The Wesleyan baseball diamond on Andrus Field was named in honor of Jim Dresser ’63, P’93 during a ceremony May 1. Six generations of Dresser’s family has coached, played, or watched games on “Dresser Diamond.”
Baseball began at Wesleyan – and on this ground – in 1865. Two years earlier, Dresser’s great-grandfather, James Cooke Van Benschoten, arrived at Wesleyan to teach classics, which he did for almost 40 years. He named the team “the Agallians.”
“He chose to name the team after a Greek god, Agalles, so obscure that Carla Antonaccio, a classics professor at Wesleyan for many years, told me she had to look him up,” Dresser says. “The Agallians became the Fighting Methodists and finally the Cardinals. Our naming skills have certainly improved over the decades!”
One of Professor “Van Benny’s” three daughters, Margaret Van Benschoten, graduated from Wes in 1904, lived with her parents, and worked in the college library. She married Henry Dresser, class of 1908, who started for the Cardinal nine as an outfielder. Their son, Jim Dresser, Sr. was in the class of 1937.
Jim Dresser’s sister, Marguerite ‘86 rowed and played volleyball at Wesleyan. His son, Clay Dresser ’93, played Ultimate Frisbee “and absorbed enough baseball to found a company that produces computer baseball games,” Dresser explains.
Dresser played in Old Timers’ games and attended one of Woody’s baseball camps on Andrus Field. At that camp, Dresser, his son Clay, and his brother, Scott Dresser, shared the Rookie of the Year Award, “which we richly deserved because we were incredibly good at being rookies,” Dresser recalls.
Dresser’s cousin, Steve Griggs; niece Elizabeth; nephew; and granddaughter Ellie (the sixth generation of the Dresser family to walk on the diamond) attended the ceremony.
“My hope is simple – that Wesleyan continues to thrive along with all of its sports teams,” Dresser says. “I hope that many more generations of our family will continue to enjoy what I may never get used to calling Dresser Diamond, one of the oldest collegiate fields in the country and surely the best venue to watch college ball.”