Saturday, June 9, 2012


When looking back on Syracuse Baseball History, we find the Chicago White Sox did visit the city back on August 15, 1916. The game was played at Star Park located on North Salina Street near Onondaga Lake (where Carousel Center now stands). Four of the eight player banned by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis played in the contest- "Happy" Felsch, Fred Mc Mullen, Buck Weaver and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.

That day the White Sox roster also included third baseman Nemo Liebold, who later became manager of the Syracuse Chiefs in 1935-36 seasons.

The game itself was a laughter as the White Sox mauled the Stars by a score of 16-0. Joe Jackson combined for a triple and two singles in his three plate appearances before he withdrew from the contest. "Happy" Felsch followed with two more hits while Buck Weaver added luster when he lifted a home run over the right field wall. Reports called it the longest home run of the 1916 season. Fred McMullen also collected a pair of hits as the Sox totaled 22 base knock by games end.

Former American League hurler Dave Roth took the mount for Syracuse, but Stars hitters could only scratch out two singles in 29 trips to the plate. On the plus side the Syracuse Stars went on to win the 1916 New York State League championship with a record of 81-52

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Clarence Schindler's first full season (1940) would be one he'd like to forget. The team's finished as follows: Rochester's talented club captured the league championship (96-61), followed by Newark, Jersey City, Baltimore with the Chiefs finishing seventh in the eight team league. The Chiefs finished last in both team batting and in team fielding percentage. The bright sport Ed Longare's .284 average won him the "Most Popular Chiefs Award" voted on by the fans. Also the arrival of outfielder "Goody" Rosen who patrolled the outfield for many a season. He was honored with his own "Goody Rosen Night" June 27 before a contest with the Rochester Red Wings. Others interesting events, July 13 the Chiefs hit four home runs but still lost to Newark 7-6. Baseball comic Al Schadt's appearance August 6 drew 10,524 fans the largest of the season. Roy Johnson pols four straight home run in a September 2 doubleheader. Three in game one and the fourth in his first at bat in game two. Finally on November 16, Clarence Schindler fires Chiefs manager Dick Porter and coach Dan Taylor. Schindler then hires Benny Borgman to lead the tribe in 1941. Borgman interestedly would later coach the Syracuse Nationals in the National Basketball League.

Borgman's only year as the Chiefs helm was not a successful one. The tribe finished in sixth place as the powerful Newark Bears won the International League Championship winning 100 game while losing just 54. The Bears were followed by Montreal, Buffalo and Rochester.

Spring training opened at Ft. Lauderdale on March 16, 1941, with the I.L. opener set for April 17. Ted Kleinhans was on the mound opening day as Buffalo clobbered the Chiefs 11-1. The starting lineup looked as follows- "Flea" Clinton (2b), "Goody" Rosen (cf), Roy Johnson (lf), "Bobo" Hasson (1b), Fred Deal (rf), Woody Williams (ss), "Red" Juelich (3b), Chris Hartje (c) with the lefty Kleinhans on the mound.

Left fielder Frank Secory was batting over .300 when he broke his leg in a May 11 doubleheader against Newark.

To be continued...

Friday, May 25, 2012


Camden, South Carolina became the new spring training home of the Chiefs in 1939. Manager Dick Porter's team played fourteen games in the south including Jake Moody's/Pete Angel's 3-0 win over the House Of David. Johnny Gee won the April 20 International League opener vs Toronto. Gee was well on his way to a 20 win season that culminated with his contract being sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a reported $20,000 and four players. The bonus to the Chiefs was John didn't have to report to the Pirates till spring training 1940.

The strength of the 1939 ball club was in it's pitching staff. Led by Johnny Gee and nineteen game winner Ted Kleinhans (19-12) plus Jack Tising, Mike Meola and Jake Mooty combined for 75 of the team 81 victories.

Following a May 28 doubleheader victory over the Newark Bears, the Chiefs Enterprises Inc. owned by Jack Corbett was sold to Syracusans Clarence Schindler and Alex Mengarelli for a reported $200,000. The first $50,000 was to be paid now and the balance over a period of years. It was later learned that the selling price was must less around $130,000 of which $25,00 went directly into the club's treasury. The rest to be paid to Mr. Corbett rated about $10,000 a year to pay off the balance. Mengarelli a 30 year old stock and bond broker in turn interested Clarence Schindler the manager of the Cobwell Garbage Reduction Company. They both ventured into professional baseball for the first time.

By late July the Chiefs climbed into third place and a week later into second. As the 1939 International League season wound down they found themselves dropping to fifth. Bit it was the seasons' last day September 10 with a split doubleheader against Jersey City that the Chiefs ended the year in a tie for the final playoff spot with the Newark Bears. A one game playoff was held the next day to break the deadlock. But 20 game winner Johnny Gee couldn't stop the mighty Newark Bears, who came away with a 9-6 win.

The Chiefs finished fifth with a respectable 81-74 mark in a year they had made such a great comeback. In November, Chiefs new officers, President Clarence Schindler and Secretary Harold Roettger signed a new working agreement with the Pittsburgh Pirates. with the provision that the Chiefs get first pick of 1940 Prates rookie players.Former team secretary was in the news again as he sued his former boss Jack Corbett for $9,000 in loss commissions. Reilly was not only without a job but without any financial benefit from the sale, which he said was part of the sale agreement with Schindler and Mengarelli. Alex Mengarelli resigned on November 14 and Clarence Schindler assumed total control of the ball club.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Owner Jack Corbett named former Syracuse Star "Sunny" Jim Bottomley is the new Chiefs manager for 1938. After a dismal 6-15 start Bottomley resigns and is replaced by Dick Porter. Porter's first move was to hire former major-leaguer Jimmy Walsh ( a Syracuse resident) on as coach. The pitching staff was bolstered with the addition of Reggie Grabowski from Minneapolis, Johnny Gee, Ted Kleinhans, Jake Mooty, Earl Cook and "Red" Barrett . While Jimmy Outlaw (.339), Tony Bongiovanni (.321), Edgar Longacre, Joe Mack, Dee Moore and Dick Porter teamed to lead the Chiefs to a sewcond place finish.

The year was highlighted by Johnny Gee who hurled the longest game in Chiefs history a 18 inning 3-2 victory over the Newark Bears. A visit from the New York Yankees in an exhibition that included Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio. The June 12th game ended in a 9-3 Yankees win. Other Yankees seeing cation were Tommy Henrich, George Selkirk, Joe Gordon, Joe Glenn, Babe Dahlgren and manager Joe McCarthy.

Six days later the first tragedy, Chiefs catcher Dee Moore was injured when struck by a bottle thrown from the stands. News reports stated that Syracuse Police arrested Carl A. LeClair.

Babe Ruth returned to Syracuse on July 6, this time as a coach with the Brooklyn Dodgers. "The Babe" played first base in a 9-0 Dodger victory. Over 11,000 fans viewed Ruth single in four trips to the plate. Ruth's photo was featured in a  Dodger uniform on the front of the game scorecard that memorable day. The last exhibition of the year was against the Cincinnati Reds August 8. The Chiefs and Reds played to a 2-2 rain shortened seven inning tie.

 The Chiefs clinched second place September 8 on a Johnny Gee two-hitter vs Jersey City. With "Red" Barrett having been recalled by Cincinnati the Chiefs still entered the Governors Cup Playoffs with high hopes. Municipal Stadium was the site of the first two contests against the Buffalo Bisons.

Governors Cup Playoff - Game 1 in Syracuse
The Bisons squeaked out a 3-2 win as the Chiefs left the bases loaded in the ninth. Ken Ash defeated Ted Kleinhans before 7,572 screaming Syracusans.

Governors Cup Playoffs- Game 2 in Syracuse
Bison Fabian Kowalik tossed a five-hitter and the Chiefs uncertain fielding cost them in this one. Nino Bongiovanni again received the "Goat of the Game Award" as his errors put the winning run on base and a poor throw cost another. With the Chiefs down two games to none the series shifted to Buffalo.

Governors Cup Playoff- Game 3 at Buffalo
Three Buffalo home runs over the short right field wall nilified a pair of Chiefs tallies. Trailing by two in the ninth, the Chiefs filled the bases with only one out. Then with two out Manager Dick Porter gambled and sent up rookie Charlie Harig. Hairg's hard smash to center field was caught ending the contest. The tribe dropped their third straight 6-5.

Governors Cup Playoff- Game 4 at Buffalo
In the series final mechanical and metal errors lost this one. During the first six innings the tribe had many chances to score. But three times a man was run down between third and home and yet another was put out at the plate. Trailing 5-1 only Joe Mack's homer closed the margin to 5-3. The Bisons sweep the series four games to none. To All-Time Chiefs records were set that year. First- Tony Bongiovanni set the record for the "Most Doubles" in a season with 46. Jimmy Outlaw then set the mark for highest batting percentage at .339. That stayed a team record until the 1990's The current record was set in 1991 by Derek Bell at .346.

Even after a great season team owner Jack Corbett never reached the financial success he had planned upon the teams transfer from Jersey City back in 1934. November 10, Syracuse Newspapers reported that "The Cincinnati Reds will buy the Chiefs". The sale to the Reds never happened.


March 22, 1937- a new working agreement was signed between the Chiefs and the Cincinnati Reds of the National League. Jersey City had replaced Albany and Bernard "Mike" Kelly was named as new pilot of the tribe in 1937.

The Chiefs opened the International League season on April 23 dropping a 6-1 verdict to the Buffalo Bisons. Thie lineup comprised many new faces, Al Grosscup (2b), Eddie Jost (3b), Lee Gamble (cf), Dick Porter (rf), Wally Cazen (lf) Bill Campbell (c), John Reder (1b) , Ed Miller (ss) and Ralph Kolp on the mound.

The most important addition to the club was that of hard hitting first baseman Frank McCormick. McCormick had been promoted from Durham (5/16) solidified the infield while leading the club with a .322 average. With McCormick's addition the Chiefs won six of their next eight contests. In another player transaction catcher "Doc" Legett was traded to Nashville, and Dee Moore arrived from Cincinnati.
The Boston Red Sox arrived on June 14 for their yearly exhibition. Little fan excitement was generated as only 2.000 attended a 3-2 Chiefs victory. This would be the last time Syracuse would see the Red Sox and the likes of  future "Hall of Famers " Jimmy Foxx, Joe Cronin & Bobby Doerr.

A week later the Chiefs had climbed into third place. Johnny Vander Veer arrived from Cincinnati when Jake Moody was recalled and the Reds arrived in town for their first ever exhibition game. July 12th the Syracuse Newspapers report rumors that Cincinnati team officials want Ki Ki Cuyler as new Chiefs manager. The Reds roster sported former Syracuse player's, Chick Hafey, "Wild Bill" Halahan & Joe Cascarella along with Ernie Lombardi and Cuyler. Former Central High School pitching ace Johnny Gee was on the mound that day and downs Cincinnati 4-2.

With the Chiefs setting in third place, Earl Harrist pitches a 1-0 no-hit game vs Jersey City on July 25. Five days later the tribe slipped into fifth place with a 50-50 mark, but rebounded on Lloyd Moore's one-hitter July 30 against Buffalo and Johhny Gee's two-hitter vs Toronto. Before the season ended the St Louis Brown's visited Municipal Stadium topping the home team 8-2. The brave 3,500 fans viewed a Brown's lineup of Jim Bottomley, Joe Vosmik, Billy Knickerbocker and Sam West.

The Newark Bears (109-43) captured the league title with the Chiefs placing third at 78-74. Dick Porter was voted "Most Popular Chief" and Whitey Moore was honored as the International League Strikeout King. Moore had set a new All-Time Chiefs record with 16 strikeouts in a single nine inning game. That record still stands today.

The Governors Cup Playoffs opened at Newark, as Earl Cook lost a Game #1 heartbreaker to Joe Beggs 2-1. A game the Chiefs lead 1-0 in the fifth on Harry Craft's long homer to left field. With the Chiefs still leading 1-0 and two out in the bottom of the ninth Newarks' Joe Gordon homered to left to deadlock the score 1-1. The next batter Jim Gleeason followed with another long homer to left and the Bears came away with a 2-1 victory.

Game 2, Newark hammered Johnny Vandere Veer 7-2 to take a two games to none lead in the best of seven series.

Game 3,  the series returned to Syracuse as Newark continued their assault on Whitey Moore to the tune of 8-0 before 6,500 tribe fans.

Game 4,  Newark closed the door on the Chiefs on a cold damp evening before only 1.500 brave souls. Earl Cook had another good outing the the Chiefs nemesic, Joe Gordon hit another homer, this time an inside the park variety when the ball rolled to the deep right field scoreboard. The Chiefs scored in the seventh on Frank McCormick's double and two sac flies. It was the first runs the Chiefs had scored in 22 innings. Newark scored an insurance run in the nith, but the game was over a 3-1 Newark Bears win. The tribe managed just five hits off Newark rookier starter Marius Russo.

The season ended for the Chiefs losting four straight games. But Newark continued on defeating Baltimore to win the Governors Cup and then down Columbus to win the Little World Series.

Monday, May 21, 2012


January 1936, pitcher Bobby Coombs was sold to Birmingham of the Southern League. The Boston Red Sox send Ellsworth "Babe" Dahlgren to the Chiefs after obtaining future "Hall of Famer" -Jimmy Foxx. While Mineral, Texas was selected as the teams new spring training site.

The good new was that "Babe" Dahlgren led the Chiefs' hitting a blazing .318 that summer. He still hold the Chiefs All-Time Record's for Most Game Played in one season 155, and Triples with 21 in one of his best years in professional baseball. The Chiefs classy first baseman's name would later become a trivia contest question on May 2, 1939. On that date "Babe" a reserve first baseman for the New York Yankees replaced the ill Lou Gehrig ending his consecutive game streak at 2,130. Gehrig's life ending illness diagnosed an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or as we known it today "Lou Gehrig's Disease". Many years later Dahlgren was quoted as saying "I rarely speak of that moment. I'm sick of that, I never wanted to be a Yankee. There was no way to replace Lou Gehrig." The Yankees did go on to win their fourth consecutive World Series in 1939. Dahlgren's career would see stops with the Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies, Pirates, Boston Braves and St. Louis Browns before his retirement in 1946.

The 1936 season could be called the year of disappointments and poor decisions. First the club lost the home opener to Montreal 3-0. A week later they were defeated in a 17-inning contest at Buffalo 10-9. Ray Starr provided the first bright spot May 19 as he shutout Toronto in both ends of a doubleheader 9-0 and 3-0. In the years first important trade the tribe receives Wally Cazen & Keith Molesworth from Buffalo in exchange for the very  popular Henry "Price" Oana. The speedy Cazen would provide some must needed spark in a lackluster year. Cazen would later be inducted into the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame.

Boston arrived on June 15, for their yearly exhibition. A Crowd of over 7,000 greeted Jimmy Foxx, Joe Cronin, Herb Pennock (all Hall of Famer's) and ex-chief John Kroner, The fans cheered with delight as the hometown team down the Red Sox 7-5. Three days later 24 year International League record for scoring was shattered as Baltimore destroyed the Chiefs 31-9.

July 10, Nemo Leibold resigns as team manager, owner Jack Corbett names coach Mike Kelly as his replacement after attempts to sign George "Specs" Toporcer failed. Reports surface that Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey is irked with Leibold departure and may withdraw his Boston players from Syracuse. After a dismal years the Chiefs climb out of the I.L. basement August 22 (replaced by Albany) after splitting a doubleheader against Newark. The first old-timers game was played on September 3 showcasing former N.Y. Giant pitcher  George "Hooks" Wiltse. As the season wound down Boston purchased the contract of Dom Dallessandro for spring delivery. The Buffalo Bisons had overtaken Rochester to capture the I.L. Championship (94-60). and continued by also winning the Governors Cup. The Chiefs finished in seventh place at 59-95.

In a special I.L. meeting in New York City former Syracuse Stars manager Frank "Shag" Shaughnessy was named the new International League President. Shaughnessy who introduced the playoff system to baseball, succeeded Warren Giles. Mr. Giles had resigned to become general manager and vice president of the Cincinnati Reds. Back at home the Chiefs were in financial trouble. The teams operator the Jersey City Baseball Club Inc. headed by Jack Corbett filed for bankruptcy on December 7, 1936.

A bankruptcy auction was held on January 21, 1937. Jack Corbell bought back the Chiefs franchise for $5,000. Meanwhile, International League officials vote to return professional baseball to Syracuse for 1937.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Chiefs owner Jack Corbett and Boston Red Sox GM Eddie Collins then looked for new talent to upgrade their seventh place finish. First former Syracuse Star and St. Louis Cardinals infielder, George "Specs" Toporcer was signed and named team captain. In March, the right field bleachers were added bring the seating capacity to 12,000. Dick Porter was then traded to Newark for "Doc" Farrell, who was sent on to the Boston Red Sox for shortstop Al Niemiec. But the most important addition was that of pitcher Reggie Grabowski. Grabowski (brother of Al) the Syracuse native was obtained from the Philadelphia Phillies just a week before the season opened. Reggie would win 16 games and join Joe Cascarella, Hal Vanderburg, Joe Milligan, Bobby Coombs and Flint Rehm as the key members of the tribe pitching staff that year.

Many new faces dotted the April 18 opening day lineup- Dom Dallessandro (rf), Specs Toporcer (2b), Art Graham (lf), Julian Wera (3b), John Watwood (cf), Jim Sellin (1b) Al Niemiec (ss), George Salvino (c), and Bobby Coombs on the mound. Three days later another key eliminate was added that of third baseman John Kroner. Following his trade from Baltimore, Kroner would become an International League All-Star while a member of the Chiefs hitting a blazing .323.

The Boston Red Sox made their yearly visit on May 16 downing the Chiefs 10-6. The Red Sox featured Joe Cronin, Babe Dahlgren, Moe Berg, Bing Miller and George Pipgras. Pitcher Hy Vandenburg was sent to Boston for three pitchers, one being Jor Cascarella on option from the Philadelphia Athletics. Cascarella managed to win 11 games and was promoted to the Red Sox. The early part of June the Chiefs purchased Oscar Roettger and moved into fifth place. With many players going back and fourth between Syracuse and Boston, soon rumors quickly spread of the club being sold. Syracuse newspaper headliners of June 28 read, "Chiefs Sold to Tom Yawkey", the rumor was untrue.

Al; Niemiec recorded the first triple play in Chiefs history on July2 in a 5-4 victory over Albany. July 21, Robert John, a Native American from the Onondaga Nation was named the Chiefs first official mascot. July 29- the team had won nine straight games moving into second place. During that stretch Reggie Grabowski pitched a sparkling two-hitter vs Baltimore.

August 12, the Chiefs moved into first place, two days later back to second and three days after slipped into third. Reggie Grabowski pitched another two-hitter (8/23), this time against Albany. With doubleheader victories against Albany (8/25) the Chiefs tied for second, a spot they held at seasons end. Montreal Royals captured the top spot at 92-62, the tribe close behind posting a 87-67 mark.It was now on for the first time to the Governors Cup Playoffs vs the powerful Newark Bears.

The playoff batting order looked as follows: Dom Dallessandro (lf), "Specs" Toporcer (2b), John Kroner (3b), Ollie Tucker (rf), Doc Leggett (c), Harry Taylor (1b), Prince Oana (cf) and Al Niemiec (ss). The Chiefs a colorful club had the big guns, Kroner, Leggett, Oana and Dallessandro all season 300 hitters followed by Tucker and Savino all over .290. The club's team batting average that season was recorded at .268, but of those seeing playoff action it jumped to .279

Governors Cup Playoffs- Series 1-Game #1
Joe Cascarella defeated Steve Sundra 3-2. Both pitchers looked magnificent. But Sundra's control failed in the fourth, when two Chiefs walked and eventually scored. Chiefs started Cascarella had pin point control and was the difference in that contest.

Governors Cup Playoffs- Series  1- Game #2
Hal Vanderburg bested Ted Kleinhans 6-3 before 7,000 delighted home town fans. After 6 1/2 innings the score was tied 2-2. In the bottom of the seventh Newark manager Bob Shawkey sent Kleinhans to the showers, replacing him with Frank Makoskey to face John Kroner. Kroner wasted no time as he blasted one over the left-field wall for a grand slam.

Governors Cup Playoffs- Series 1- Game 3
The series now shifted to  Newark's Ruppert Stadium. Reggie Grabowski scattered only four hits over nine innings. This was the third exciting pitchers dual as Reggie downed Jack Larocca 3-1. The Chiefs led the best of  seven series three games to none.

Governors Cup Playoffs- Series 1 - Game 4
Also played in Newark. The Chiefs made it a clean sweep of the Bears as Dom Dallessandro was a perfect 5 for 5 including two home runs, a double and three RBI.  Joe Milligan was on the mound for that 5-2 win. The Chiefs had won the first round of the playoff and now must face the Montreal Royals for the $5,000 prize offered to the victors.

Govenors Cup Championship- Game 1
At Montreal. The pitching combination of Joe Cascarella, George Hickette & Flint Rhem held on for a first game victory 7-6. The Chiefs  exploded in the fifth with 4 runs starting with Price Oana's triple, ending with John Kroner's two run homer to right center. The tribe scored two more in the eighth to seal the victory

Governors Cup Championship - Game 2
At Montreal. A 2-2 tie quickly ended in the eighth as the Chiefs erupted for 7 runs. Meanwhile Hal Vanderburg hurled a masterful game and only three Royals runs in the bottom of the ninth made the 10-5 contest close.

Governors Cup Championship - Game 3-5
The next three games returned to Syracuse seeing the tribe lose three straight games before crowds of 9,000, 7,000 and 8,000. Montreal now led the series three games to two.

Governors Cup Championship- Game 6
 The Montreal fans were ready. Game 6 a crowd estimated at 21,000 looked on Chiefs shortstop Al Niemiec became the game hero. Niemiec knocked in the winning run in the top of the tenth innings in a 3-2 Chiefs series tying win. Joe Cascarella went the route despite an injured leg and hurled a brilliant game...

Governors Cup Playoff - Championship Game -7
The Governors Cup final in Montreal saw George Hockette pitch a five hitter to capture the Chiefs first Governors Cup Championship 2-1. The Chiefs scoring came as Harry Taylor homered in the fifth to tie the score at 1-1. Then Toporcer doubled off the scoreboard scoring another, but it was his great catch in back of second to double-off Bob Seeds in the bottom of the ninth that sealed our first Cup. An interesting note: no team won a contest at home during the final seven game series.

The Governors Cup is a perpetual trophy originally sponsored by the Governors of the States of New York, New Jersey and Maryland along with the Lieutenant Governors of the Providences of Quebec and Ontario, Canada. The trophy is awarded to the International League play-off champion, to be held by the winning team for a period of one year.

Leibold's team was red hot in the playoffs and probably would have won the Little World Series if one had been held  in 1935. The Chiefs divided the $5,000 cash prize by cutting it into 27 slices. Manager Leibold, Mike Kelly (coach), Jim Corcoran (trainer) and groundskeeper Ed Goettel and 23 players will share the prize money. In arriving at the division played weighed the funds in two phases. The first $2,500 for qualifying for the playoffs, and the second $2,500 for emerging in the finals.

1935-Year two in Chiefs history was one to remember

Monday, May 14, 2012


We  learned Monday morning (May 14, 2012) of the passing of our great friend Joe LaGuardia. Our hearts go out to his wife Carol and their children. Joe's wisdom, dedication,  kindness & long friendship will be deeply missed by all who knew him. Joe served with the Syracuse Chiefs as a director, officer, special event advisor, and a member of the teams marketing & exective committees. - Ron

Sunday, May 13, 2012


On the evening of April 16, 1934, manager Andy High and his Chiefs ball players arrived at the New York Central Railroad Station. Syracuse Mayor Rolly Marvin, Jack Corbell, Frank Revior, William Lane and many fans came out to welcome the team. A light rain shortened the late afternoon ceremony and players were hustled to the Hotel Syracuse. Their they received new uniforms as they prepared for an exhibition game against Colgate University at Hamilton, NY the next day. Following a 5-3 victory, the first team photo was taken.

On Wednesday, April 18, 1934 the long dream of the return of International League baseball to Syracuse became a reality. Baseball fans galore would travel to the newly named "Municipal Stadium" built at LeMoyne Park. WSYR Radio would broadcast this inaugural event. Seating capacity was adequate although the grandstand was not completed. In addition to the regular steel bleachers and one section of the grandstand there were 700 circus seats in the outfield and in front of the stands to accommodate more than the completed stadium would hold. The infield was perfect and outfield dry, but the remainder of the stadium would not be completed until after the Chiefs first road trip began. The game itself was viewed by 10,000+ although only 4,324 were paid. Fans swarmed up the tree trunks supporting the fences and went in free before others filtered in behind the temporary backstop, coming in under the framework of the grandstand. To tell the real story, game security was a nightmare.

Our opposition for the April 18th, 3 PM contest was the Montreal Royals the farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Pre-game ceremonies began with a parade and Mayor Marvin twirling the ceremonial first pitch. Manager Andy High, also the team's third baseman, picked Fred Fussell as the starting pitcher to go against Montreal's Chad Eismey.

The Chiefs opening day lineup looked as follows, John Watwood (cf), Andy High (3b), Bill Sweeney (1b), John Sherlock (lf), Max Rosenfield (rf), Clarence "Foots" Blair (2b), "Cy" Cihocki (ss), Ed "Zach" Taylor- catcher and Fred Fussell on the mound.

The Chiefs scored the stadiums first run in the bottom of the first when left fielder John Sherlock doubled home Bill Sweeney 1-0.  Play was called during the thirds innings when a smoke screen drifted over the field from the chimney of the nearby Greyhound Bus garage. Heavy clouds of black smoke rolled over the field into the faces of players, but the wind shifted after five minutes and play continued. A two out bases loaded walk to Bill Rhiel in the sixth tied the score 1-1. The Chiefs scored the games winning run in the seventh as Andy High singled, and was then sacrificed to second by Sweeney and scored on a Sherlock single 2-1. The game ended with a flourish as Rhiel led off with a ninth inning triple, but Freddy Fussell was able to retire the next three batters. The Chiefs won their first game 2-1. That evening a crowd of 150 would attend a "Welcome Back" dinner sponsored by the Elks Club.

Municipal Stadium was officially dedicated on May 19, 1934 following by a 3-1 victory over the Newark Bears. The stadium was now finished with the exception of lights. A few days after Jack Corbett received a nasty letter from Rochester Red Wings President Warren Giles. The letter requested that the series between Rochester and the Chiefs between May 26-28 be shifted to Rochester. Mr. Giles stated that the "Syracuse field was no more than a cow pasture and the seating no more than most semipro team have".

June 28, Chiefs player-manager Andy High refused to be traded to Baltimore and was given his outright release. Jack Corbett offered the managerial position to Ed Holly. Holly refused and the Chiefs were turned over to Bill Sweeney. Over 5,000 fans attended the first night game ever in Syracuse on July 21. That evening Chiefs pitcher John Merena (7-10) bested the Baltimore Orioles 4-2. A week later the Municipal Stadium held it's first major league exhibition as the Boston Red Sox downed the Chiefs 7-2. One night we would like to forget was September 1, 1934 when Cy Blanton of Albany tied a International League record by striking out 20 Chiefs in a 5-3 win.

That first year the Chiefs listed 41 roster players. The mainstays Joe Benes, Foots Blair, Cy Cihocki, Bill Cronin, Andy High, John Maruska, Henie Mueller, Max Rosenfield, Bill Sweeney, Zack Taylor and John Watwood.. Joe Benes being the only player left from the Syracuse Stars years. The pitchers seeing the most action- Ray "Bobby" Coombs, Clarence Fisher, Freddy Fussell, Adolph Liska, Jim McCloskey, "Timpy" McKeithan, John Merena and Clarence Pickel. Another player of note- pitcher "Spud" Chandler the ex- New York Yankees posted a 4-2 mark.

Bob Shawkey's Newark Bears won the 1934 International League championship for the third consecutive year, be four games over Rochester. The Chiefs would finish their first season in seventh place winning 60 of 154 games. Chiefs owner Jack Corbett asks the city for a lower rent on Municipal Stadium. Corbett seeks reduction or adjustment on the $15,000 rental fee. Before the year ended Corbett and Boston Red Sox general manager Eddie Collins (Hall of Famer), name Harry "Neno" Leibold to manage the club in 1935


Saturday, May 12, 2012


Part one of our History of Syracuse Baseball story is now complete, the years 1830's through 1933. Now our baseball history continues with Chapter 19,  The Birth of the Syracuse Chiefs and the building of Municipal Stadium (MacArthur Stadium) in 1934.

In our article- "MacArthur Stadium, The First 50 Years" it recalls - In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was leading the nation out of the great depression and in Syracuse Mayor Rolly Marvin began his new term by seating a new business relation's bureau under the director of Frank Revior. Its purpose was to attract new business to Syracuse and to retain present local business. One of the first activities to be started under the bureau was to bring International League baseball back to Syracuse (departed after the 1927 season).

Although Syracuse was without a suitable park, there was strong belief that the situation would be remedied in time to start the 1934 International League season. Jack Corbett, president of the Jersey City Skeeters has outwardly stated his plans to move the club elsewhere if a new park in Jersey City wasn't made available, and nothing was being done in that direction.  Nine days after the first step was taken, Corbett announced on February 15, 1934 his pleasure to visit Syracuse and inspect sites proposed by the Business Relations Council. Mr Corbett had already informed other interested parties that he would be willing to shift here if a new stadium could be built.

One proposed site was made by Monsignor H.C. McDowell suggesting Most Holy Rosary field on Glenwood Avenue near Bellevue Country Club. The LeMoyne Park site was again suggested as it had been the choice for a new semi-pro stadium the year before. Kirk Park and downtown Syracuse areas were eliminated as they both had no interest in housing baseball. All sites depended entirely upon the pleasure of Mr. Corbett or any others International League team president interested in moving to Syracuse and upon the wishes of league directors.

February 17, 1934- Corbett came to Syracuse spending the afternoon studying proposals to transfer his Jersey City franchise. In company with Frank Revior and William T. Lane, directors of the Business Bureau, Corbett studied several sites. After looking at all angles and a visit with Mayor Marvin, LeMoyne Park appeared to be the favored site as the North side land was investigated very thoroughly. This location would be accessible to the West and North sides of the city where the majority of baseball fans resided, and would be easily reached from other city areas. A bond to cover the initial cost of such a stadium was needed. However, the guarantees, concessions, rentals and other income would make the stadium self-supporting. In addition it gave the city organized professional baseball with all its benefits and provide a suitable park to be used by scholastic sports.

LeMoyne Park located on Hiawatha Boulevard at Second North Street was made official site the next morning.The stadium completion was another issue as the home opener was only two months away, April 18, 1934. Acting upon suggestions made by Corbett, City officials held several conferences at Mayor Marvin's office that weekend to arrange a new set of plans. One important angle discussed was the question of whether the new stadium should be built by the Engineering and Parks Departments, or partly by contract and the remainder by city forces. The sentiment appeared to be that City Parks Commissioner William A. Berry's workers were content to grade and lay out the diamond. The work on the grandstand and fences might be let out to private contract. Data to figure out the stadium cost was provided by acting city engineer William W. Cronin. Public Work Administrator Harold Ickes had no funds available under his Federal Public Works (PWA), but relief workers would be available for every phase of labor needed. Mayor Marvin, as the main mover behind the scenes wanted the new facility to be self-supporting and not a burden on city tax payers.

February 19, further details on the new stadium were announced. The grandstand would house 7,400 fans and bleachers along first and third bases would accommodate 4,000 more bringing a total capacity to 11,400. Final construction cost would run about $225.000. Rental guarantees would retire that investment in 10 to 12 years.

Meanwhile back in New Jersey, Skeeter stockholders voted to shift the franchise to Syracuse on February 24. The next day the shift became official. International League baseball had returned to Syracuse as the vote by I.L. Governors was unanimous. Only Rochester president Warren Giles (who six years earlier shifted the Syracuse Stars to Rochester) wanted Newark to stay put quoting the Newark Evening News- "That Syracuse did not warrant a International League team" Newark's George Weiss was the first to move that the proposal be adopted unanimously. Corbett would now prepare to move his team and headquarters to Syracuse.

The Syracuse Newspapers stated " I believe this will be a real help to the city in a business way, in addition to forming a major contribution to Syracuse sports. It looks as if the project can easily be made a self-liquidating proposition and at the same time provide a long-needed municipal stadium for other sports events. However, Syracuse's return to league baseball will provide advertising for the city which money could not buy."

Weather conditions halted work on the playing field which had been under way for weeks, but the  300 or so laborers returned once the ground cleared of snow. If necessary the men would work a 24 hours a day, in three shifts, to guarantee a first class major league filed for the yet unnamed team. Concrete for the piers and footings were poured, then set for three weeks. March 6, LeMoyne Park assumed the proportions of a baseball diamond as fences and everything in preparation for the start of actual construction of the field. LeMoyne Park was already more than a foot above water, but the entire plot was raised another 12 inches to insure safety from high waters and provide a natural drainage in addition to the artificial drains which were laid in both the infield and outfield.

The Syracuse Common Council voted unanimously the day before for a temporary $100,000 loan in anticipation of the insurance of Syracuse Municipal Improvement Bonds. The axis pf the field would be northeast. The distance from home plate to the outfield fence would be 315 feet and 350 feet from the batters box to the left field wall. The centerfield "Blue Monster" would be 454 feet away. Land was available for at least another 200 feet in each field, but league officials requested the shorter field to make  more home runs.

March 18 the Syracuse Post Standard Newspaper sports headlines read " Chiefs Displace Stars" as nickname for Syracuse Ball Players. The name "Chiefs" was the choice of the largest number of entries in a contest conducted by the club and local newspaper. The home uniforms would be white with red, white and blue piping, with red stockings with two narrow white stripes and with "Chiefs" written across the jersey front. Road uniforms of gray would have "Syracuse" on the front with the emblem with am Indian head on the left arm. This emblem would be on the teams wind breakers as well.

Jack Corbett then signed a player working agreement with the Boston Red Sox. Gastonia, North Carolina was selected as the 1934 spring training site. For St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Andy High was chosen as the team manager. March 29 the Chiefs began their exhibition season with a 3-2 win over the Charlotte Hornets. Now it was on to Syracuse

Story in Process

Friday, May 11, 2012


We are happy to report that fans from 17 different countries have now visited our History of Syracuse Baseball site. They are Canada, Egypt, Germany, Hungry, Indonesia, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, So. Korea, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Venezuela and the United States.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


My quest was to have statistics in every player that played in Syracuse from 1858 to the present day. Document the score of every professional game played staring back in 1876. Plus chart our Syracuse baseball history and save historical memorabilia along the way.  I'm happy to report this project is now close to completion.

In what started to be a project for my own interest ended in a forty year battle to obtain all the information I could on Syracuse's great baseball history. It all started with the unlimited time and help offered by the Community Baseball Club of Syracuse better known as the Syracuse Chiefs. Then came the support of Tex & John Simone who have given so much to help keep professional baseball in Syracuse. Their dedication to our rich baseball history has no bounds. I cannot express enough thanks for their friendship and what these two individuals have done for our national pastime and for the City of Syracuse.

Then there is Jody Pucello, who not only provided his valuable time and memories but he helped us preserve the many artifacts we currently have in our collection of Syracuse Baseball History.

The hundreds of hours behind a microfilm viewer at the Onondaga County Public Library, special thanks to Jean Palmer. Browsing through the Onondaga Historical Association files and photo first with Denyse Clifford, then Judy Haven & Ed Lyon. Special thanks to Dennis Connors and Tom Hunter. The many trips to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Library in Cooperstown with thanks first and foremost to my friend Pat Kelly, President Jeff Idelson, also to research experts Daniel Bennett, Bill Deane, Gabriel Schector and Jon Blomquist. The visits with W. Lloyd Johnson, one of America's great baseball historians.
Very special thanks to Bob Scalione and his family- Emma, Jennifer, Bob, Stacey and Julie who are great Chiefs baseball fans and very special friends throughout the years.

The inside and colorful information provided by the"Voices of Syracuse" Professional baseball who brought the game to our homes each day. Thanks to- Red Parton, Jack Morse, John Harmon, Sean McDonough, Steve Grilli, Dan Hoard, Doug Sherman, Matt Vasgersian, Joel Mareiniss, Joe Castelano, Steve Hyder, Ted DeLuca, Matt Park, Mark Johnson, Mark Lukasiewicz, Bob McElligott, Jason Benetti and Kevin Brown.

Then there is International League President Randy Mobley and his assistant Chris Sprague. It is my great honor to serve on the International League's Hall of Fame voting committee. The Toronto Blue Jays (Pat Gillick, Gord Ash, Bob Nelson & Charlie Wilson) and the  Washington Nationals (Mike Rizzo, Stan Kaston, Bob Boone, Doug Harris, Mark Scialabba, Brian Minniti & Ryan Thomas) who provided memories, information and historical artifacts to help keep my project going. It is my honor to know each any every one of you listed above.

The help past & present of Syracuse managers who brought a different perspective to our history- Frank Verdi, Vern Benson, Bob Bailor, Nick Leyva, Bob Didier, Richie Hebner, Garth Iorg, Terry Bevington, Pat Kelly, Mel Queen, Omar Malave, Marty Pevey, Mike Basso, Doug Davis, Tim Foli, Trent Jewett, Randy Knorr and current manager Tony Beasley.

Also there are those special Syracuse baseball people- Don Waful, Joanne Simone, Wendy Shoen, Mike Voustinas, Dick Ryan, Al Halstead, Pete Shedd,  John & Michael Carapella, Red Coughlin,  Adam, Andrew & Ariel Shoen, Chris Laurenzo, Tom Van Schaack, Bill Dutch, Sue Mackay, Dan McCarthy, Joe Glisson, Tim Fox, Schad & Shepp families and longtime  trainer- Jon Woodworth.

To Syracuse Sports Journalist- Bob Snyder, Bud VanderVeer, Tom Leo, Bud Poliquin, Matt Michael, Mike Waters and Sean Kirst for sharing with me your memories covering Syracuse baseball and you unique style of writing that made us feel like we were at the game. Special thanks to ultimate professional... Doug Logan.

Most of all to my wife Nancy and our children (Jason, Jeff & Jenna (TJ)) who without their love and understanding I could have never completed this 40 year project. Finally to my dad Frank Gersbacher who played in the St. Louis Cardinal minor-league system and instilled in me at an early age the love of Chiefs baseball and to appreciate Syracuse's great sports history. Little did I know when I started this project that my great-great grandfather played for the Union Baseball Club of Syracuse following the Civil War, while my great-great uncle Peter Gersbacher Sr. served as its President in 1870 something I would do 136 years later. 

There are so many others who shared this wonderful experience with me with their special memories, photos and memorabilia in my Syracuse baseball  quest. I didn't want to forget any of you so your names are all listed below. Some may think this story has an ending, but I assure you with the building of Alliance Bank Stadium (formally P& C Stadium when built in 1997) Syracuse  baseball will live on so that like my children my grand children will have the opportunity to love and enjoy Syracuse baseball as I  have.


Players & Executives- Russ Adams, Butch Alberts, Andy Anderson, Joe Antonio, Bob Bailor, Mike Barlow, Dale Holman, Dave Bergman, Ewell Blackwell, Rick Bladt, Len Boehmer, Bob Boone, Jerry Brooks, Rich Butler, Seth Bynum, Scott Cassidy, Alan Closter, Darnell Coles, Bobby Cox, Tim Crabtree, Carlos Delgado, Frank DiPino, Jamie Dismuke, Henry "Dutch" Dotterer, "Dutch" Dotterer, Tom Dotterter, Greg Erardi. Tom Evans, Lou Fault, Tony Fernandez, Tim Foli, Bob Fruciano, Ron Gardner, Johnny Gee, Ray Gianelli, Pat Gillick, Dave Giusti, Frank Giusti, Shawn Green, John Ford Griffin. Jason Grilli, Steve Grilli, Gabe Gross, Ron Guidry, Joe Grzenda, Doug Harris, Pat Hentgen, Fred Hopke, Willie Horton, John Johnstone, Mack Jones, Stan Kaston, Bill Kelly, Mickey Klutts, Randy Knorr, Chase Lambin. Dave Lemanczyk, Bob Lipski, Gene Locklear, Mark Lukasiewicz, Ed Mahar, Mal Mallette, Fred McGriff, Denny McLain, Chad Mottola, Bob Nandin, Jim Northrup, Pete Orr, Jimmy Outlaw, Steve Owens, Stu Pederson, Bob Polinsky, Jon Ratliff, Frank Riccelli, Bobby Richardson, Jim Riggleman, Mike Rizzo, Dick Rockwell, Andy Russo, Hank Sauer, Mark Scialabba, Mike Schultz, Eddie Shokes, John Simone, Tex Simone, Justin Singleton, Bill Sinton, Don Stanford, Frank Tepedino, Mike Timlin, Otto Velez, Greg "Boomer" Wells, Vernon Wells, Terry Whitfield, Ernie Whitt, Bobby Williams, Todd Williams, Frank Wills, Charlie Wilson, Dick Woodridge, Dickie Woodridge, Jon Woodworth, George Zeber and Eddie Zosky..
The Many-Many Others- Ryan Abbott, Clayton Andrews, Nancy Amidon, Ashley Anderson, Chet Andrews, Joel Banowit, Kerry Bennett, Lou Benz, Harold Berman, Tom Blanchard, Michael Bragman, Bill Brown, Bob & Thelma Brown, Bob Caferelli, Marie Cahill, Guy Capone, John & Patty Carapella,  Michael Carapella, Judy Carapella, Herm Card,  Mike Cassidy, Rick Cerrone, Dr Richard Cohen, Bobby Comstock Jr, Bob Costas, Jack Cottrell, Steve Davis,  NY State Senator- John DeFransco, John Daino, Dinneen family, Nancy Dockry (daughter of Wally Cazen), Bob Dorgan, Tom Dresh, Gary Dunes, Jim Durkin, Tracy Durkin, Bill Dutch, Bill Eberhardt, Ed & Debbie Elderbroom, Jen Elderbroom, Brain Elwell, Jim Emm, Leonard Engler, Paul Fairbanks, Don Familo, Mike Ferrante, Fifield Family, Bruce Fine, Larry Fitz, Tim Fox, Gary Frenay, Victor Gallucci, Hal Galvin, Tom Ganey, Rick Gary, John Gee II, Joe Glisson, Ed Gonser, Jorge Gonzalez, Mike Greenstein, Murray Hall, Al Halstead, Earl Harrist Family, B.J. Hayes, Bobby Hayes, John Hessmiller, Harold Higham, Dick Holbert, Bill & Steve Hofmann, Dan Hoard, Steve Hyder, Bruce Johnson, Josh Jones, Neil Katz, Patricia Kelly, TJ & Jenna Kenyon, Paul Kiriry, George Kirkpatrick, Sean Kirst, Don Klug, Joseph Kren Jr, Tony Kreuzer, Joe LaGuardia, Bill Lansley, Luke LaPorta, Don Lehtonen, Ronnie Leigh, Tom Leo, Doug Logan, Peter Madden, Armand Magnarelli, Kevin Mahar, Fred Matt & the Matt Family, Dan McCarthy, Dutch Mele family, Crandall Melvin III, Hy Miller, Tony Modafferi, Randy Mobley, Jeff Morey, Jack Morse, Dave Murray, Marty Nave, Dave Novak, Okie, Claude "Red" Parton, Dave Perkins, Bill Pfohl, Leo Pickney, Jim Prendergast family, Jody Pucello, John Reynolds, David Rezak, Charles Rich, Alan "Mr Mint" Rosen. Dan Russo, Tony Russo, Dick Ryan, Jamie Sah, Bob Scalione, Don Schad, April Schad, Jack Schad, Schepp family, Steve Shoen,  Kim Schweitzer, Fred Sears, Paul Shedd, Pete Shedd, Amanda Shevchuk, Alex Simone, Aron Simone, Paul Smith,  Jeff Stier, George Sterzer, Babe Testone, Bud Thevenow, John Vanderwege, Mike Voutsinas, Don Waful, Peter Waful,  Chuck Wainwright, former US Congressman Jim Walsh. Kevin Walsh, Jay Wason Jr. Chris Watson, Tom Weil, Peter White, Joe Whiting, Roger Worboys, Roger Zellweger,

Syracuse Chiefs Baseball Club, International Baseball League, Auburn Doubledays Baseball Club, Onondaga County Park Department, Onondaga Historical Association,  Syracuse Press Club, Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame, New York State Encyclopedia.

USA Olympians-  Natasha Watley, Tariara Mims-Flowers, Tracey Nuveman, Dr. Dot Richardson and UCLA Coach- Sue Enquist

Thanks also to the Syracuse Media- WSYR AM Radio, WSYR TV-9,  WCNY TV, WFBL Radio WHEN Radio, WSEN Radio, WSKO AM, WSYT TV-3, WTVH TV-5, WYYY FM, SUNNY 102 FM, YNN, Post Standard Newspaper, Syracuse New Times, Time Warner Cable Sports

As the former historian of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame (1988-2007) it was my great honor to represent for induction many of Syracuse's greatest players posthumously- Henry McCormick, Mike Dorgan, Bill Dinneen, George "Hooks" Wiltse, Joseph Kren Sr. and Bob Shawkey. What a thrill.

Through the years John Simone and I have spoken many times of forming a Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame to honor not only great Chiefs, SkyChiefs & Stars players, but great Syracuse native professional ball players. In 1998 with Tex Simone's help the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame became a reality. Now we have a vehicle to honor such greats as Grover Cleveland Alexander, Mike Dorgan, Vic Willis, Howard Ehmke, Jim Bottomley, Pepper Martin, Hank Sauer, Jimmy Outlaw, Dutch Mele, Mack Jones, Willie Horton, Jim Northrup, Dave Bergman, Ron Guidry, Thurman Munson,  Fred McGriff, Tony Fernandez, Bobby Cox and two of my favorites Carlos Delgado & Shawn Green.

We are thrilled the fans cherish this Wall of Fame, its a lasting tribute to Syracuse Baseball playera and fans everywhere....

Friday, March 30, 2012


There have been many stories surrounding George Herman "Babe Ruth's" visits to Syracuse. Some true, some false and some magnified with the passing of time. Through my thirty+ year effort to construct the baseball history of Syracuse. Here is a brief history of Babe Ruth's visits for your enjoyment..

August 9, 1922
 Babe Ruth first arrives in Syracuse by train at 7 A.M. with members of the New York Yankees who were in Syracuse for an exhibition game against the Syracuse Stars at Star Park the next afternoon.

At 9 A.M. Babe Ruth placed himself at the disposal of the Herald Newspaper for which he has been a special writer for the past two years. He spent more than an hour at the Herald visiting with employees discussing the major league pennant races and having fun with Buddy O'Hara the eight year old son of E.A. O'Hara business manager who had his son dressed in a Babe Ruth baseball uniform. Also on hand was Faddy Cady son of Alderman Cady to greet the great slugger.

At 10:30 A.M. Ruth and his party departed for Burnet Park. There they found the House of Providence playing a ball game against the Columbia Athletic Club of the Babe Ruth Juvenile League. Already under way, the game was halted for a moment when Ruth arrived. Not only the 5,000 spectators, but the youngsters in the game rushed the auto that Ruth was seated. Mounted police finally came to the Babe's rescue.

At last Ruth himself paved the way to restore order by walking to the center of the diamond declaring himself the games umpire. He ordered the players back to their positions. For four innings the Columbia A.C. ran up a 6 to 1 lead. When Columbia came to bat the "Mighty Bambino" stepped up to bat to the cheer of the crowd. He used a small players game bat that did not suit him but used it anyways. Brenan the crafty House of Providence pitcher struck out the Babe on three swings. Ruth asked for another chance and this time hit it squarely over the right fielder's head. He repeatedly hit singles and doubles in a few more swings. No sooner had he put the bat down the crowd of 5,000 surrounded him. He zigged and zagged finally arriving at his auto. But fans armed with fountain pens, bats, gloves and note books made it impossible to start the vehicle. The Babe's auto moved slowly through the crowd and finally exited the park.

To the surprise of everyone he returned moments later when he remembered he had promised Father James Magee the Paster of St. Patrick's Church a picture together. As the car arrived back in the park this caused one more demonstration. A photo was taken of Ruth with Father Magee along with Biddy O'Hara and Faddy Cady. The Babe then returned to his base of operation the Onondaga Hotel.

August 10, 1922
Ruth played in the exhibition game with the New York Yankees at Star Park (West Genesee Street). The Babe went 1-5 in the game as the Yankees defeated the Syracuse Stars 5-2

August 18, 1923
Babe Ruth and his manager Christy Walsh departed their train at 6:20 Syracuse (on there way to Rochester) arriving at the Herald Newspaper at 7 AM. They met with reporters and stopped for breakfast. Christy Walsh arranged to have 20 cases of Babe Ruth Candy Bars sent to the newspaper as samples. He did a bit of typing and helped with the daily newspaper make-up and became "Editor of the Day". Ruth writes baseball articles daily for the Herald promoting his "All-American Team" nominations, and otherwise keeping sports pages toned up. The Herald was one of the most active papers using the Babe's new stories, promoting his contests, that sent as many as eight winners to the World Series.

At 9 A.M. he stepped out on to a little balcony one story up from the ground on the Herald Building. The Babe started tossing candy bars to the crowd as they passed by. Soon all traffic was blocked in downtown Syracuse. He also makes an appearance at the Municipal Day Celebration at Clinton Square as guest of the Herald Newspaper and the Kiwanis Club.

Ruth and his syndicated manager, Christy Walsh were top in cooperation. There was no half-way about either gentleman. The total visit lasted six and a half hours...a short but great memory in Syracuse Baseball History.

August 19, 1924
Ruth plays in an exhibition game as the Yankees met the Syracuse Stars at Archbold Stadium. The benefit for the Police & Firemen Pension Fund delighted the crowd of 10,000 baseball fans. The Stars defeated the NY Yankees 12-8 with Ruth going 2-4. During batting practice "The Babe" hit the longest ball ever out of the stadium. It went totally over the press box in right field.

October 4, 1927
Babe Ruth appears at the Temple Theater promoting his new film "Babe Come Home". Note- The films opening night was October 2.

October 14, 1928
Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig arrive in Syracuse for an exhibition game at Star Park- West Genesee Street. But the game was canceled by rain so they attended the Syracuse- Colgate football game played at Archbold Stadium.

October 21, 1928
A week later, Ruth & Gehrig returned for the rescheduled exhibition contest at Star Park. Ruth's Bustin Babes" team comprised of players from the Post Standard League Champion Scared Hearts team that included Al & Reggie Grabowski. Gehrig teamed up with some of Central NewYork's finest player's such as Bill Kelly, Jimmy Walsh and Henry "Dutch" Dotterer. Prior to the start of the contest "The Babe" downed eighteen hot dogs before taking the field at Star Park that afternoon.

The finals score- Gehrig's-9, Ruth's-2, the Bambino went 1-4. Ruth played first base and pitched. Bill Kelly was the star as he hit a tremendous home run off Ruth. Ruth was quoted as saying " Bill hit it so far it may never land". After the game Ruth, Gehrig and the players partied into the night at the Haberle Brewery on Butternut Street.

June 4, 1938
Ruth appears in an exhibition game as his Brooklyn Dodgers played the Syracuse Chiefs at what was then called Municpal Stadium (renamed MacArthur in 1942). Although a Dodger coach, Ruth played first base getting a single in three trips to the plate. The final  score- Dodgers 9, Chiefs 0, before 11,600 fans.

June 4, 1947
The Babe's last visit to Syracuse. Ruth arrives by plane from New York City. He establishes his headquarters at the Onondaga Hotel as a guest of the American Legion.

Babe Ruth's's visit is in connection with his promotion of Juvenile Baseball for the Ford Motor Company. Ford Dealers of America were loaning his services to American Legion Baseball Leagues. The Babe will attend Legion Night at MacArthur Stadium in July 5, Central New York Post #41's team will play against Cooper Marina Post of Rochester in the first half of a Syracuse Chiefs doubleheader.

June 5, 1947
Ruth attends the game with his nurse Muriel Holland and was seated along side of friends Jimmy Walsh (ex-teammate), George "Hooks" Wiltse, Bill Dinneen and Ben Egan, 9,000 fans were on hand as "The Babe" wore a dark brown suit and a tan hit. His speech read "I played in Syracuse many times, and I'm sure glad to be back". Ruth's gravel voice was a result of a serious neck operation. His few remarks climaxed the American Legion festivities.

Ben Egan presented "The Babe" was a silver pitcher from the Oneida Community. Ruth the recalled Ben Egan then as a Yankee rookie catcher. Ben called for a waste pitch, Ruth threw one waste high. "That was the last time we ever saw that ball, said the Babe.

With Ben Egan as catcher, Jimmy Walsh on the mound, "Hooks" Wiltse on first base and Bill Dinneen as umpire. "The Babe" stepped up to the plate for a swing, Walsh's pitch was wide and Ruth gave it up. H was driven out of the stadium after making his speech. The last sight Syracusan's ever had of the mighty Babe as he died a year later.

Other Visits
Babe Ruth made other visits to Syracuse, some to purchase autos from the Franklin Auto Company on Geddes Street. He also purchased many of his bats from the Joseph G. Kren Bat Company on the city's northside.

The Babe Ruth sage continued into the 1980's, as his daughter Dorthy (Ruth) Perone and her husband Dominick were very special guest of the Syracuse Chiefs at "Hot Stove Night". Their grandson was attending Syracuse University at the time. We are sorry to say that they both died a short time after. Syracuse baseball lost two very special fans.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


One very special story that has to be told is that of the Joseph G. Kren Bat Company Joe Kren was born in Vienna, Austria in 1868. He served as a wood-turner's apprentice in Germany before arriving in America in the 1880's. He first settled in Jordon, N.Y. moving to Syracuse a short time later. Joe Kren was employed by the wood shop of Kent-Bupee. While in their employ he became interested in the game of baseball.

Most neighborhood boys were now playing this popular game using sticks to hit with as none could afford manufactured bats. Joe Kren spent many lunch hours making wooden stick bats for his young neighbors. His love for the game soon found him managing a team of Syracuse youths. He made bats for each player and soon the word spread of their excellence.

A gifted artist. Mr. Kren took great pride in each and every bat he made. Soon many semi-pro and professional teams requested the Kren model bats, With each order he tried to build a better bat, his reputation spread across the entire nation. The Kren Bat Company manufactured over five million baseball bats right here in Syracuse. Mr. Kren and his son's Frank, Henry, Walter and Joseph Jr. supplied bats for many major league clubs that included, Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics and the New York Giants. Kren bats were also popular with Internationals League clubs as Montreal, Toronto, Buffalo and Syracuse. His "Kren's Specials" were used by such players as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Mel Ott, Frankie Frisch, Jimmy Foxx, Eddie Collins, Honus Wagner, Jimmy Walsh and Bill Kelly.

The original factory at 114 Beecher Street turned out about 12,00 bats a year. By 1940 that number had jumped to 110,000. The factory was destroyed by fire in 1939, them relocated to the Easy Washer building at 717 Clinton Street and then to their final location at 212 Bear Street. Kren Bats were sold in every state along with Mexico, Canada and Europe.

Holy Trinity Church honored Joe Kren in 1952 as there "Man of the Year". Many greats from the world of sports were present. Connie Mack, Jack Dempsey, Warren Giles. Honus Wagner, Gene Tunney, Al Cervi, Frank Shaughnessy, George Stroh, Roy Simmons Sr and New York Giants president Horace Stoneham.

In addition to being a pioneer in his field, Joseph Kren was believed to be the oldest living bat manufacturer in the United States. He once told Syracuse resident & International League Hall of Famer Bill Kelly "Bill if you use these bats you'll hit a home run every time". Well Bill almost did as he blasted 44 homer to lead the International League.

Joesph Kren left us on September 18, 1953. Tributes coming from every corner of the country saluting this great man. The Kren Bat Company was eventually sold to the Wood Shovel and Tool Company of Whilte Mills, Pa. Mr. Kren's tools were donated to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. Joseph G. Kren was inducted into the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame in 2011.

May 16, 1937, Syracuse sports columnist Jimmy Daley picked his "All-Time Modern All-Star Native Syracuse Baseball Team". This team, listed below list players from 1900 through 1937. They are-

Bill Dinneen. Doc Scanlon, George "Hooks' Wiltse, Reggie Grabowski, Bob Becker & Al Grabowski

Bill Stroh, Joe McCarthy & George Stroh

Bill Kelly, Billy Dunn, Jimmy Doyle & Billy O'Brien

Jimmy Walsh, Dick Trainor & Walter Tobin

Best Utility - George Stroh

In an interview I had with Bill Kelly (then 90) the three time International League Hall of Fame and the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Famer claimed one player was missing from that list. That name was Parker Knapp. Kelly stated 'Kanpp was one of the great players and the best  pure hitter I've ever seen, to bad he spent his entire career playing semi-pro". That exception is three games Knapp played for the Syracuse Stars  in 1920.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


At the Syracuse Chiefs Hot Stove Event at the  Liverpool, Holiday Inn last night (Feb 3). Syracuse Wall of Fame Committee Chairman Ron Gersbacher announce the "New" Class of Inductees for 2012.. This years Class will include  slugger Carlos Delgado ( Toronto, Florida & NY Mets) who was on hand to accept his induction plaque. Others to be inducted on August 18, 2012 will be Stu Pederson, Scott McGregor, Dan Clark, Frank Riccelli and Philip S. Ryder

The Hot Stove Event attended by close to 400 fans started at 7 PM. A large silent auction was held to benefit Chiefs Charities. The event MC was Doug Logan who did a splendid job.

Special guests included-  from the Washington Nationals- Bob Boone (Ast GM/ VP of Player Development), Doug Harris (Director of Player Development), Bryan Minnitti (Asst General Manager), Mark Scialabba (Director of Minor League Operations) Ryan Thomas (Coordinator of Minor League Operations). International League President Randy Mobley, former major league pitcher Bill Monbouquette, Chiefs new manager- Tony Beasley, and Chiefs infielder Seth Bynum.

Director Bill Eberhardt introduced Mike Frost of Ovations Food Serice the new stadium concessioner
Director/Lease Committee Chairman- Bob Scalione announced the the Chiefs & Onondaga had come to an agreement on a new stadium lease.Then introduced County Executive Joanne Mahoney. The lease would be voted on by the Onondaga County Legislature on Tuesday Feb 7.

Chiefs Awards- Presented
Tom Higgins Bullpen Chiefs Award- George Schunck
 Jake Meyers-Great Guy Award- Victor Gallucci

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


With the departure of the Syracuse Stars there wouldn't be professional baseball until the formation of the Syracuse Chiefs some five years later. But Syracuse baseball was not dead. The Post Standard, Journal (Journal-American League) and the Herald Newspaper;'s all sponsored great semi-pro baseball leagues between 1930 and 1934. Also various organizations sponsored pro exhibition contests at Star Park. A few of the more memorable games were- August 7, 1939, the Philadelphia Phillie's with Chuck Klein and Tommy Thevenow downed Liverpool 10-1. September 9, 1930- the Pittsburgh Pirates stopped Skaneatles and pitcher Reggie Grabowski 9-1. The Pirates brought Pie Traynor, Paul & Lloyd Waner and Max Carey. August 6, 1931- the House of David with Grover Cleveland Alexander defeated the Byrne Sieberlings 5-3 in a game played in Fulton, NY. This classic contest was played before only 2,000 people.

The Byrne Sieberlings (1920-30's) sponsored by the J. P. Byrne Tire Company featured some of Syracuse's greatest semi-pro ball players. George & Oscar Dear, Tommy Allen, Andy Burns, Henry "Dutch" Dotterer Sr, Don Miller (1927 NY Yankee), Vic Hanson (SU All-American, "Gotch" Carr,  Louis "Doc" Morgan. and Parker Knapp the greatest hiiting in CNY semi-pro history

In a sad moment July 3, 1931, the Star Park grandstand and bleachers were destroyed by fire. The fire started during the third innings of the LeMoyne Athletic Club- Sacred Heart game. Six houses and seven auto's were slightly damaged and estimates were listed at several thousand dollars.

Long time sports writer, Jimmy Daley articles called "Sixty Years of Baseball in Syracuse" recalls. "Central New York has always had some of New York States greatest semi-pro nines". "Back in 1894, the strongest rivalries were between the Shamrocks, Ironsides and the Pastime Athletic Club". "The Shamrocks had a big Irish following from the cities West End". "The Pastimes had a strong German following from the cities north side, while The Ironsides were prime favorites with east side fans".

Patty and John Dorsey's west side nine known as the Shamrocks were the first to showcase the talents of the great pitcher Bill Dinneen. Dinneen's talent was not noticed by the hometown Stars, but signed on with Toronto. He would become the first American League pitcher to win three games in the first World Series  of 1903 as a member of the Boston Pilgrims. Bill was also inducted in Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame.

The Shamrocks lineup at various time featured Dinneen along with George & Bill Stroh (Red Sox), Mike & Pete Moriarity, Gene Ryan, Jim O'Neil, Dan Crowe, Mike Phillips, Steve Marooney, Ted Ryan, Ned Barry, Harry Hogan and Syracuse Chief of Police Tom Carroll at name a few.

The Pastime Athletic Club was led by pitchers Eddie Goettel (long time grounds keeper at MacArthur Stadium) and George Villeman.

At the turn of the century St. Cecilia's nine became City League Champion under president James Doyle and manager Bob Keefe. Led by Bill "Bobby" Scanlon (later called "Doc" soon signed with Brooklyn), Billy O'Brien (signed by Athletics), Lou Salmon (Notre Dame), Charlie DeMong (later Syracuse Stars owner in 1918) and Billy & John Dunn (sons of Stars founder John J. Dunn), Chuck Freeman (Princeton) and Nick Peters (Manhattan College), George Ford, Lew Long and Joe Dempsey.

St. Cecilas managed by Art Keefe would meet the powerful Shamrocks in a best of three contests. Athletic Field was the site as 3,500 fans paid a 25-cent admission. Bobby Scanlon defeated Gene Ryan to win game one. In game two, it was scoreless for seven innings. Shamrocks scored two in the eighth, St Cecilas tied it in the ninth on Billy O'Briens's double. Then Billy Dunn the Syracuse High School phenom (baseball & football) hit a home run with two on and two outs to win the game for St. Cecilas 5-2.

Billy Dunn went on to play for the Stars and enjoyed 20+ years in the sport. He ended his baseball career as freshman baseball coach at Syracuse University. Both Billy O'Brien and "Doc" Scanlon attended Fordham College. Scanlon transferred to Syracuse University's Medical School and hurled for the S.U. varsity for one season on his way to the major leagues.

Tom Malone's Foresters featured a number of the cities formidable players. Former Cincinnati pitcher - Henry Fournier led a who's who of great baseball talent. Joe McCarthy, Walter Tobin, Frank Stroh (Boston), Peck Malone, Jimmy Daley, Jack Gallaghrer and Billy Dunn.

Other team's worth mentioning were the Nettleton Shoe Company (Whitey Bach, George & Oscar Dear), Emeralds (Paul Steinberg), Ermines (George There, Eddie Goettel), Jackson's (Dick Trainor, Tom Rafferty), H.H. Franklin's (Bill Kelly), Iona's (Walt Harnish, Bill Savage), Liverpool (George Orth), Electras (Tad Gaughan), Long Branch Stars ( Bernie Maurer), Burns Athletic Club (Andy Burns), Brown Lipe-Chapin Co (Parker Knapp) and the Seymours (Jimmy Walsh, Jimmy Doyle).

Both Jimmy Walsh and Jimmy Doyle would become major leagues. Walsh played professionally with Connie Mack's Athletics, Yankees and Red Sox. Jimmy Doyle's story is not to happy. He played a number of seasons in the old Western League then signed with the Cincinnati Reds. It was then on to the Chicago Cubs. Doyle played along side the trio known as Tinkers to Evers to Chance (all Hall of Famers) double play combination. I'm sad to report that Jimmy Doyle died on February 1 as a result of complications from a appendicitis operation. Jimmy Doyle's death was probably the saddest story in Syracuse's long baseball history. Doyle left a wife and young child. The Chicago Cubs would play a benefit game in Syracuse with all proceeds going to the Doyle family.

With the newly created interest in the Herald-American and Post Standard League's in the 1930's. Syracuse Mayor Rolly Marvin resided to build a new 3,000 seat ball park. Two locations were put under advisory. First Kirk Park, it could handle all over flow weekend crowds. But indignation voiced by several committees of south side residence visited city hall to oppose building a stadium at the Kirk Park location. Then residence from a wide area on each side of the Kirk Park location joined in protest.

Meanwhile George Easterly an Alderman of the 1st Ward put in an application for the ball field to be located on the LeMoyne Park tract (near Hiawatha Blvd) on the cities north side. Mr. Easterly declared that the 1st Ward will become the new park with open arms. The LeMoyne tract's 28 acres has ample area to accommodate it.

The Herald Newspaper of April 25, 1933 reported. "Mayor Marvin was satisfied to accept judgement of the south side residents not to locate the new ball park at Kirk Park and placed it in a district that really wants it, the north side".

Herald newspaper sports editor Bob Kenefick was instrumental in having parks built in Oswego, Fulton, Liverpool, Rome, Cortland, Long Branch Park and Watertown for the Journal-American semi-pro league in 1933. The teams represented were, Auburn, Oswego, Camden, Liverpool, Fulton along with Syracuse's Marksons, Byrne Sieberlings and Chappie Johnson's All-Stars (an all black team). That first season Don Miller's Oswego team defeated the Marksons for the league championship.

In the next few years new teams as the Brooklyn Royal Giants, Ithaca, Cortland. Leaburys Clothing Store, the Syracuse Black Chiefs, Utica-Camden and the Mohawk Black Giants all enjoyed success. Auburn won the league title in 1934, Ithaca in 1935, and Mohawk in 1936.

 What was called one of the greatest semi-pro encounter ever in Central New York, pitted the Marksons against Oswego before 5,486 fans at Long Branch park in 1933. Al Grabowski the former St. Louis Cardinal and ex-Syracuse Star, took the mound for the Marksons. Don Miller formerly of Central High, University of Michigan, N.Y. Yankee of 1927, and great semi-pro hurled for the Oswego Zetts. Both clubs were fighting for the league championship. The game was scoreless going into the eleventh frame. Routcliff of Oswego hit a double off Grabowski, then sacrificed to third, and scored on a long fly ball as Oswego won this great contest 1-0.

1933, was also the year the House of David returned, this time with 'Hall of Fame" pitcher Chiefs Bender on the mound. Bender's team played two games against local teams on August 8 & 9. In the first game they defeated Byrne Sieberlings 13-8, but the next day was defeated by Chappie Johnson's (Negro) All-Stars 5-4. This was the first defeat handed the House of David against a Syracuse team in five years.

A few weeks later Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics paid a visit. 2,500 attended the August 30. 1933 game at Long Branch Park. There opponents were the Marksons managed by ex-Athletic Jimmy Walsh. Philadelphia brought with them Jimmy Foxx, Max Bishop, Doc Framer, Bing Miller and "Lefty" Groves. Dick Garrett and :Lefty" Groves pitched against John Conner and "Foxey" Sagehorn. The Marksons were led by  Ken Beagle (SU  Basketball's Reindeer Five), Jimmy Walsh and John Zilbertiu. The 10-4 Athletic victory wasn't the real story that day.

"Lefty" Groves pitched the ninth inning. As Groves entered the game the Athletic outfielders left their positions and entered the infield. With no outfielders he proceeded striking out the first three Markson batters. First, Bob Williams on three pitches, then Paul Glover on three pitches, and finally Steve Nuthatch on three pitches (one a foul ball). The three batters had struck out on 9 pitched balls.

Herald Journal columnist Joe Ganley reminisced about the game. "Ed Markson the Syracuse native and team mascot still has vivid memories of that game". Markson remembers, "When Groves went to the mound at the insistence of Jimmy Walsh the Markson players cried out against it, frightened at the speed of Groves pitches". "If that ball hits you in the head it will kill you". Markson remembers that the umpire calling balls and strikes was so frightened at the though of a Groves fastball that he umpired from behind the pitcher's mound the last inning.

Grove's 31-4 pitching record had led the Athletics to the American League championship back in 1931. He also won the league's "MVP" Award that season just nosing out the "Iron Horse" Lou Gehrig.

Friday, January 27, 2012


With the transfer of the St. Louis Cardinals to Rochester professional baseball appeared doomed leaving Syracuse without International League Baseball. Warren Giles & Branch Rickey name's were the most disliked at this juncture of Syracuse baseball history. Given the opportunity to leave with the Cardinals and relocate in Rochester, Michael J. Kelly the longtime team secretary decided to remain in Syracuse. He invested his own personal funds, solicited Harry Ryan and John Putnam for the balance and purchased the Shamokin franchise in an attempt to bring professional baseball back to Syracuse. A franchise was secured in the New York Pennsylvania League. Stock was sold at $100 per share, and a total of 250 shares were issued. Mr. Kelly needed all his 27 years of experience in baseball to promote this lower class of pro ball. Mike served as president, secretary and treasurer of the 1928 Stars team and managed to bring the club through a trying season, although taking a personal financial loss..

 Mr. Kelly secured the services of Michael Joyce O'Neil to manager the the club to another sixth place finish (64-74), with Harrisburg taking the league title. But the 1928 Stars did posses some good hitters and finished third in team batting. Players like Syracuse University products. Harlon "Gotch" Carr (.291) and Vic Hanson (.244). Along with Harry Davis, Booby Reece, Bob Richards, Lew Wilski  and John Roseberry.  Roseberry would lead in New York State League in doubles with 40. The pitchers having the greatest success were John  Doyle (14-10), Paul "Sheriff" Sherman (13-14) and John Milligan (12-7). Milligan was sold to the Philadelphia Nationals on August 5 to bring in some badly needed income. Local semi-pro pitching sensation Ray Mertens also made his pro debut at Star Park (West Genesee St.) that colorless season.

Looking back on the many memorable moments in Syracuse Baseball History, the one event that many old-timers still talk about today is the Babe Ruth - Lou Gehrig exhibition played at Star Park on October 21, 1928.

During the 1920 & 30's. ballplayers would  'barnstorm" after the playing season, playing from city to city earning extra money. Lou Gehrig & Babe Ruth two of baseball's greatest name, would pick up local semi-pro and professional players in each city and put on a show. The game in Syracuse was arranged by Ruth's agent Christy Walsh. But despite a rainstorm that had washed out the affair a week earlier, the parties agreed to play the following weekend to the cities delight.

The "Bambino" would team up with the Post Standard League Champions the Sacred Heart Athletic Club. The Sacred Hearts included  Al & Reggie Grabowski, Emmitt Slake, Oscar Dear, Frank Mack, Joe Orsell, John Crouse, Joe Stanski, Bill Skay, Tony Weaver and a youngster John Rutkowski. Rutkowski, who six years later would become the box office manager of the Syracuse Chiefs. A position he held for the next 45 years.

Gehrig's All-Stars consisted of International League home run champion Bill Kelly ( I.L Hall of Famer), Jimmy Walsh (who played with the Athletics, Yankees and Red Sox), Dutch Dotterer Sr. (Cardinals). and semi-pro players- Parker Knapp, Ed Ryan, Bob Tubbert. Lukes Diamonds, Jim Kerwin, Billy Eisemann (S.U.), Tom Costello, Ray Mertens (Stars) and George Dear.

Over 3,500 fans packed tiny Star Park as the "Larrupin Lou's" defeated the "Bustin Babes" 9-2. Gehrig thrilled the on-lookers by blasting a home run in four at bats. While Bill Kelly took a Babe Ruth pitch deep and pounded out three hits. Ruth was considered by many as one of greatest pitchers of his era before moving to the outfield full time. Ruth was quoted as saying "I pitched pretty good that inning until I threw to Bill Kelly and he hit the ball so far out of the park they may never find it".

The Babe played first base, and singled in four trips to the plate before replacing Al Grabowski on the mound. Centerfielder Jimmy Walsh had two hits, while Henry "Dutch" Dotterer singled in five trips.

The game was a success, and afterwards both Ruth and Gehrig took time to sign everyone's baseballs and scorecards. Lunch was served at what known in the 1960-80's as Del's Fish Fry on State Fair Blvd. Former owner Stella Stevens recalls Babe downing 18 hot dogs before he took the field that afternoon.. A post game party was held at Haberles Brewery on Butternut Street on the city's north side. Ruth watched a customer lie on his back with a glass of beer on his forehead and stand up without spilling a drop. This was to much for the Babe, so on a bet he claimed he could do the same. A hour or so later, covered with beer the "Mighty Bambino" had met his match at the amusement of all.

In the early spring of 1929, Michael J. Kelly could not keep the team afloat. The Stars went through bankruptcy. After only a $250 offer at the bankruptcy hearing was not accepted, H.P Jergensen and Joseph Lechick purchased the team from the bank. The price did not include uniforms and equipment as they had already been sold. Mike Kelly served as secretary of Shamokin and Scranton clubs in the N.Y.P. League for the next two years. Then made his home in Buffalo for a year, but in ill health and missing his Syracuse friends, returned to this city. Michael J. Kelly remained a baseball figure as he served as first president of the Post Standard Baseball League. His happiest days were realized in 1942, when the Syracuse Chiefs battled in the Little World Series. Upon pro baseball's return a few years later, Mike Kelly became one of the Syracuse Chiefs greatest rooter, Sadly Mike Kelly left us on November 3, 1942,

The New York Penn League opened on April 30, 1929 with a 5-2 victory over Binghamton. New manager was Irving "Kasier" Wilhelm could only achieve fifth place by June. The club was still losing money and could not make payroll. On June 2, the Stars were taken over by the league. This was a result of backer from Rochester bid for the club was denied. Their bid was withdrawn after a disagreement with N.Y.P. League president John H. Farrell. Manager Wilhelm tried to scrap money to pay the players, but on June 15, 1929, the franchise was shifted to Hazelton, Pa as their record read 19-23. Wilhelm not only lost his financial help, but his managerial position upon the teams transfer. The Syracuse Star had made its last hit and scored its last run. It's name now though of only as a baseball legend.

Note- This was not the only time Syracuse fans didn't except the lower class of pro ball, it would happen again following the 1955 season when the Chiefs I.L. franchise was sold to Miami, Florida interests. For a second time the NYP League was tied (by Joe Reardon) but to no avail. The 1957 Chiefs were shifted  to Allentown, Pa in July 1957. Maybe we can learn something as it happening twice. Maybe the Syracuse baseball fans did not, and will not except or support a lower class of professional baseball. ?


In 1925, new faces appeared, "Henie" Meine won 17 games. Binghamton, NY' native  "Wild Bill" Hallahan was sold to St Louis after just eight appearances. Tommy Thevenow a sparkling young defensive shortstop arrived, Franklyn Wetzel hit .319, and the first professional appearances of local Syracuse pitching phenom Al Grabowski.  Grabowski the former semi-pro pitcher with the Sacred Hearts won 6 and lost but 2 games. At seasons end, Tommy Thevenow would be selected as  the International League's All-Star shortstop. Second team selections included- George Krahn and "Henie" Meine. Note Thevenow would later be inducted into the Syracuse Baseball Hall of Fame.

A quick note- my father Frank W. Gersbacher as a youth witnessed Thevenows play at Star Park that season and considered him the top defensive shortstop he had ever seen. Now that's a big statement for dad to make as he also witnessed the great skills of shortstops  Ray Oyler (Detroit years) and Tony Fernandez (Blue Jay years) in later life

Another new International League record was set by Star's second sacker Garde "Whitey" Gialasen in the first half of a double header against Rochester on September 3. The day Gialasen made 11 putouts in a regulation nine inning contest, behind winning pitcher Fred Frankhouse. The old mark was set by John "Cub" Stricker of Providence in a extra inning contest vs (10) vs Binghamton May 18, 1894..

After a years absence, two more exhibition contests dotted the Stars schedule. June 19, the Stars took revenge by hammering the St. Louis Cardinals 12-2. Rogers Hornsby and company could gather only five hits off Star hurler Bill Ward. The second, a date to remember, the appearance of one George Herman "Babe" Ruth with the New York Yankees. On that day August 19, 1924, the "Mighty Bambino" singled twice in four tries and the Stars downed the New Yorkers 12-8. That game was held in Archbold Stadium before 10,000 screaming fans. The highlight may have happened before the contest even started. As the :Mighty Babe" hit a batting practice pitch out of Archbold Stadium over the top of the press box. roof in right field. Some fans there that day called it "The longest ball ever hit out of Archbold".

Henry "Hi" Myers took charge of the Stars on Decoration Day 1925, replacing Frank Shaughnessy under who's leadership the Stars had won just 10 of 39 games. When the season ended the Stars were in sixth place (74-87). Under "Hi" Myers they played .525 ball and that was better than all other teams except Baltimore and Toronto.

Roy Fairman article on "Famous Syracuse Games" states "One of the features of the "Hi" Myers reign was the transformation (temporary) of Fred Frankhouse from pitcher to outfielder". :Frankhouse became a permanent outfielder around July 20 and in 64 games had 17 assists and started five double plays". "In Baltimore one afternoon he threw men out at second, third and at the plate". " Frankhouse was signed by Charley Kelchner for the Cardinals". "He then came to the Stars while Ernest Landraf was team president, in a deal that let St. Louis obtain Jewel Ens". Frankhouse's five year stint with the Stars led to the major leagues with St' Louis and the Boston Braves.

Tommy Thevenow was again rock steady at short, Chick Hafey (later to be a Hall of Famer) patrolled center field for 21 games batting .285, Dan Clark broke the Star record for :hitting percentage at .364, followed by Bert Griffith at .337, Fred Frankhouse .332, ":Wattie" Holm .326, "Hi" Myers .316 and George Krahe .301.

 The major event of the 1925 season was Al Grabowski's 1-0 no-hitter vs Providence on August 22. The no-hitter was in the first of a scheduled doubleheader that saw the winning run score with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. Grabowski would pitch our home opened April 30 and win 15 games, his most successful as a Star hurler.

One player not mentioned in any record book as played in Syracuse  is Rick Farrell. Farrell another "Hall of Famer" played in a pre-season contest under the name of Rick Richards

After being rained out on July 21, the St. Louis Cardinals returned to the enjoyment of the Syracuse baseball loyalist for an exhibition September 1. This time the Cardinal's lineup was loaded with young talent. Jim Bottomley, Chuck Hafey, "Henie" Mueller, Lester Bell, Tommy Thevenow, Specs Toporcer and the veteran Rogers Hornsby who led the Cardinals to a victory that day 5-4.

Warren Giles replaced Phial Bartleme as club president in 1926. Mr. Giles had bet Branch Rickey back in 1920, went he had been working with Minneapolis optioning players from St. Louis and officiating football games to supplement his income. In later years, Mr. Giles would become President of the Cincinnati Reds, then President of the National League. Bert Shotten was signed as Stars manager and had more changes than wins. A seventh place finish didn't tell the whole story of the 1926 season.

John "Pepper" Martin dubbed in St. Louis the "Wild Horse of the Osage" graced a Stars uniform for a mere $325 a month. He alternated between third base and shortstop under Bert Shotton. Rumors were that "Pepper" arrived for Stars spring training camp at Greenwood, So. Carolina by jumping off a railroad freight car. Martin saved some of his monthly salary and was able to buy a second hand Model T Ford automobile for his return home to Oklahoma. Before his departure he was presented with a new shotgun, by grateful Syracuse fans.

In one of the strangest happenings, Bert Shotton let "Pepper" Martin pitch part of the eighth inning against Newark on September 1, When "Pepper" entered the clubhouse following the game he took with him this record: Batters pitched to 6, runs 4, hits 1, walks 2, hit batsmen 1, men retired 1 with a earned run average of 36.00. Joe Brown the Newark player hit by Martin was carted off to a local hospital and remained there for five days being unconscious for two.

"Pepper" Martin single-handled stole the 1931 World Series from the heavily favored Philadeplhia Athletics. In the first five games, he went 12 for 13, with five RBI's, five stolen bases and scored five runs. Martin was part of what was known as the "Gas House Gang" teaming with Dizzy & Paul Dean, Leo Durocher. "Ducky" Medwick, "Wild Bill" Hallahan and Central New Yorker (Mexico) "Rip" Collins. "Pepper" Martin is also a member of the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame.

The International League All-Star team of 1926, showed Star- Walter Roettger, Dan Clark and Ed Dyer all first team selections. This squad also included two native Syracuan's Bill Kelly (1b) and Jimmy Walsh (of) both played for the Buffalo Bisons. Both Kelly & Walsh would also be inducted into the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame.

Dan Clark (age 32) hit an amazing .364, while setting another International League record on July 17, 1926. Clarks' record is for most RBI's (9) in a nine inning contest. Clark a left-handed batter, hit a grand slam home run and then hit another with two men on. He then doubled in one more, so did an infield out in a 15-12 victory over Jersey City. Note- Dan Clark's 31 home runs that season was another Star record that would not be broken until Hank Sauer hit 50 in 1947 at MacArthur Stadium.

Key Star team members of note: Frank Hurst (.331). John Jones (.329), Fred Frankhouse (.314) Walter Roettger (.304), Bart Morrow (.303). "Pepper" Martin (.300), Al Kapl (.296) with pitchers Ed Dyer (12-6), Fred Frankhouse (9-11), Al Grabowski (6-11) and Russ Miller 12-15).

Managed again by Bert Shotton, the Stars won 102 games in 1927, but still finished second to Bill Clymer's Buffalo Bisons. At Buffalo's Offerman Stadium on July 31, Star pitcher Sylvester "Sly" Johnson no-hit the Bisons 2-0. Johnson at age 26, won 18 and lost 13 that year and Stars home attendance totalled 174,059

William Anthony "Wild Bill' Hallahan held the International League record for striking out six successive batters and fanned a total of 15 men in a seven inning game. The game was played on September 4, 1927, as the Star defeated the Reading Keys 14-0. Hallahan was bought in 1924 by the Cardinals for $2,500. Called "Wild Bill' for his wildness, he led the I.L. with 190 strikeouts in 1927.

Other baseball firsts. May 26, 1927, WSYR Radio broadcasts the first baseball game to Syracuse listeners The announcer was Lawrence Skiddy sports editor of the Herald Newspaper. The score of that first broadcast, Star 5, Buffalo Bison 3, with the victory going to Sly Johnson. The second broadcast happened  June 4, with  Francis Woolever another Syracuse newspaper sports columnist called the action between  Rochester and Syracuse that ended in a 8-8 tie.

The Stars held one more special day (August 28, 1927) honoring long time club secretary, Michael J. Kelly. Mr. Kelly became secretary of the Stars back in 1901. In 1920, he became secretary of the Syracuse International League club and remained in their employ, some 22 years. He is referred to as the stepfather of modern baseball in Syracuse.

 Finally the World Champion St Louis Cardinals paid a final visit to this city on July 6. It was a rain shortened four inning game won by St. Louis 8-5. In this contest Central New Yorkers got an opportunity to see the great "Hall of Famer" Frankie Frisch.  Frisch came to the Cardinals in a trade with the New York Giants for Rogers Hornsby. Another Cardinal worth mentioning is right fielder Billy Southworth. Southworth is the uncle of longtime Corcoran High School baseball coach Bob Southworth.

The team best hitters were Gus Mancuso (.372). Del Gainor (.329), Zipper Peel (.328), Al Kapl (.326) Howard Williamson (.326) Frank Hurst (.323) Harry Layne (.323, Red Urbam (.316) and Decon Selph (.309) On the mound "Wild Bill' Hallahan (19-11)., Hal Haid (15-11), and Russ Miller (15-11), Harry Lane led the International League in stolen bases with 48. Finally Joe Brown was named the Stars "Most valuable Player". Brown played brilliantly all season and was a great man when it came to team-play.

During the 1927 season President Warren Giles had ask the City of Syracuse to build a much larger home stadium. Giles is quoted saying " I again putting temporary bleachers to handle the hordes of bugs that don't seem to know Syracuse still has a ball club".

Marty Nave in his article "MacArthur Stadium, The First 50 Years" described what happened next. The fans had high hopes for a 1928 league pennant until January 16th when Stars President Warren Giles completed a deal selling the Syracuse franchise to Jersey City for $50,000. The existing club in Jersey City had been moved to Montreal by the Donnelly  Brothers for $250,000. The Stars working agreement with the parent St. Louis Cardinals was then shifted to Rochester, thus forming the Rochester Red Wings (Red Wings of the Cardinals).

This left Syracuse with a very large problem...No professional baseball.