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Pride of Penacook inducted into NHIAA Hall of Fame

Pride of Penacook inducted into NHIAA Hall of Fame
Robert Abial “Red” Rolfe was a five-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees. (Courtesy: Society for American Baseball Research)

CONCORD, N.H. (BVM) — “The Pride of Penacook,” finally gets his call into the NHIAA Hall of Fame. Robert Abial “Red” Rolfe was known for his time in Major League Baseball before going on to work in a variety of different sports after his retirement in 1942.

Starting in 1931, Rolfe began his career with the New York Yankees, before getting sent down to the minor leagues for the next two years. He ended up finishing his 10-year career as a five-time World Series Champion and a four-time All-Star.

After getting colitis during spring training in 1942, Rolfe’s run as a major leaguer ended.

Rolfe’s prep career on the diamond began in seventh grade for the Penacook High School baseball team. At the time, Rolfe was modest in his remarks about playing up on the high school team, believing that he made it based on the lack of players. Today, Penacook is a small town of roughly 1,200 people.

Following his graduation at Penacook, Rolfe went to Dartmouth College. At Dartmouth, Rolfe’s coach had a connection to the Yankees organization and helped facilitate between the two sides. Rolfe passed on signing with other teams because of his desire to play with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

Rolfe continued with his passion for sports after retirement carrying various jobs in the industry. He began his coaching career at Yale where he coached the baseball and basketball teams. After four seasons, Rolfe went on to coach for the Toronto Huskies of the Basketball Association of America. Leaving after a short stint with the team, Rolfe returned to the baseball diamond where he was part of the Yankees coaching staff before taking over as the manager of the Detroit Tigers in 1949.

Rolfe later on decided to return to his alma mater, Dartmouth, where he became the athletic director for the program from 1954-67. He passed away in 1969 after his kidneys failed, at 60. Rolfe was joined in the NHIAA Hall of Fame Class of 2019 with six other inductees.