At their April 26 meeting, the Wakefield Town Council approved a new sharing of names for the high school softball field. The new name will be be "Blatz Park, Meghan Burnett Field". The whole complex will be "Blatz Park" as it has been, and the Softball field will be "Meghan Burnett Field".
Marty Blatz was a well respected, well-loved member of the Wakefield Community who owned and operated the filling station on the corner of Albion and Jordan and under whose efforts Little League Baseball was first established in Wakefield. He could probably be considered the father of organized youth sports in Wakefield. It was in appreciation of his efforts establishing Little League and his commitment to the youth in town that “Blatz Field” was originally dedicated to him.
When we grew up, Blatz field was on Farm St. between the Jr High and the Woodville and it was one of the best Little League fields in town. Then there was the fire that destroyed the Atwell building and put the High School on double sessions until the “New” High School was completed and the students were moved in.
What many hadn't noticed at the time was that Blatz Field had been removed and a parking lot had taken its place. Marty’s family noticed however, and what had been a source of pride for them had now become a source of disappointment. A softball field appeared on the existing field down behind the Woodville school and years later, when I had kids who played softball, I found out that this was called “Blatz Field”. I never saw the softball Blatz field until after the New Woodville was built and my kids were playing there. What had been an excellent baseball field had been removed and its name applied to a tired-looking softball field.
Fast forward to 2018: Meghan Burnett graduated from WMHS in June and was on track to attend St Michaels college in the fall where she would major in education and be playing DII college softball for the Purple Knights. Unfortunately, less than 2 weeks after graduating, the healthy 18 year-old died from complications during surgery to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS).
Meghan played softball growing up in Wakefield and always questioned why Blatz was ignored when it could be made into a “real field”. For years it was a well-known rumor that the town would never spend any money on that field because they “needed the space to build a new high school”. When she died, several friends of the family stepped up and started the process of getting the field redesigned and re-built like Meghan had talked about, doing it ‘“for Meghan”. As they went, they started talking about naming the field for her too. That would make it the only Women's Fastpitch Softball field in the Middlesex League that was named for a woman (and a player).
While many of us liked the idea of naming the new field for her, we wanted to find out if there were any Blatz relatives in town that we could talk with, that’s what led me to Billy and Dave Teixeira, grandsons of Marty Blatz. Fortunately, they liked the idea of sharing the name of the field and after some discussion we came up with “Blatz Park, Meghan Burnett Field”. That way the field recognizes the memory of both a coach and a player. The Meghan Burnett Foundation would provide permanent memorial plaques for both Marty and Meghan, recognizing who they were and their contributions so they don’t just become obscure names from Wakefield’s past. We believe that through their actions they have proven to be cut from the same cloth, two of a kind from different generations. Both of them seeing a larger picture than the rest of us and making the well-being of others a priority. Just this exercise alone has demonstrated that Marty’s spirit is still alive and well 60+ years later, and bearing fruit from the seeds he planted so long ago.