Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Early Delco Baseball League History

The Forest Ave. Baseball Team in 1920 from today's Milmont Park, in those days it was the Ridley Park Post Office.

Some early history of the Delaware County Baseball League

NOTE: Beginning in the 1870's local baseball was a big deal. Local games would attract 1000's of bystanders and some local teams played the Phillies etc. In 1915, J. Franklin "Home Run Baker" was hired by the Crozer Family to play for the Upland Baseball Team. They paid him more than the Phillies!! That will be my next article
      In February 1908, on invitation of J. B. Weeks and W. L. Buck, acting as an organization committee, representatives of the Collingdale, Aldan, Rutledge, Folsom and Colwyn baseball clubs met in Rutledge for the purpose of organizing an amateur league.  Much enthusiasm was expressed at the meeting and all the clubs represented decided to join the combination.  A week later a meeting of the managers was held in Holmes and at that time a committee which had been appointed to draw up rules reported; although the rule proposed to exclude paid players from league games raised so much discussion that the meeting was adjourned without the rules being adopted or other business being transacted.  The following week another meeting was held saw Holmes and representatives from all the clubs were present, besides the managers of Primos, Prospect and Darby, each of whom wanted his club to fill the open place in that league membership.  There was considerate time taken up in deciding which club should be elected.  The first ballot stood:  Darby, 2; Primos, 2: Prospect Park, 1, and the final vote admitted Darby.  The rules presented at the previous meeting were re-read and unanimously adopted.
                ORGANIZATION TAKES PLACE – In Morton the formal organization meeting took place in Aldan, at which time the constitution was signed by the managers and officers, and the forfeit money deposited.  The election of officers took place and resulted as follows:  President, J. B. Weeks; secretary, P. Sutcliffe; corresponding secretary, H. Donald Doak; treasurer, William J. Glenn.  Near the end of the session W. L. Buck was elected to succeed P. Sutcliffe as secretary, and the office of vice president was created, to which George K. Glover was elected.
                The managers of the clubs for the first season were:  William J. Glenn Aldan; George W. Childs, Colwyn; J. B. Weeks, Rutledge; William McDonald, Folsom; George Johnson, Collingdale, and P. Sutcliffe, Darby.
                The season opened on Saturday, May 9 all from the first game every club flew the flag.  There were any number of close and interesting times, among which the Rutledge-Folsom and Aldan-Collingdale, extra inning interest will long be remembered.  The one for the pennant Was so close on the last day of the season Folsom lost its chance by dropping a double header to Collingdale, and Aldan by defeating Rutledge on the latter’s grounds in an extra-inning contest, clinched first place and captured the pennant.
                A few weeks after the close of the  playing season, a convention of the managers, officers, players and their guests was held by the Neighbors Club Hall, Aldan, at which time the pennant was presented to the Aldan club by President J. B. Weeks.  At this convention the unanimous opinion was that the success of the 1908 season secured a stronger organization for the coming year.  There had been much doubt expressed when the league started as to whether it would stick together or not, but the fact that the clubs had played every day a game was scheduled indicated that the Delaware County League had come to stay and that the “doubters” had better lose themselves in the “tall grass.”  Some of the games put up by the clubs were anything but first-class, but as a whole the teams did good work, and were well supported.
                IN THE YEAR 1909 – The reorganization meeting of the league was held in Rutledge in January, 1909.  At this meeting important changes were made in the clubs to continue the league for that season, Folcroft and Norwood being admitted in place of Colwyn and Darby.  The franchise of the Rutledge club was transferred to Morton by consent of the Board of Managers, and the Folsom club was given permission to change its name to Woodlyn and to play at that place.  The following officers were unanimously elected:  President, J. B. Weeks; vice president, George K. Glover; recording secretary, W. L. Buck; corresponding secretary, A. Andress; treasurer, William J. Glenn.  The managers for the 1909 season were:  William J. Glenn, Aldan; H. P. Worrall, Norwood; Andrew Patton, Collingdale; Will Hatten, Folcroft; Adam A. Andrews, Morton; William McConnell, Woodlyn, Samuel H. Caufman succeeded McConnell as manager of Woodlyn in the middle of the season.
                The class of ball produced by the league teams last year was greatly improved over that of the 1908 season, and many clubs who aspired for the amateur championship of the county received black eyes at the hands of the league organizations.  Every team did its best on the field and on a general line the games were as fast as were seen anywhere among the amateur clubs of the county.
                SOME INTERESTING CONTESTS – The Woodlyn-Morton games were the most interesting and most largely attended.  When the Caufman-Andress aggregations met it was a signal for something to happen, and it always did.  The 3-1 and 3-2 games played at Woodlyn will long be remembered by league fans and the mere mention of these contests before either manager is enough to start an all-night argument.  The pitcher’s battle between H. Forbes of Folcroft, and his brother, C. Forbes of Collingdale, was one of the fastest contests of the season, resulting:  Collingdale, 0; Folcroft 3.  The 12-inning game between Norwood and Morton, and the 10-inning Folcroft-Aldan contest have also gone down in the league history.  When the scheduled season closed Woodlyn and Morton were tied for first place, each having a percentage of .720.
                In the first game of the championship series Woodlyn won, 3-0.  This was one of the best games seen in the county last season and was completed in the remarkably short time of one hour and ten minutes.  The game was played on the McCoy grounds, Leiperville.  The second game of the series was the decisive one, Woodlyn having a regular walkover, 10 to 0 at Clifton Heights.  Morton was demoralized from the beginning to the end of the contest, lacking two of their regular players and all of their nerve.  The game was a big disappointment as everybody was looking for another contest on the style of the one played the previous week, but the big crowd of Morton rooters shouted themselves hoarse to no avail.  The final standing of the clubs, excluding this post-season series, was as follows:
                                                                                                W                            L                              P.C.
                                                Woodlyn                             18                           7                             .720
                                                Morton                                 18                           7                             .720
                                                Norwood                             15                           10                           .600
                                                Folcroft                                                10                           15                           .400
                                                Collingdale                         8                             17                           .320
                                                Aldan                                    6                             19                           .290
                CHANGE IN THE LEAGUE – At a regular meeting of the League Board held in Chester on December 9th, Folcroft’s resignation was accepted and Glenolden elected to fill the vacancy.  At the meeting on January 7, Aldan was dropped and Pembroke, of East Lansdowne, admitted.  On January 21 Morton’s resignation was accepted and Collingdale was dropped, and the vacancies were filled by Rutledge and Sharon Hill.  Darby and Clifton Heights are both anxious to join the combination, but the board is unwilling to increase the circuit to eight clubs, so the teams to constitute the circuit in 1910 are:  Woodlyn, Norwood, Pembroke, Glenolden, Sharon Hill, and Rutledge.

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