• Steve Potter

6/20/2020 - Phillies Minor League History - The Bradford Blue Wings/Phillies


Time Period - 1944 to 1955


Venue : Community Park


City : Bradford, PA


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Franchise History :


Bradford has a long history of baseball dating back to the 1800’s however the biggest impact of professional baseball came to Bradford, PA in the form of the Bradford Bees, a 1939 charter member of the Pennsylvania - Ontario - New York League (PONYL). They played as the Bees ... an affiliate of the Boston Bees/Braves from 1939 to 1942.


The team sat out the 1943 season but returned in 1944 as an affiliate of the Phillies. From 1944 to 1949 they played as the Blue Wings before switching the team name to the Phillies in 1950 ... they played as the Phillies thru the 1955 season.


In 1956 the club became an affiliate of the New York Yankees and played under the Yankee name. The PONY league folded after the 1956 season. In their final season of play in 1957 Bradford became the Beagles, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds in the New York Penn League.


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The Stadium the Phillies teams played in :


Community Park was built in 1916 at 62 Main Street in Bradford with a seating capacity of 2,500. Field dimensions were 360 to LF, 410 to CF and 356 to RF.


The field was used as home of Bradford pro baseball thru the 1957 season. Today the site of the ball field is the home of a manufacturing plant for the American Refining Group, an oil refining business. The Refinery expanded it’s footprint and absorbed the site of the original ball field in 1966.

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The Seasons :


1944


Pennysylvania-Ontario-New York League (D) ... Manager : Ray Brubaker & Ken Blackman ... 48-74, 8th place ... Attendance: 44,915.


17 year old third baseman Don Hasenmayer led the league in triples with an incredible 23 three baggers 😳 ... he also led in slugging percentage (.538) and was fourth in Batting Average (.337) in 556 AB’s ... he would play parts of two seasons in the major leagues (1945 & 1946) with the Phillies appearing in 11 games.


1945


Pennysylvania-Ontario-New York League (D) ... Manager : Lee Riley ... 70-55, 4th place ... Attendance: 49,532. Lost to Batavia Clippers 3 games to 1 in playoffs.


17 year old second baseman George Gasdaska led the club in hitting with a .328 batting average in 473 AB’s ... he played six minor league seasons finishing his career with the 1949 Wilmington Blue Rocks.

1946


Pennysylvania-Ontario-New York League (D) ... Manager : Lee Riley ... 58-66, 4th place ... Attendance: 58,235. Lost to Jamestown Falcons 4 games to 3 in playoffs.


Skipper Lee Riley played in 39 games accumulating 182 AB’s and posted a .269 batting average.


1947


Pennysylvania-Ontario-New York League (D) ... Manager : George Savino ... 69-55, 2nd place ... Attendance: 70,129. Lost to Olean Oilers in playoffs 4 games to 1.


20 year old LHP Bob Wiles went 15-5 with a 4.35 ERA in 32 games ( 178 IP) ... he would only play two more seasons and ended his career with Augusta in the South Atlantic League.


1948


Pennysylvania-Ontario-New York League (D) ... Manager : George Savino ... 66-61, 4th place ... Attendance: 50,159. Defeated Batavia Clippers in one game playoff to earn 4th place ... lost to the Lockport Reds 4 games to 2 in playoffs.


21 year old catcher Joe Lonnett hit .310 in 445 AB’s ... he would go on to play in 4 big league seasons (1956 to 1959) with the Phillies appearing in 143 major league games.


1949


Pennysylvania-Ontario-New York League (D) ... Manager : Danny Carnevale ... 80-46, 1st place ... Attendance: 78,139. League Champions ... defeated the Batavia Clippers 4 games to 3 in playoffs and the Hamilton Cardinals 4 games to 1 in the Championship Series.


21 year old RHP Roy Face made his pro debut going 14-2 in 25 games (17 starts) amassing 141 IP and posting a 3.32 ERA. He would go on to pitch in 16 major league seasons with the Pirates,Tigers and Expos from 1953 to 1969. He posted an incredible 18-1 record in 1959 in 57 relief appearances with the Pirates posting a 2.70 ERA in 93.1 IP ... he also had 10 saves 😳 ... the Pirates that year won 78 games ... Face accounted in 35 % of their wins ... in the 1960 World Series he saved three games against the Yankees for the WS Champion Buccos. Face earned 104 wins and 191 saves in his major league career.


1950


Pennysylvania-Ontario-New York League (D) ... Manager : Barney Lutz ... 63-62, 4th place ... Attendance: 38,785. Lost in the playoffs to Hornell Dodgers 4 games to 0.


22 year old RHP Roy Face went 18-5 in 31 games (25 starts) recording a 2.58 ERA in 209 IP.


1951


Pennysylvania-Ontario-New York League (D) ... Manager : Frank McCormick & John Davenport ... 64-62, 5th place ... Attendance: 34,519.


28 year old player-manager John Davenport was 5th in the league in hitting with a .361 batting average in 321 AB’s .... the league batting champion was a 27 year old fella named Paul Owens who posted a .407 batting average in 459 AB’s for the Olean Oilers ... we would later come to know him as the Pope ... the legendary General Manager, Manager, Scout and Senior Advisor with the Phillies 👍⚾️


1952


Pennysylvania-Ontario-New York League (D) ... Manager : Dick Carter ... 51-71, 7th place ... Attendance: 27,228.


17 year old LHP Seth Morehead posted a 2.04 ERA in 12 games ( 97 IP ) in his initial year of pro baseball. He would go on to play in 5 major league seasons ( 1957 to 1961 ) with the Phillies, Cubs and Milwaukee Braves.


1953


Pennysylvania-Ontario-New York League (D) ... Manager : John Davenport ... 66-60, 4th place ... Attendance: 29,181. Lost to the Jamestown Falcons 3 games to 0 in playoffs.


25 year old infielder John Maggio (516 AB’s ) and 22 year old catcher John Turk (294 AB’s ) both posted .357 batting averages - 4th best in the league. Maggio played six years in the minor leagues and retired after the 1957 season, Turk played four years of minor league baseball and retired after the 1959 season.


1954


Pennysylvania-Ontario-New York League (D) ... Manager : James Deery ... 61-65 , 5th place ... Attendance: 49,944.


19 year old RHP Bob Harrell posted a 12-7 record in 23 games ( 145 IP ) with a 3.66 ERA ... he played four years in the minor leagues before retiring after the 1956 season.


1955


Pennysylvania-Ontario-New York League (D) ... Manager : Lew Krausse & Pat Colgan ... 74-51, 2nd place ... Attendance: 35,979. Lost in playoffs to Corning Red Sox 2 games to 1.


19 year old outfielder Don Landrum was the only player on the roster who would go on to play in the major leagues. He hit .296 in 388 AB’s ... Landrum played in 8 major league seasons over the period of 1957 to 1966 with the Phillies, Cardinals, Cubs and Giants.


Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️


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