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Rec officials hope to solve mystery of Fairfield's 'Last Baseball'

Photo by Genevieve Reilly

The Parks & Recreation Department is looking for the owner of this baseball, found at Veterans Park in August.

On April 14, 1955, Elston Howard became the first African-American to don a New York Yankees uniform.

The Dodgers were still in Brooklyn and the Giants could be found at New York's Polo Grounds. Ted "Teddy Baseball" Williams, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were all swinging bats.

That same month, a father gave his son a baseball for his birthday. Written in ink on the now-worn orb are the words "Birthday Present April 21, 1955, From DAD." In quotations marks is the mysterious inscription "The Last Baseball."

Maybe the ball was launched out of a ballpark during batting practice, or hit foul into the stands. Dad caught it in his mitt on their last father-son trip to a major league ball park. A home run that won a game in the ninth inning. Or maybe it was just the last baseball Dad was going to buy his son because he'd broken yet another window.

The owner of the baseball, and the story behind it, are unknown at this point, leaving baseball fans to weave a magical tale for themselves.

The ball was found in August by a local resident at the Veterans Park ballfield and dropped off at the town's Recreation Center last week.

The woman who found the ball didn't leave her name with recreation officials, or mention why she waited three months to do something with it.

The baseball may only hold sentimental value for the son who received it on his birthday, but the backstory has intrigued the staffers at the Rec Center who would love to know who owns it, what it means and how it got to the Veterans Park field.

Some have wondered whether a youngster grabbed a treasured family memento just to play a game with friends in the park. Did Superstorm Sandy's surge dislodge the baseball from its home, where extensive destruction was inflicted along the town shoreline by the storm, and deposit it a few blocks north in the park?

They'd like to find the rightful owner. Anyone with information about "The Last Baseball" can call Joan Ryan at the Parks and Recreation Department at 203-256-3191.

Genevieve Reilly