• Steve Potter

6/30/2020 - Phillies Minor League History - The Salina Blue Jays


Time Period - 1946 to 1952


Venue : Memorial Stadium


City : Salina, KS


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Franchise History :


Salina’s history of professional baseball dates back to the Salina Blues club in 1898 which played in the Kansas State League. From 1908 to 1910, the team took on the name of the Salina Trade Winners and competed in the Central Kansas League. In 1912-14 they were the Salina Insurgents and Salina Coyotes and moved back to the Kansas State League. From 1922-26 the team became the Salina Millers which competed in the Southwestern League. In 1938, the Salina Millers joined the Western Association and moved to their new home field of Kenwood Ballpark. In 1941, the Millers gained their first major league affiliation to the Cleveland Indians for one season, the league disbanded during WWII.

In 1946, the Western Associaton reformed and Salina’s team joined as the Blue Jays with an affiliation under the Philadelphia Phillies. After the 1952 season the Salina Blue Jays association with the Phillies ended and the pro franchise disbanded. The team remained as a non-paying semi-pro team competing in a league consisting of teams from the Wichita area.

Salina did not host another minor league team until the Salina Stockade began play in the 2016 Independent Pecos League.


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The Stadium the Phillies teams played in :


Kenwood Field

Location: Kenwood Park Drive & Center Street.

Capacity: 3,500 (1938); 2,100 (1939); 2,200 (1950)

Dimensions : 360 - LF, 380 - CF, 360 - RF


The ballpark opened in 1938, it remained a baseball diamond until 1978 when it was converted to a rodeo area and renamed Tri-Rivers Stadium.

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The Seasons :


1946


Western Association (C ) ... Manager : Edwin Walls ... 51-77 , 8th place ... Attendance: 44,050


20 year old LHP Al Porto pitched 213 innings in his first pro season and recorded a 3.17 ERA in 30 games ... he would pitch in 3 games for the 1948 Phillies - the extent of his big league career although he did pitch three full seasons at the AAA level from 1948 to 1950


1947


Western Association (C ) ... Manager : Edwin Walls ... 85-53 , 1st place ... Attendance: 60,369 Lost in playoffs to the Muskogee Reds 3 games to 2.


22 year RHP Bubba Church went 21-9 in 30 games ( 2.93 ERA in 249 IP ) ... quite an impressive first year of pro baseball ! He would go on to pitch in 6 big league seasons from 1950 to 1955 with the Phillies, Reds and Cubs ... he went 8-6 with a 2.73 ERA in 31 games ( 18 starts - 8 complete games ) tallying 142 IP for the 1950 National League Champion Phillies


1948


Western Association (C ) ... Manager : Vance Dinges ... 58-80 , 7th place ... Attendance: 44,050


33 year old player/manager Vance Dinges led the team in batting average hitting .299 in 411 AB’s ... it was the last season as a player for the 1B/OFer ... also his only season as a manager ... Dinges had previously played in two big leagues seasons with the 1945 and 1946 Phillies posting a lifetime batting average of .291 in 501 major league AB’s


1949


Western Association (C ) ... Manager : Joe Gantenbein ... 69-69 , 6th place ... Attendance: 50,145


33 year old Joe Gantenbein took over as player/manager and hit .295 in 148 AB’s ... the middle infielder also took the mound in 14 games ... he had played in the majors for the 1939 and 1940 Athletics appearing in 186 games and posting a .272 lifetime average in 545 AB’s ... managing Salina was his final stint in a two year endeavor as a skipper ( managed Klamath Falls in 1948 )


1950


Western Association (C ) ... Manager : John Davenport ... 53-83 , 8th place ... Attendance: 44,773


No player on the 22 man roster ever reached the major leagues ... 20 year old RHP Paul Pawli went 14-8 with a 2.87 ERA in 33 games ( 213 IP ) ... he was out of baseball after the 1951 season


1951


Western Association (C ) ... Manager : Pat Patterson ... 63-58 , 4th place ... Attendance: 47,550


20 year old RHP Gene Snyder went 17-10 with a 3.97 ERA in 40 games ( 213 IP ) ... he would go on to pitch in eleven big league games for the 1959 LA Dodgers - the extent of his major league career


1952


Western Association (C ) ... Pat Patterson ... 61-77 , 5th place ...

Attendance: 35,984


18 year old outfielder and future actor, musician and game show host Bert Convy played in 14 games for Salina ... hit .196 in 46 AB’s ... he finished the season with Class D Miami - played a total of 38 games ( 148 AB’s - .225 average ) before calling it quits and heading to Hollywood


Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️


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