John Harrington, positioned at the podium underneath an overfilled white tent, paused midway through his speech as tears began to well in his eyes. The son of Irish immigrants was speaking of his arrival at Boston College, some 60-odd years ago, and how he didn’t hit the campus with a running start, “truly a lost soul.”
Now, as he looked back on his impressive career, with jobs ranging from NASA to the CEO of the Boston Red Sox, Harrington heaped gratitude on the school for putting him in position where he was.
“I’m immensely thankful for everybody here at Boston College,” he said. “I owe a great deal to this university and everybody here.”
So it was only fitting that BC Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond and University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., named the new softball and baseball complex after him—recognizing the longtime donor and supporter for his continued support of both Eagles athletics and academics.
The event itself, staged before both baseball and softball played games, was a rousing affirmation of Harrington’s character and contributions. Jarmond, Leahy, and Yawkey Foundations President James P. Healey all spoke in the 20-minute event, capped off by Harrington throwing the ceremonial first pitch before both softball and baseball’s respective matchups.
It started with Jarmond exciting the crowd, featuring diginitries such as Baltimore Orioles general manager Dan Duquette, with a “We are BC” chant. The AD then said thanks to many people before describing the honor it was to share this day with Harrington.
“From this day forth,” Jarmond proclaimed before a steady round of applause, “this complex will honor the legacy of the Harrington family at Boston College and will forever be known as the Harrington Athletics Village.”
Next, Leahy spoke of his abiding loyalty and generosity, even singling out a moment when the Harrington family hosted him at Spring Training. The praise for getting these fields to happen was nothing short of high.
“These fields and facilities simply wouldn’t of happened without them,” the president also said. “Not only will varsity softball and baseball benefit, but so will intramural programs and students for years to come.
The event, overall, generated a particular buzz on the Brighton Campus. Kids perched on fathers’ shoulders as they walked down the sidewalk toward the entrance, others raced around from station to station, getting face paint or jumping in bouncy houses. Once the games began, very few seats were empty—the overflow spread out on the grass behind the visiting dugout, others standing from afar, even walking back and forth to split time at both games.
It was a more than positive debut of the newly christened village, despite the losing outcomes for both teams. As a member of the ACC, it’s about time that Boston College upgraded to be more on par with the rest of the conference—and it’s easy to look at the pristine turf fields or well-tended dirt infield and see the progress made.
Featured Image by Bradley Smart / Heights Editor