Capital Region Baseball Timeline
Part III: 1931-1950
1931 - Frederick DeBeer of J. DeBeers & Sons invents the 12-inch "Clincher" softball with
revolutionary hidden seams.
- Albany Negro Giants are renamed the Albany Black Sox.
- Red Rolfe with Albany (EL)â€”bats .333 in 58 games as a shortstop.
- New York Yankees and Babe Ruth play Albany Senators at Hawkins Stadium before 6,300
fans. Ruth homers twice. (July 30).
- Future AL southpaw Rip Coleman born in Troy (July 31)
- North Adams native Happy Jack Chesbro dies at Conway, Mass. (November 6)
1932 - Mohawk Giants, under Buck Ewing, join State Semi-Pro League.
- Albany Black Sox join the hitherto all-white Arbor Hill Twilight League.
- Eastern League collapses on July 17; Albany loses franchise. When league collapses Albany's
Moose Solters leads circuit with 76 RBIs; teammate Ted Norbert leads with .372 average.
- Albany returns to Organized Baseball with International League, as Joe Cambria purchases
Reading Keys for $9,000 and moves them to Albany. Future major leaguers with Albany: Bobo
Newsom (7-7, 5.28 ERA), Milburn Shoffner (3-1, 2.51), George McQuinn (5 HR, 65 RBI, .
345) and Vito Tamulis (9-3). Former major league southpaws George Milstead (10-17, 4.56 )
and John Jones and former major league outfielders George Quellich (9 HR, 53 RBI, .313) and
Red Bennett and former A's first baseman Jim Poole also with club.
1933 - In a 6-inning Albany Twilight League game at Daum's Park Edsall Walker no-hits the
PNA (Polish National Alliance) club 7-0, striking out 11. Walker helps himself with a triple and
two singles.(October 22).
- All-black Brookwoods join the six-team Arbor Hill Twilight Leagueâ€”finish last and disband
at season's end.
- Future major leaguers Babe Phelps (122 games, .293, 10 homers, 70 RBIs), Jake Powell (1
HR, 12 RBI, .250), Del Young (0 Hr, 0 RBI, .318), Bud Thomas (0-0, 27.00), Bill McGhee
(0 HR, 4 RBI, .250), Gus Dugas (2 HR, 19 RBI, .379), Ray Prim (14-10, 3.42) and Stan
Hack (92 games, .299) and Troy-native Marcus Philley with Albany. Philley one-hits Buffalo
during the season. Former major league southpaws George Milstead and John Jones and
former Detroit outfielder George Quellich (0 HR, 2 RBI, .294) also with club.
1934 - Catcher Clyde Sukeforth (.200 in games) with Albany; will later scout Jackie Robinson
for Branch Rickey. Also with Albany: future ML outfielder Jake Powell (20 HR, 71 RBI, .361),
future major league catcher Frankie Hayes (also with Buffalo), future major leaguers Del Young
(0 HR, 1 RBI, .000), Pep Young (2 HR, 11 RBI, .208), Gus Dugas (5 HR, 44 RBI .371), Bill
Harris (9-2) and Ray Prim (4-6, 5.06), Kewpie Dick Barrett (6-4, 2.64). Outfielder Fred
Sington, a future member of the Football Hall of Fame, leads the IL with 147 RBIs and bats .
327; Cy Blanton paces circuit with 165 strikeouts.
- With Toronto ahead 13-11 in the 10th inning, Hawkins Stadium fans shower the field with
pop bottles. The game is forfeited to Toronto.
- Semi-pro Copake Falls All-Stars form.
- Bleecker Stadium opens in Albany, home of the Albany Twilight League.
- New York Yankees and Babe Ruth defeat the Albany Senators 22-6 at Hawkins Stadium
before 2,585 fans. Babe Ruth plays 5 1/2 innings, strikes out in first inning, then doubles and hits
two homers. (April 23)
- St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Joe Medwick adresses a gathering in Amsterdam, N.Y.--is
nabbed for speeding afterward, draws $5 fine.
1935 - Johnny Evers becomes Albany Senators General Manager.
- Future major leaguers with Albany: Hall of Famer slugger Hack Wilson 59 games; 3 HR; 29
RBI), catcher Frankie Hayes, Taft Wright (12 HR, 74 RBI, .282), pitchers Hugh "Losing
Pitcher" Mulcahy (4-2, 5.12), pitchers Johnny Rigney (0-1), Bob Wieland (also with
Rochester), Milburn Shoffner (0-1), Ray Prim (2-4, 4.71) and Joe Krakauskas (0-0).
- Gloversville manufacturer Josiah H. Danforth, a backer of the old New York State League
JAGs dies in Gloversville (March 14).
- Boston Braves defeat Albany Senators 10-4 at Hawkins Stadium before 4,000 fans. Babe
Ruth doubles twice and walks. (April 22)
- Sing's Alabama Pitts granted permission to play for Albany (June 17).
- Hack Wilson sold to Portland (PCL) (June 20) to make room for Alabama Pitts. He retires
rather than play for a tea-totalling manager.
- Albany uses 51 players in finishing last, 41-1/2 games out.
- The all-black State Porters are organized by Frank Simpson join the Albany Suburban
Twilight League and win the pennant. The Albany Black Sox (featuring Edsall Walker) capture
the flag in the Arbor Hill Twilight League.
1936 - Smead Jolley, one of the minors' greatest hitters, leads IL with 155 games played, 221
hits, 52 doubles, and a .373 average with Albany. His only season in the IL
- Albany finishes last again (38 games back) and leaves IL.
- The State Porters and the Black Sox, now featuring Buck Ewing and Edsall Walker, win titles
in their respective Albany semi-pro leagues. Arbor Hill Twilight League season begins wil a
parade from Clinton Avenue and Northern Boulevarddown Livingston Avenue to Daum's Park.
- Black Sox's Edsall Walker recruited to play for Homestead Grays (June)
- Former major leaguer Moose Grimshaw dies in Canajoharie (December 11)
1937 - Tom McCaffrey, owner of Albany's Beaver Grill, transfers Allentown NY-Penn
(Eastern) League franchise to Albany. Albany outfielder Como "Tony" Cotelle leads EL in
batting with .338 mark; Leslie Horn leads with 171 hits. Future major league player and coach
Al Monchak (.143) and future A's and Giants outfielder Babe Barna (5 HR, 40 RBI, .283) with
club. So is future Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Hutson (0 HR, 5 RBI, .208). Team finishes
- Gloversville Glovers join the Can-Am League; in June Glovers second baseman Hank Gimple
is married at home plate -- then hits a grand slam in the first inning; The Glovers defeat
Pittsburgh Pirates 11-8 in exhibition on July 26. Whitey Tulacz, who led the Can-Am League
that year with 216 strikeouts, goes the distance for the Glovers.
- Albany's Joe Vitelli pitches 18-inning game against Binghamton, strikes out 20; hits two
doubles and a single; wins 5-4 (June 1). Albany scores twice in 18th after Binghamton scored
- Albany manager Bill McCorry (age 50) pitches for club and is oldest player in minors that
- Death of Frank Grant in NYC (May 27)
- Buck Ewing rejoins the Mohawk Giants (June)â€”is replaced as Albany Black Sox manager
by Elmer "Scrappy" Brown.
- Albany Black Sox (featuring Lefty Hill) and McEnaney's finish Twilight League season in tie
for first; Black Sox win playoffs which are attended by 15,000 fans.
- Death of former major league catcher Mickey Devine at Albany (October 1).
1938 - Glovers relocate to Amsterdam and become the Rugmakers. Brockville Pirates sold for
$400 and become the Gloversville-Johnstown Glovers. Former Boston Brave Bunny Roser
player-manager (10 HR, 56 RBI, .346) with club.
- Press reports reveal that it costs $18.45 to put on a game in the Albany Twilight Leagueâ€”
"providing, of course, that it takes only three balls. there are very few nights, however, when it is
not necessary to throw in additional balls, sometimes as many as six." (May 29).
- Brooklyn Dodgers defeat the Albany Senators 7-6 at Hawkins Stadium before 11,724 fans.
Dodgers coach Babe Ruth homers but some say pitch was "grooved." (July 25).
- Albany Twilight League All-Star time led by Lefty Hill plays against semi-pro Boston Hoboes
- Babe Ruth, then a coach, and Burleigh Grimes, then a manager, perform when the Brooklyn
Dodgers visit North Adams, Massachusetts, and take on the Sons of Italy at Noel Field; 3,500
attend. The Dodgers win 6-2 (August 11).
- Albany manager Bill McCorry (age 51) pitches for club and is oldest player in minors that
- Yankees pitcher Bill Stafford born in Athens, N.Y. (Aug. 13)
- Semi-pro Copake Falls founder and manager Charles Call marries Miss Emma Dean at home
plate (August 19). "After the ceremony," noted the Hudson Register, "Call piloted his team to a
3-2 win over [an] All-Dutchess outfit. Gate receipts totaling $400 were donated to the
newlyweds, who left on their honeymoon after the game."
- Albany Black Sox become the Trading Ports, named after local grocery store chain. The
club's Sam Davidson leads the Twilight League with a 7-0 record; Alfonse Mario leads Twilight
League batters with a .377 mark.
- Edsall Walker of the Homestead Grays starts the Negro Leagues East-West Game for the
East Team but loses to Kansas City's Hilton Smith, a future Hall of Famer.
- Amsterdam Rugmakers win Can-Am League pennant under Admiral Martin. Future major
leaguers Ford Garrison and Kenny Sears (11 HR, 41 RBI) with club.
1939 - Rugmakers win Can-Am League pennant under future "Whiz Kids" manager Eddie
Sawyer. Sawyer bats .369 with 103 RBI in 122 games. Roster features future big leaguer
pitchers Bill Kennedy, Vince Ventura and Mel Queen.
- Former AL third baseman Elmer Yoter (3 HR, 25 RBI, .276) player-manager of Glovers
- Rabbit Maranville manages Albany to a 4th place finish; at age 47 plays 6 games at short.
- Brooklyn Dodgers visit Albany; coach Babe Ruth hits last homer ever in big league uniform.
- Albany Twilight League President Joe Tholl suspends black Trading Ports team after they skip
a league contest to play a non-league game in Malone (July).
- National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum opens in Cooperstown.
- Future major league pitcher Bill Stafford born in Catskill (June 8).
1940 - Lights installed at Glovers Park in Gloversville.
- Glovers' Steve Wilski pitches perfect game against Rugmakers in playoffs (Sept. 12). Glovers'
player-manager John "Pappy" Lehman leads Can-Am League with a .353 average; teammate
Bethel Rhem paces league with 19 wins; Barney Hearn leads league with 169 hits.
- Spec Shea with Amsterdam. Teammate Paul Badgett leads Can-Am League with 31 homers,
120 runs scored and 119 RBIs.
- Eddie Sawyer's Rugmakers win Canadian-American League playoffs. Sawyer bats .329 with
99 RBI in 120 games.
- Albany's Kermit Lewis's .325 average and 86 runs scored leads the EL; Bill Sodd leads EL
with 88 RBIs; Virgil Brown leads EL with 22 victories.
- Semi-pro Copake Falls All-Stars disband.
1941 - Bangall-native Austin Knickerbocker, then with Oneonta, leads the Canadian-American
League with 202 hits, 135 RBIs, and a .406 average (the league record average).
- Oswego Netherlands move to Pittsfield; become Electrics and finish fourth (62-59) under
managers Shano Collins and Rabbit Moore.
- Future big league pitchers Vic Raschi (10-6, 3.67), Bill Kennedy (2-4, 7.16) and Karl Drews
with Amsterdam. Teammate John Robinson leads Can-Am League with 22 wins and a 2.85
- Future Schenectady resident Lee Riley, then with Rome, leads the Canadian-American
League with 32 homers.
- Ralph Kiner makes OB debut for Albany (April 23). He will bat .279 with 11 homers and 66
RBI in 141 games.
- Alabama Pitts stabbed to death (June 7).
- Kansas City Monarchs, featuring Satchel Paige, defeat semi-pro Kingston Recs 5-2 before
4,477 fans (August 28).
- Future Dodger outfielder Jim Barbieri born in Schenectady (September 15)
- Future major league pitcher and coach Billy Connors born in Schenectady (Nov. 2)
1942 - Former major league catcher Ed Phelps dies in East Greenbush (January 31)
- Remnants of Albany Black Sox rejoin Twilight League as the Miller A.C., finish next-to-last.
- NY Yankees visit Amsterdam and defeat the Rugmakers 9-5 in 10 innings before 4,034 fans
(July 20); Mohawk Mills Park grandstand burns to ground 8 days before they arrive but is
- Satchel Paige appears at Albany's Hawkins Stadium (August 5)â€”says he is sceptical of
blacks integrating major league teamsâ€”"would cause friction." Instead says: "I'd rather see an
entire Negro team represent some city in the league. That way the racial problem would be
more or less eliminated."
- Glovers' Earl Jones no-hits Rome Colonels in playoffs and strikes out 22. Teammate Joseph
Morjoseph leads Can-Am League with 20 homers.
- Albany wins EL pennant under manager Rip Collins. Collins will bat over .300 (.312, .396, .
336, and .336) for Albany for four straight seasons. Albany's Ralph Kiner leads EL with 14
home runs; hits .257 with 75 RBI in 141 games; teammate Xavier Rescigno paces EL with 23
- In one Albany Twlight League Miller A.C.'s-New York Central's contest won by the black
Miller A.C. team's pitcher-manager Eddie Nicholas 9-0, each club receives four cents as its
share of the gate. Miller A-C players then lose their four cents to the New York Centrals by
- Miller A.C. of Albany Twilight League becomes the Black Senators.
- Pittsfield's Costic Novrocki leads Can-Am League with 173 hits and 104 RBIs; teammates
Ernest Thomasson leads with a 2.62 ERA and Lloyd Moore leads with 106 runs scored.
- One-armed outfielder Pete Gray plays in Can-Am League for Trois Rivieres.
- Rugmakers win Can-Am League pennant. Roster features future major leaguers first baseman
Joe Collins, catcher Bill Drescher and second baseman Allie Clark (.368 in 20 games).
- Brooklyn defeats semi-pro Kingston Recs 9-0 (August).
1943 - Former major league pitcher Frank Dwyer dies in Pittsfield (Feb. 4)
- Meeting at Albany's Ten Eyck Hotel, the Canadian-American League suspends operations
due to World War II (February 22)
- Johnny Evers overcome by smoke at his 256 State Street, Albany, NY apartment; taken to
Memorial Hospital. (Apr. 3)
- Albany no-hit by Binghamton's Charley Haag (Aug. 14)
- Albany's Bill Nagle leads the EL with 10 homers.
- Former minor league spitballer Wheeler "Moose" Fuller dies at Albanyâ€”had pitched for
Albany from 1926 through 1929; was 22-11 in 1927 (August 5).
- Future ML player Don Pepper born in Saratoga Springs (October 8)
1944 - Former major league righthander John Pappalau dies in Albany (May 12)
- Albany player manager Ripper Collins hits .396, highest average in OBâ€”also leads EL with
40 doubles. Vic Barnhart leads EL with 115 RBIs.
- Albany's Al Gionfriddo hits 28 triples, highest total in Organized Baseball that season and still
the Eastern League record.
- Future major league shortstop Mark Belanger born in Pittsfield, Ma. (June 8)
- Future AL third baseman and coach Mike Ferraro born in Kingston (August 18)
- Albert Houghton of Gloversville is elected President of the Canadian-American League
- Brooklyn Dodgers play the Kingston Colonials before 6,500 fans.
1945 - Troy-native King Kelly elected to Hall of Fame
- Albany's Fred Clemence leads the EL with 23 wins.
- Photographer Charles Martin Conlon dies in Troy, New York
1946 - Former NL infielder Ed McDonald, great-uncle of Pulitzer Prize winning novelist William
Kennedy, dies in Albany (March 11).
- Former ML catcher Nig Grabowski dies in Albany (May 23)
- Johnny Evers elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Former Washington outfielder Bill Cunningham dies in Schenectady (February 21)
- Schenectady joins Canadian-American League, finishes last. Roster includes Carl Sawatski (1
HR, 18 RBI, .235), Steve Ridzik and Barney Schultz (1-1, 5.67).
- Pittsfield's Al Rosen leads Can -Am League with 15 homers, 19 triples and 86 RBIs - bats .
323. Teammate Lou Palmisiano leads with a 2.67 ERA.
- Future major leagues first baseman Dick Kryhoski (.224 in 30 games) and pitchers Joe
Murray and Herb Karpel with Amsterdam. Teammate Bunny Mick leads the Can-Am League
with 115 runs scored.
- Future major league coach Joe Lutz (3 HR, 30 RBI, .238) with Gloversville-Johnstown
- Despite a 90% disability from shrapnel wounds in his legs, received in World War II,
Amsterdam-native Bill Fennhahn is signed to pitch for the Peekskill Highlanders of the North
- Albany no-hit 8-0 by 17-year old Maurice McDermott of Scranton.
- The McLaughlin-Millard Co., later known as Adirondack Bat, begins manufacturing baseball
bats in Dolgeville. That same year Hal Schumacher joins the company's sales force.
1947 - Lew Burdette (9-10; 2.82 ERA) and Joe Murray with Amsterdam
- The Kingston Dodgers (aka Ponies), managed by George Scherger, join the Class D North
Atlantic League; disband with rest of league at season's end.
- McNearney Stadium opens in Schenectady.
- Chuck Harmon (first black to play for Reds) signed by Browns and assigned to Glovers "if the
club would accept a Negro."
- Schenectady (86-51) under Lee Riley (father of Pat Riley) wins Can-Am League pennant and
playoffs. Roster includes future major league pitcher Steve Ridzik. Club draws 146,227.
- Future major league catcher Hal Naragon (0 HR, 4 RBI, .181) with Pittsfield, managed by
former big league catcher Tony Rensa.
- Death of Johnny Evers at Albany's St. Peter's Hospital (March 28). He is buried from St.
Mary's Church in Albany, NY and interred in St. Mary's Cemetery, Troy, NY
- Death of former White Sox righthander Mel Wolfgang in Albany (June 30)
- The Albany Twilight League's Black Senators become the LaFrance Cleaners team.
- Former Black Sox first baseman Dave Ryan joins Al Dufty's club in Albany Twilight League
becoming first to integrate a local semi-pro club.
1948 - Schenectady's Tommy LaSorda strikes out 25 Rugmakers in 15 innings, wins 6-5 (May
31). Teammate Duke Markell (14-10, 3.17), a future St. Louis Brown, paces Can-Am League
with 280 strikeouts.
- Glovers' Bill Staker leads Can-Am League with 107 runs scored. Former major league
catcher Frank Sacka with club.
- Albany Senators reach their peak attendanceâ€”210,804. Albany's Fred Lanifero leads EL
with 169 hits.
- The Newark Eagles and the New York Black Yankees compete in a Negro National League
contest at Albany's Hawkins Stadium (May)
- Branch Rickey addresses the Schenectady Quartermasters Association at Schenectady's
Army Depot cafeteria (June 16).
- Former major league shortstop Jimmy Esmond dies in Troy (June 26).
- The Schenectady Merchants defeat the House of David 11-5 at Schenectady's Central Park
before just 600 fans (June 29)
- St. Louis Browns wallop Glovers 24-11 before 3,600 fans (July 13).
- Albany Senators defeat Pittsburgh Pirates 8-2 at Hawkins Stadium before 6,518 fans.
- Former Pirate southpaw Arnie Stone dies at Hudson Falls (July 29).
- Albany Senators lose 5-2 to Philadelphia A's at Hawkins Stadium before 6,410 fans (August
- Future major league outfielder Jim Lemon (1 HR, 3 RBI, .203) with Pittsfield. Playing-
manager Gene Hasson wins Can-Am League Triple Crown with 27 homers, 106 RBI and .368
- The New Brunswick (NJ) Hubs of the Class B Colonial League relocate to Kingston in mid-
season and become the Kingston Colonials. Kingston's Ed Kobesky's .390 led the league.
1949 - Albany's 40-year old Orie "Old Folks" Arntzen goes 25-2; wins Minor League Player of
the Year Award. On July 8 of that year Arntzen's 15-game winning streak is broken by
Binghamton's Whitey Ford, 3-2. First loss of season.
- Albany's Herschel Held draws 151 walks, tying the all-time Eastern League record set in
1947 by Albany player-manager Merrill May.
- Gus Bell with Albany (134 games; led league with 174 hits; batted .325)
- Bob Grim with Amsterdam Rugmakers. Rugmakers managed by future Tigers manager Mayo
Smith. Yankees visit Amsterdam in Mayâ€”defeat Rugmakers 9-2 before 4,564 fans. Yogi
Berra plays center field.
- Pittsfield features first baseman Nate "Sweetwater" Clifton (3 HR, 10 RBI, .275 with 31
strikeouts in 80 at bats)â€”first black to ever play in an NBA contest (1951). Electrics' Pete
Masuga leads Can-Am League with a 2.20 ERA.
- Former Negro Leaguers pitcher Ernest Burke and catcher Robert Turner with Kingston of the
- Schenectady's Don Marshall paces the Can-Am League with 22 homers.
- Philadelphia Phillies defeat Blue Jays 6-5 before 3,028 fans (September 7)
- Amsterdam native Steve Kuczek doubles in only major league at bat, retires with lifetime
batting average of 1.000, slugging average of 2.000 (September 29).
c. 1950 - Mohawk Giants disband.
|Baseball is truly the National Pastime. It has
touched each and every region of the American
nation, including our own. Capital Region
baseball has a rich history in our viewing area,
stretching back to the earliest days of the game.
Use The Great Baseball Timeline to see if you
can find out more about baseball in your own
town or county. To learn about distinguished
black players in our area. Or to learn about
players who have overcome physical handicaps
to star on local diamonds.
|Amsterdam (NY) Rugmakers
|Capital Region Baseball Timeline: