Team Connecticut (TCB) started back in 1994 when one man, Bob Hetu, made a phone call to inquire about Travel Baseball. That January 1994 phone call set up a meeting that would change amateur and travel baseball in CT forever.
As luck would have it, Dan Kennedy, an Attleboro Ma. native was just finished with his professional playing career which saw stints in the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs minor league systems. In January of 1994 he was setting up meetings close to his home in Central Massachusetts and Northern Rhode Island. The meetings were to find the right place to open up an indoor baseball facility. Kennedy was asked why open an indoor baseball facility? He recalls his answer is still the same today as it was in 1994. “My hope was to stay in the game that I was so passionate about and give back to young players what I had learned and what I had been taught by so many terrific baseball people during my playing days.”
This is where the luck begins. Bob Hetu who was a business owner of one of the largest sporting goods stores in New England, Discount Sports in East Hartford, CT., began making phone calls in response to an ad he saw in the paper about travel baseball in New England. Bob’s passion was in sports his entire life. He was a captain of his Penney High School (East Hartford, CT) football team and an owner of a popular sporting goods store. However his real passion was in the game of baseball where his sporting goods store was a major sponsor to many of baseball teams in the town of East Hartford. He also coached on many of Little League and Babe Ruth State Championship teams.
The phone calls that Hetu would make would set up a meeting that would start two baseball businesses that are known not only throughout New England, but are nationally known in the baseball community, The Connecticut baseball Academy and Team Connecticut Baseball.
Hetu remembers, “I set up a meeting for February 7th (1994). The meeting obviously went terrific as Dan (Kennedy) moved from Massachusetts to Connecticut one week later on February 14th (1994) to begin our two new baseball ventures. Kennedy remembers, “It was a perfect fit for so many reasons, Discount Sports already had four batting cages that they used to rent and let the local leagues work out in. So making that part of the building The Connecticut Baseball Academy just made sense.” The Connecticut Baseball Academy is still in its original building, however has seen major growth. The original 7,000 square foot area with the four cages are still being used, but the facility now sees 8 more areas for hitting, pitching, and strength training in a total area of 35,000 square feet. Team Connecticut is the main tenant and every TCB player works out in the facility for free.
TCB saw immediate success in 1994. Starting the first TCB travel team (13u) and competing in the AAU National Championships is Wes DesMoines, IA. was extremely challenging. “Inviting players from all over the state for a tryout for a team that was in its first year was a hard sell,” says Hetu, “We went through many ups and downs that first year which has surely shaped our program today.” Eventually in that inaugural season, TCB won the prestigious 13u National Championship having to defeat a California team that rostered many sons of MLB players as well as players from the 1993 Little League World Series. “The greatest thing that came out of winning that first National Championship was confidence, we realized if we put in the work, we could compete with anyone.” Says Hetu.
Since 1994, TCB has grown from one 13u team to fourteen teams ranging from 9u thru 18u. “Although we have been extremely successful on the field, we feel our success is for one reason,” says Kennedy, “Our goal since 1994 has never been about winning , it has always been about player development . . .And not only on the field, but off the field. Quality young men are as important as quality baseball players.”