• Steve Potter

6/29/2020 - Phillies Minor League History - The Terre Haute Phillies


Time Period - 1946 to 1954


Venue : Memorial Stadium


City : Terre Huate, IN


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Franchise History :


Terre Haute pro baseball dates back to the 1891 “Hottentots” team which played in the Northwest League. The city also was represented with a charter club in the Three-Eye League ( Illinois–Indiana–Iowa ) when it debuted in 1901 but was without a team after the 1937 campaign.


“In 1946, the Philadelphia Phillies agreed to place a farm club back in the Wabash Valley. The agreement almost did not happen until a meeting in Philadelphia with Terre Haute mayor Vern McMillan and Phillies owner Rob Carpenter. When the two men kicked up their feet on a table, they both noticed they had enormous holes in their souls. The two shared a good chuckle and sealed the deal to bring back minor league baseball in Terre Haute.” - Stadium Journey


The Terre Haute Phillies were also members of the Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League ... an organization that operated for the better part of 60 years, mostly in those three states. The league disbanded after the 1961 season.


After the 1954 season with attendance dwindling, the Phillies moved the franchise affiliation to Reidsville, North Carolina. The Detroit Tigers took over the Terre Haute partnership for the 1955 and 1956 seasons but left afterwards which ended the city’s direct association with professional baseball.


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The Stadium the Phillies teams played in :


Memorial Stadium :


Location: Home & Wabash Avenues.

Capacity: 8,000 (1925); 16,000 (1939); 13,000 (1949)

Dimensions : LF - 440, CF - 592, RF - 440


Constructed in 1923–1924 by the City of Terre Haute to seat approximately 16,000 people. The stadium and its grounds were used for minor league baseball, semi-pro, high school and college football and baseball, professional boxing, circuses, fireworks exhibitions, ice skating and miscellaneous conventions and other events.


The stadium was officially dedicated on May 4, 1925 and was universally hailed as the nation's finest minor league baseball stadium. The stadium was dedicated to local men killed in World War I.


In 1967, Indiana State University became the first university in the world to own and operate an outdoor artificial playing surface. The stadium, except for its outside wall and memorial arch, was razed in 1968–1969, and converted to a football stadium. Astroturf replaced the natural grass surface, giving it the distinction of being the first outdoor facility in the world with a synthetic surface.


Memorial Stadium remains today as the home of the Indiana State football team.


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The Seasons :


1946


Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League (B) ... Manager : Ray Brubaker ... 63-60 , 4th place ... Attendance: 100,000 +. Defeated Danville Dodgers 3 games to 1 in playoffs. Lost to the Evansville Braves 3 games to 0 in Championship Series


20 year old Catcher Stan Lopata hit .292 in 226 AB’s ... he would play 13 big league seasons ( 11 with the Phillies & 2 with the Milwaukee Braves ) from 1948 to 1960 appearing in 853 big league games ... a member of the 1950 Phillies NL Champion “Whiz Kids”


1947


Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League (B) ... Managers : Ray Brubaker/ Whitey Gluchoski/Jack Sanford ... 74-51 , 2nd place ... Attendance: 133,654. Lost to the Waterloo Hawks 3 games to 0 in Playoffs


21 year old Willie “Puddin Head” Jones hit .307 in 489 AB’s with 10 home runs in his first professional season ... he would play in 15 major league seasons from 1947 to 1961 with the Phillies ( 11 years ), Indians ( 1 season ) and Reds ( 3 years ) appearing in 1,691 games ... another 1950 “Whiz Kid” team member


1948


Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League (B) ... Managers : Pat Colgan/Dale Jones ... 65-57 , 4th place ... Attendance: 130,009. Defeated Danville Dodgers 3 games to 2 in playoffs. Lost to the Evansville Braves 4 games to 0 in Championship Series


21 year old RHP Paul Stuffel went 13-11 with a 3.51 ERA in 31 games ( 190 IP ) ... he would pitch in 7 big league games over three seasons ( 1950, 1952-1953 ) with the Phillies making one start for the 1952 Phillies


1949


Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League (B) ... Manager : Lee Riley ... 69-56 , 4th place ... Attendance: 122,493. Lost to the Evansville Braves 3 games to 2 in playoffs


23 year old RHP Bob Miller went 19-9 with a 2.72 ERA in 34 games ( 255 IP ) ... he would pitch in 10 big league seasons from 1949 to 1958 all with the Phillies ... Miller went 11-6 with a 3.57 ERA in 35 games ( 174 IP ) including 21 starts ( 7 complete games ).

1950


Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League (B) ... Manager : Danny Carnevale ... 78-48 , 1st place ... Attendance: 111,228. League Champions Defeated Quincy Gems 3 games to 0 in playoffs. Defeated Danville Dodgers 3 games to 1 in Championship Series


24 year old LHP Niles Jordan went 17-6 with a 2.35 ERA in 35 games ( 237 IP ) ... he would pitch in 8 big league games with the 1951 Phillies ( 5 ) and 1952 Reds ( 3 )


24 year old LHP Jake Schmitt went 21-5 with a 2.74 ERA in 33 games ( 223 IP ) which was by far the best season of his pro career ... he reached the AAA level the next two years but not the majors ... was out of baseball following the 1954 season


1951


Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League (B) ... Manager : Skeeter Newsome ... 75-55 , 1st place ... Attendance: 81,511. Lost to the Quincy Gems 3 games to 1 in playoffs


22 year old C/1B Jim Command hit .328 in 506 AB’s which was 2nd best in the league ... he would play in 14 big league games as a third baseman with the 1954 & 1955 Phillies - the extent of his major league career


1952


Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League (B) ... Manager : Skeeter Newsome ... 75-49 , 2nd place ... Attendance: 63,267. League Champions Defeated Waterloo White Hawks 3 games to 0 in playoffs. Defeated Evansville Braves 3 games to 1 in Championship Series


The team had 5 pitchers post double digit wins led by 22 year old LHP Herbert Agase who went 16-7 with a 3.41 ERA in 28 games ( 198 IP ) ... he was out of baseball following the 1954 season ...


1953


Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League (B) ... Manager : Hub Kittle ... 76-52 , 1st place ... Attendance: 64,428. Lost to the Evansville Braves 3 games to 2 in playoffs


19 year old RHP Jim Owens led the league in wins with a 22-8 record in 42 games ( 28 starts ) posting a 2.51 ERA in 244 IP ... he would pitch in 12 major league seasons from 1955 to 1967 with the Phillies ( 7 years ), Reds ( 1 season ) and Colt 45s/Astros ( 4 years ) appearing in 286 games ( 103 starts )


1954


Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League (B) ... Manager : Hub Kittle ... 60-76 , 7th place ... Attendance: 37,104.


20 year old RHP Bob Conley won 14 games in his first pro season appearing in 32 contests ( 28 starts ) amassing 197 IP ... he had a 3.52 ERA ... he would pitch in 2 major league games with the 1958 Phillies ... both starts totaling 8.1 IP


Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️


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