Brooklyn Royal Giants beat Scranton Miners 1908

Major Leagues in Scranton, Scranton Athletes, Scranton Baseball

The Brooklyn Royal Giants came to Scranton to play the Miners on April 28, 2020. The Royal Giants were one of the best baseball teams in the country in 1908. The Giants came together in 1905 and were organized by John Connors owner of the Brooklyn Royal Cafe. Connors was also the business manager and vice president of the Royal Giants. The 1908 Royal Giants were led by Grant “Homerun” Johnson ( who belongs in the Hall of Fame) played SS and also managed the club. Johnson hit .312 . He was a pioneer of the Negro baseball leagues having formed the Paige Fence Giants with Bud Fowler. Other top hitters was 3B Bill Monroe who hit .337. Monroe was described as a natural comedian who speedily made friends. ” He is a fast fielder and a heavy batsman.”

Scranton was a very good team in 1908, the Miners were managed by Malachi Kittridge. The Miners were the top team in the New York State League in 1908. They were also the Champions of the NY State in 1906 and 1907. Archbald “Moonlight” Graham was a top hitter for the Miners during their championship run. He did not play against the Royal Giants. Hippo Vaughn was aslo on the roster of the 1908 Scranton Miners. He would go on to be a great pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. He had already played for the New York Highlanders in 1908 before he played for Scranton.

Scranton’s starting pitcher, Arthur Welch, lost his speed and was hit hard. The Royal Giants scored 4 runs in the first 2 innings. He was replaced after 2 innings by Bills. (Welch would be cut by the Miners before ever registerd any “official” stats.) The Miners scored a run in the third and 3 in the 6th to tie the score but the Royal Giants scored one more time in the 6th to go ahead and stay ahead for the 5 to 4 victory.

The Royal Gianta were the top team in the National Association in 1908. The Giants compiled a 21-12-1 record/ ( They played their home games at Meyerrose Park in Queens, NY.

Homerun Johnson

American Basketball Association Comes to the Scranton CYC, 1970 Miami Floridians 124 Pittsburgh Condors 118

Scranton Athletes, Scranton Basketball, Scranton Sports

The American Basketball Association was founded in 1967 and played in various citiies until it folded after the 1975-1976 season. Many stars and future Hall of famers got their start in the ABA including, Julius ” Dr. J” Erving and Moses Malone. The League was know for its Red, white and Blue basketball, three-point shot, fast play and high scores. It was also known for failed franchises and constant change.

In 1970, the Miami Floridians came to the Scranton CYC to play an exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Condors on October 5th. Ticket prices were $2 for adults and $1 for students. Attendance was reported as sparse though no attendance figure is given in either the Scranton TImes or Scranton Tribune.

Larry Jones, former EBA player for the Wilkes Barre Barons had 25 points while Mack Calvin had 34 points.Mack Calvin left college after his sophmore year to play in the ABA. The Floridians beat the Condors 124-118.

The Condors and Floridians had played at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre the night before on October 4th. The result was different. The Condors beat the Floridians. Larry Jones hit for 23 points in a losing effort for the Floridians.

Scranton Baseball History, Jean Marlowe Hall of Fame

Scranton Athletes, Scranton Baseball, Scranton history, Scranton Sports

A League of Their Own…in Scranton, Pa. 1950

Jean Marlowe was a pitcher in the All-American Girl’s Professional baseball league. She was also a resident of South Scranton and a Scranton Central graduate. She played 6 seasons in the All-American Girl’s Professional Baseball League. The daughter of Josephine and Stanley Malnoski, Jean became Jean Marlowe for her baseball career because of a spelling error.

In the summer of 1950, Jean came to her hometown of Scranton to play in a pair of exhibition games. The Chicago Colleens were to play the Springfield Sallies. The Colleens and Sallies were traveling around the country to play exhibitions.

The first game was played on July rightfield 16th. Jean played Rightfield for the Sallies. She didn’t have any hits but made 2 outstanding plays in The field. She also had 3 walks. The Sallies won the game 9 to 4.

Jean Marlowe of Scranton, Pa.

The Sallies also played the Colleens on July 17th. Jean pitched in this game for the Colleen’s. The Colleens lost the game 6 to 3. Marlowe was presented with a bat from a former colleague at the Scranton Globe store before the game.

Jean played 6 seasons mainly as a pitcher. Jean played in 1948 with Springfield Sallies. She was mainly a pitcher and also played in the outfield and sometimes as a 2b. Jean was taught to play by her father, Stanley and Uncle, who had both played baseball professionally. in 1949 though 1951, Jean played for the Kenosha Comets. In 1952 and 1954, Jean played for the Kalamazoo Lassies. The Lassies won the League Championship in 1954.

Jean Marlowe was recognized for her achievements in baseball. She was elected to Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. Jean is part of the permananent display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown recognizing the achievements of the women’s baseball league. This display became permanent in 1988. Jean died in Olyphant, Pa in 2007.

Pete Fries, pitcher, American Association

Scranton Baseball, Scranton Footnotes

Pete M. Fries was born in Scranton, Pa on October 30, 1857. He was the first person born in Scranton to play in a major baseball league, the American Association. He threw and batted left-handed. He is listed as a pitcher but also played outfield. The American Association was a ground breaking league and was truly responsible for helping make baseball America’s pasttime.

Pete’s baseball career started in the Northwest League for Bay City, Michigan in 1883. He was a pitcher. There are no individual rseason stats for the Bay City team. The team won 35 games and lost 49 games. They played their home games at Woodside Park. On June 18th, Pete lost a game to Fort Wayne 8 to 0.

By August of 1883, Pete Fries was a member of the Columbus Buckeyes. The Buckeyes were managed by Horace Philips and played their home games at Recreation Park. The Buckeyes finished in 6th place in the American Association. In his debut, Pete’s pitching was described as “wretched” and the game was lost in the 2nd inning according to the game account. Pete gave up 5 runs in the inning and 8 total to St. Louis Browns. He did have a hit.

In his second game, Fries threw 3 wild pitches and gave up 9 runs as the Philadelphia Athletics beat Columbus 9 to 4. His last game as a pitcher was an 11 to 4 loss to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys. Pete did have 2 hits. On a positive note, Pete did pitch three complete games ( which was common for the time). In 25 innings pitched, he gave up 34 hits, 14 walks, he struck out 7 batters and unleashed 8 wild pitches. Pete gave up 31 runs, 18 earned. He committed one error in 3 games.

In 1884, Pete played for Stillwater in the Northwest in League. He still pitched but his record was still poor, 0 -4. He did have a respectable 3.44 ERA. He batted .111 in games as a pitcher and outfielder.

On May 16, 1884 Pete played Righfield for the Indianoplois Hossiers against the St. Louis Browns. He had one hit in 3 at bats and two errors in the field. The Indianapolis News reported, ” Dorgan was sick and Fries took his place in righfield where he made 2 costly errors. Considering the fact that he has been given very little practice, his playing was not surprisingly bad.” The Hossier were a very bad team. They finished with 29 wins and a .271 winning percentage. Fries was released by the Hossiers on May 22, 1884.

Pete settled in Chicago after his brief baseball career and worked as a postal clerk at the Grand Crossing postal station. He was married and had one son. He retired in 1926. He died of apparent heart failure at his residence in the Railton Hotel at the age of 79 on July 27, 1937. He is buried in the Oakwoods Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.

For more information on the American Association baseball, read the book The Beer and Whiskey League by David Nemec. It is full of interesting facts about this ground breaking league.

Honus Wagner’s bats made in Electric City, 1913

Major Leagues in Scranton, Scranton Baseball, Scranton Connections

Honus Wagner is still a name well known to baseball fans and collectors. The Honus Wagner T-206 tobacco card is well known and one of the most valuable cards in history. Honus Wagner was one of the all-time greats and a member of the original Baseball Hall of Fame class of 1936. He could do it all. He hit for power, average and was a great defensive Shortstop. Wagner hit .300-or-better for 15 straight seasons from 1899-1913. Wagner won eight NL batting championships. He led the NL in slugging percentage six times and on-base percentage four times. Non other than the greatJohn McGraw, manager of the New York Giants, said he would take Wagner over Ruth, Cobb or any of the other greats of his time.

In 1913, Honus Wagner’s bats were made by Fred Rentschler of South Scranton. He was described in the Scranton Times as a South Scranton wood turner. Mr. Rentschler was making bats for Honus Wagner for the past several seasons. The bats were made of white ash and Wagner had good success with them. He kept ordering them.

Baseball players are very particular about their bats. Mr. Rentschler must have made quite a bat to impress Honus Wagner.

Honus “Hans” Wagner 1913 photo, Scranton Times

1909 Hughie Jennings brings his Tigers to Scranton, Ty Cobb pitches

Major Leagues in Scranton, Scranton Baseball

On August 8, 1909, Hughie Jennings, manager of the Detroit Tigers ,brought his first place club to Scranton for an exhibition. Hughie was born in Avoca,Pa. He was a great SS with the Baltimore Orioles and would later be a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Tigers had lost a game in Philadelphia to Connie Mack’s Athletics, 5 to 3 the previous day. They had an off day and would play 2 more games in Philadelphia after the game with Scranton. The Tigers still held first place by 2 full games over the A’s in the American League Standings.

Ralph ” Gassy” Works

The local fans were disappointed as regular Tiger starters, Sam Crawford, Bill Donovan and Boss Schmidt did not play. Ralph Works was the pitcher most of the day for the Tigers. Works may have been familar to Scranton fans becacause he pitched for Syracuse in the NY State League in 1908. The Tribune referred to him as”Gassy” Works. He had pitched the most innings the previous season in the NY State League. The paper reported a lot of hard hitting by both sides. Ty Cobb threw out a runner from right field on a one hop, ” a sight rarely seen in the NY State League”. Cobb also showed his versatility by pitching against the Miners. Cobb struck out 2 and walked 2. He also had 2 doubles in his 3 hits. The Tigers pounded out 22 hits and 12 runs, the Miners had 15 hits and 11 runs. The Tigers would win the game 12 to 11, according to the Scranton Truth.

Ty Cobb, pitcher??

George Chalmers pitched for Scranton. He would go on to have some success as pitcher with Philadelphia Phillies. Heine Beckendorf had been Scranton’s regular catcher in 1908 and also played for the Miners in 1907. The Scranton Times reported he recieved a fine shaving kit from his admirers in this city. Heine did the catching for the Tigers against the Miners.

The Tigers would win the American League pennant in 1909. They lost the World Series in 7 games to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The series featured 2 future Hall of Fame players: Honus Wagner of Pirates and Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers. Each player was considered to be the best hitter in their respective leagues.

1909 Boxscore, Scranton Miners vs. Detroit Tigers
Hughie Jennings, Detroit Tigers manager

Empire State Yankees?? Scranton / Wilkes-Barre Yankees were road warriors in 2012

Scranton Baseball, Scranton history, Scranton Sports is usually my starting point for minor league baseball history. The 2012 AAA franchise of the Yankees is listed as Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees. No games were played at the Scranton home park in 2012. There is no mention of the Empire State Yankees.

The 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees were forced out of their home ball park by an old ballpark that was not maintained by the County that owned it. It needed repairs and was going to be totally remodeled. The team also needed to make sure that the new grass field with proper drainage would not be damaged.

The team played their “home games” at Rochester’s Frontier Field. They also played all their games with Lehigh Valley at Lehigh Valley’s home ballpark, Coca-Cola field. The 2012 SWB Yankees won their division but made a quick exit from the play-offs. Steve Pearce , Chris Dickerson and Francisco Cervelli were among the standout hitters. The pitching staff was a lot of older pitchers. Veteran Ramon Ortiz was the standout with 13 wins. A young Dellin Betances would struggle with the Empire State Yankees.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders would return to the beautiful, newly renovated PNC Field in Moosic, Pa. They would finish their first year in 5th place in the North Division of the International League.

Empire State Yankees logo 2012

Edgar Jones, recent Scranton Tech Graduate, pitches against the "Gas House Gang", 1938 Scranton baseball history, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Scranton

Scranton Athletes, Scranton Baseball, Scranton Sports

Prior to 1936, Scranton played minor league baseball but had no official affiliation with any major league team. The first team Scranton had an official affiliation with was the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1936. In 1937, the Scranton Miners were the affiliate of the National League, Boston Bees. The Boston team owner had a rocky relationship with the Press and as a result, attendance suffered. Boston moved their franchise out of Scranton and Scranton did not have an affiliated team in 1938. Scranton had a team in the NEP league and played exhibition games with minor league teams as well as games against the other teams in the NEP League.

On June 14, 1938, the Saint Louis Cardinals came to town to play the Scranton Miners. On the mound for the Miners that day was schoolboy pitcher Edgar Jones. Jones was a recent graduate of Scranton Technical were he was the star of the baseball team and football team. He was 17 years old and had been playing in the NEP baseball league for Olyphant. Jones was known as “Special Delivery”.

Edgar Jones of the Cleveland Browns

Pete Gray, a local ballplayer who had lost his right arm in an accident, played RF for the Scranton team. He would later play in the majors for the St. Louis Browns. Orville Paul, who had lost his left arm in an accident,pitched an inning for the Cardinals against Scranton. He was a batting practice pitcher for St. Louis Cardinals.

2500 fans filled Athletic Park on a cool afternoon. Edgar Jones was the story of the game. Jones was being pursued by many major league teams but was going to Pitt to play football. He pitched 6 strong innings. Scranton held a 2 to 1 advantage in the 6th. Jones tired in the 7th, hit 2 batters including reigning NL MVP, Joe Medwick. Medwick went to the mound bat in hand to talk to the young pitcher. Jones gave up a 3 run home run to Johnny Mize. He pitched in the 8th but was relieved. St. Louis won the game 6 to 4. Jones did strike out Enos Slaughter and Johnny Mize and totalled 4 for the game.

Pete Gray made 3 outstanding catches and had one hit in 4 at bats. Orville Paul stuck out one, gave up one hit and 2 runs in his inning of work. It was a fine exhibition of baseball.

Jones would attend The University of Pittsburgh to play football. He was a success on the field and finished 7th in the Heisman race as a senior. He played for the Cleveland Browns in the old All-american football Conference, a team that won 4 championships. Jones was still pitching in 1946 and 1947 for sandlot teams. The Cleveland Indians took notice and despite being 27 years old wanted Jones to try out.( Cleveland Herald). He did not get a chance to pitch for the Indians. In 1950, Edgar pitched for the Hamilton baseball club in Canada.

The following season, 1939, minor league baseball would return to Scranton. Athletic Field would again be busy. The Scranton Red Sox would take the field and the most successful time in local baseball history would start.

St. Louis Cardinals in Scranton 1938

Scranton Times

Scranton Tribune

Scranton CYC crowd is wowed by Olympic Champion, 1969

Scranton Athletes, Scranton Black History, Scranton boxing, Scranton Sports

George Foreman was a young Heavyweight in 1969. On November 5, 1969 he came to Scranton to fight Leo Peterson. Foreman was 8 and 0 with 7 KOs. He was a large man standing 6 foot 3 inches. His reach was 78 inches. He weighed about 226 pounds. George was 20 years old. Unlike boxing today, George was constantly on the move and boxing. Screenshot_20200314-124805Foreman fought 2 times in October and had just beat Robert Davilla on Halloween in New York City.

Advertisement for George Foreman CYC fight card 1969

The fight lasted 4 rounds. The headline read, Foreman left hook in 4th embalms Peterson. The Scranton Times reported that Foreman stalked his smaller opponent for the first 2 rounds. He unleashed a left hook that nearly decapitated his opponent in the fourth round that ended the fight. Peterson was immediately out and the referee, Foreman and the ringside physician came to his aid. It was nearly 5 minutes before Peterson could stand and another 5 before he could leave the ring. After the fight Peterson said, ” He’s real strong, hard to hit, He should go a long way.”

Foreman went all the way to the Heavyweight Championship. Only 1213 fans saw the fight in Scranton. George was paid a percentage of the gate for the fight. His next fight in his hometown of Houston was announced for November 18th . George would win the heavyweight title in 1973. He would not lose a fight as a pro until the Rumble in the Jungle in 1974 against Muhammad Ali. Foreman was the Heavyweight Champion at this time and he lost his title. Big George retired after a 1977 loss to Jimmy Young. He launched a comeback in 1987. George regained the Heavyweight title in 1994. He became the oldest Heavyweight Champion at age 45.

Butch Meyers, Pro basketball and minor league baseball player

Major Leagues in Scranton, Scranton Athletes, Scranton Baseball, Scranton Basketball

Howard Alexander Meyers was born on August 3, 1907 in Scranton, Pa. He was better known as Butch Meyers. He stood 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed 155 pounds. Butch was a football, baseball and basketball star at Scranton Technical High School. He graduated in 1927. He played semi-pro basketball locally and with the Washington Palace Five in 1927-1928 in the American Basketball League. Butch enrolled at Springfield College in 1929. He continued to play basketball, baseball and football in college.

Butch played in the county basketball league with Dunmore. He also played with Carbondale in the Pa State League. Butch was a good player twice averaging over 10 points in a season when points were hard to come by.

In 1932, Butch was the 2nd baseman for the Scranton Miners. He hit .326 with 16 triples. In 1933, Butch was again on the Miners. He batted.283. The Miners finished in 4th place.

Butch was signed to play with the Boston Bees in 1936 but he never played in the big leagues. He spent some time in Spring training at 2nd base but did not make the team. He was one of the last players cut. In 1936, Butch played for the Buffalo Bison and had a great year hitting .300. played for Buffalo 1934- 1938. He finished his Minor League career with Syracuse of the International League in 1939.

Butch Meyers, Scranton