I am truly grateful.”   

Once Harrington graduated from BC in 1957, he served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy for four years. But eventually, after spending some time as a white-collar worker, the Jamaica Plain, Mass. native wound up back in Chestnut Hill. Harrington first pursued his MBA and then studied to become a CPA, ultimately teaching as a full-time assistant professor of accounting for four years. That’s when he entered the realm of professional baseball. It only took him three years to land a job as the Red Sox’s team treasurer. The rest was history—in a matter of time, he worked his way up the food chain and was promoted to CEO and general partner, holding down the fort from 1986-2002.

Harrington—a BC trustee from 1998-2006—and his family have helped finance scholarship funds for both student-athletes and Pops on the Heights scholars for quite some time. Years ago, he was elected president of the Boston College Alumni Association and even received the William V. McKenney Award—the Alumni Association’s highest honor—back in 1989. The athletics village is just Harrington’s latest contribution to BC, particularly the athletic department.

Jarmond knows very well how much of an upgrade the complex is, especially in terms of the fan experience, something that the first-year AD has made a point of targeting ever since he arrived on campus this past June. While Shea Field had its perks, namely proximity and tradition, without lights, a substantial seating area, and limited parking, the baseball and softball programs found themselves lightyears behind the rest of their ACC counterparts. Now, the Eagles can host night games as well as ESPN-broadcasted contests, and, most importantly, play through adverse conditions on synthetic turf.   

“This facility is a game-changer for our teams,” Jarmond said. “The Harrington family’s support of Boston College, and especially our athletics program, is another example of the pride so many of our alumni, parents, and friends have for this University and our unwavering commitment to uphold our standards of competitive excellence and academic achievement.”

Featured Image by Keith Carroll / Heights Editor

April 12, 2018