• Steve Potter

6/25/2020 - Phillies Minor League History - The Mattoon Phillies


Time Period - 1953 to 1956


Venue : Mattoon Baseball Park


City : Mattoon, IL


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Franchise History :


Mattoon has a expansive history of professional baseball dating back to 1899 when a city team was an original member of the Indiana-Illinois League. There were also teams in the Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League ( 1906 )and the Eastern Illinois League ( 1907-1908 ).


The last and longest lasting pro franchise in Mattoon was formed in 1947 as a member of the Illinois State League which became the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League in 1949. Mattoon maintained a team in the league till it folded after the 1955 season. In 1956 the franchise became one of the founding members of the Midwest League and played thru the 1957 season. The team moved to Keokuk, Iowa in 1958.


Major League Affiliations over the years included :


Chicago White Sox - 1947

Cleveland Indians - 1948

Cincinnati Reds - 1952

Philadelphia Phillies - 1953 to 1956

Kansas City Athletics - 1957


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The Stadium the Phillies teams played in :


Mattoon Baseball Park

Location: Dewitt Avenue & North Logan Street

Capacity: 2,500


From what I’ve been able to ascertain the Ballpark was built in 1947 by the Mattoon Athletic Association formed by William Zurheider, Clyde Kirk and Charles E. Heath.


I couldn’t find any more information about the ballpark other than that after the 1957 season it was demolished ...


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The Seasons :


1953


Miss-Ohio Valley (M.O.V.) League (D)... Manager : James Deery ... 64-56, 3rd place ... Attendance: 61,000. Lost in Playoffs to Paris Lakers 3 games to 0.


21 year old RHP Louis Shade went 16-10 with a 3.22 ERA in 30 games ( 215 IP ) ... he went 17-8 the next year with Salt Lake City but was out of baseball after the 1955 season


1954


Miss-Ohio Valley (M.O.V.) League (D)... Manager : Carl Bush & Don Osborne ... 62-64, 5th place ... Attendance: 48,422.


19 year old RHP Thomas Cronin went 17-11 in 31 games ( 231 IP ) with a 3.12 ERA ... he retired from Baseball after the 1956 season


1955


Miss-Ohio Valley (M.O.V.) League (D)... Manager : Burl Storie ... 68-57 , 2nd place ... Attendance: 51,277. Defeated Kokomo Giants 2 games to 0 in Playoffs. Lost to Dubuque Packers 3 games to 0 in Championship Series


20 year old RHP Dallas Green pitched in 11 games ( 55 IP ) posting a 3.44 ERA ... it was his first pro season - he also spent 7 games with Reidsville of the Carolina League


1956


Midwest League (D)... Manager : Benny Zientara ... 61-65, 6th place ... Attendance: 35,144.


18 year old RHP Art Mahaffey made his pro debut appearing in 10 games - all starts and recording a 4-4 record in 75 IP with a 5.28 ERA ... he would pitch in 7 big league seasons from 1960 to 1966 with the Phillies and Cardinals and appear in 185 games


Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️


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