Scranton Football, Miners and Minor League

Big Joe Williams was to coach a team in Scranton according to an article in the Easton Free Press on Spetmber 6, 1922. The article mentioned several leading citizens being behind the project including the owner of the State League Baseball park, John O’Connor. The team would play home games at the Baseball Park. Two games would be played weekly, Saturdays on the road and Sundays at home. Several players were mentioned in the article as having signed up to play and included: Elwood of Notre Dame, Neylon of Pennsylvania, Green of Darthmouth, Walsh of Fordham, Dunn of Yale, Gardner of Nebraska, Mulchahey of Holy Cross, and Wolbert, Williams, Lehecka and Bedner all of Lafayette. The team was known as the Scranton All-Americans.

According to an article in the November 11th, 1922 edition of the Pittsburgh Press, The Scranton All-Americans would cease operations. Mayor Durkan had instituted a ban on Sunday football. Baseball players feared they were next. Pennsylvania’s infamous “blue” laws prohibiting sports on Sundays.

In 1938, according to the Pro Football Archives, the Scranton Miners completed a season in the EFL with 1 win, 1 tie and 3 loses.

An April 2nd, 1946 article from United Press stated that the Scranton Miners football team had an agreement to be the “farm” team of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team was to be coached by Ben Wolfson, former Lafayette football coach and would ” pattern its system of play on that of Dr. John B. (Jock) Sutherland” (Steelers’ head coach). The Miners were to compete in the American Football League, an affilate of the National Football League. The league would include several Pennsylvania teams as well as Ohio. On Friday August 23, 1946 The Steelers defeated Scranton Miners 47- 0. A Crowd of 7487 fans watched the game at Memorial Stadium. The Pittsburgh Press has a write up on the game. At the end of the article it mentions Chuck Cherundolo, the stellar center for the Steelers’ was presented with a camera and bond by “Old Forge” friends and neighbors.

In 1966, the Scranton Miners of the Atlantic Coast League had a one year working agreement with NY Giants.Steve Bowman, the leading rusher for the Alabama Crimson Tide an the SEC played for the Miners. He earned a extra $50 a game playing for the Miners.

An October 11, 1974 from the UPI article states that Scranton had a franchise in the Seaboard Coast League, along with Bridgeport, Hartford, Wilkes-Barre, Philadelphia, Chambersburg, Pa, Boston and Rochester. The article states the league may play “spring” football and the NFL may be interested in drafting players.

A July 3, 1978 article state that a minor league team called the Scranton Stars played the Pittsburgh Wolf Pack and Joe Gilliam starred for the Wolf Pack. the Wolf Pack beat the Scranton stars, the defending League Champs 36-8. The teams participated in the Atlantic Football Conference.

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