The Northeastern baseball program has a premier facility for its practices and home games: Friedman Diamond, located on the same plot as Parsons Field in Brookline, Massachusetts. As a result of comprehensive renovations completed in 1992, as well as the addition of the John “Tinker” Connelly home-plate seating pavilion and press box in 2015, the field ranks as one of New England’s finest home venues.
Gone are the wooden outfield grandstands that had served Northeastern fans since the football program’s inception in 1932. Gone is the open press box that for 60 years had tested the fortitude of the hardiest of New England’s sportswriters. Today, aluminum grandstands capable of accommodating more than 2,000 fans line the right-field wall, while the brand new Connelly Pavilion seats more than 400 comfortably behind the plate.
The John “Tinker” Connelly Pavilion was dedicated on May 16, 2015, prior to the Huskies’ Senior Day game against No. 15 College of Charleston. Northeastern seniors Nick Berger, Isaac Lippert, and Matt Cook helped unveil the new stadium signage during a pregame ceremony that was attended by NU athletic director Peter Roby, head coach Mike Glavine, the Huskies, and members of the Connelly family. The Connelly Pavilion was a tremendous upgrade from the field-level bleachers of old, offering fans and media a never-before-seen perspective of Friedman Diamond. Equipped with a three-booth press box, the Connelly Pavilion provided media outlets with a more traditional home-plate field view, compared to that from deep right-center field.
Prior renovations to Parsons Field and Friedman Diamond have included a new artificial turf playing surface. Renovations were also made in the Zabilski Field House with the addition of shower and locker amenities for the field hockey team, which formerly played its home games on the seven-acre property as well. A bright red scoreboard can be found in left-center field, a feature that was introduced alongside new team dugouts.
The venerable athletic facility dates back to the turn of the century, when as a public playground it played host to a young Boston Red Sox pitcher and Kent Street resident by the name of Babe Ruth, who would drop by to play a game of catch with the locals. Later, the field became the property of Huntington Prep School and in the 1920s hosted the NU baseball, soccer, and track teams. In 1930, NU purchased the property and in 1969, dedicated it in the name of former athlete, coach, and athletics director, Edward S. Parsons.
The Huskies have played their games in the same lot since 1925. The earliest NU teams used the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds, which had been abandoned by the Red Sox in 1912. Northeastern baseball moved to its current home on Kent Street upon the university purchasing the property from the YMCA in 1930. Today’s baseball diamond is very different from its original layout. The diamond that the Huskies had acquired was located in what would be the east end zone of today’s Parsons Field. Houses lined the outfield, such as the Lawlor house in center field, as well as the Richards house in left field. Both buildings were reachable by a well-hit fly ball.
In 1972, NU added turf to Parsons Field, and the baseball diamond had to be moved to its present location in the southern corner of the field. The new multi-surface field’s dimensions were set at 330 feet down the left- and right-field lines and 400 feet in center.
Through the years, the field has also hosted football, field hockey, soccer, women’s lacrosse, and track events. The field is still used today by teams from Brookline High School and by various Brookline summer leagues.
The park has gone by various names during its history. During the YMCA’s ownership, the facility was referred to as the Huntington Field (for the YMCA’s Huntington Prep School, not Huntington Avenue). During its first 30 years under Northeastern ownership, it was known as the Kent Street Field, and later as the Northeastern University Field. Since 1969, the grounds have honored Edward Parsons. The baseball field became known as Friedman Diamond in 1988.