• Steve Potter

7/11/2020 : Phillies Minor League History - The Dothan Phillies


Time Period - 1961 to 1962


Venue : Wiregrass Memorial Stadium


City : Dothan, AL


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Franchise History :


Dothan had minor league teams in the Alabama-Florida League or versions thereof from 1936 to 1942 and from 1946 to 1962. A Dothan team also played from 1915-1917 in the Dixie League. The 1936 franchise was originally known as fine Boll Weevils before switching their name in 1942 to the Browns aligned with a one year affiliation with the St Louis Browns.


In 1953 the St Louis Cardinals affiliated with the club ... the team name was changed from Browns to Rebels before becoming the Dothan Cardinals in 1955. The club dropped out of the Alabama-Florida League for the 1957 season but returned to Dothan as a St Louis affiliate again in 1958 and remained as such thru 1960.


In 1961, the Phillies picked up the affiliation and renamed them the Dothan Phillies. The Phillies would play in Dothan for 2 seasons before both the franchise and the league came to an end after the 1962 season.


The Alabama-Florida League, ( known as the Alabama League (1940-1941 & 1946 to 1950 because during those years there was no Florida team ), existed for 24 years and Dothan was represented with a franchise for all but one of it’s seasons.


Affiliations :


St Louis Browns - 1942

St Louis Cardinals - 1953 to 1956 & 1957 to 1960

Philadelphia Phillies - 1961 to 1962


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The Stadium the Phillies teams played in :


Wiregrass Memorial Stadium :


Location: 119 W. Main Street & 3rd Avenue.

Capacity: 5,000 (1950); 3,500 (1958), 4,000 (1962)

Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 330-420-300


The stadium was built in 1943 with a lone J shaped concrete grandstand. The grandstand going down the 3rd base line, was created longer then then 1st baseline. This was because the venue also served as a football stadium, so a longer straight lined grandstand was needed for viewing the gridiron. The curve of the J was the main seating area for baseball - Ballpark Digest


There was a wooden roof over the grandstand that deteriorated over the years and was eventually removed. Wiregrass Stadium remains in use today as a municipal softball field.


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The Seasons :


1961


Alabama-Florida League (D ) ... Manager : Bob Wellman ... 35-82 , 6th place ... Attendance: 7,963.


Only one player of the 38 who played for the club reached the major league ... 18 year old shortstop Mike Marshall made his pro debut by hitting 264 in 522 AB’s with 7 home runs and 51 RBIs ... he would switch to pitching in 1965 which led to a 14 year big league career including winning a Cy Young Award with the 1974 LA Dodgers

1962


Alabama-Florida League (D ) ... Manager : Moose Johnson ... 57-62 , 3rd place ... Attendance: 18,500. Lost in playoffs to Pensacola Senators 2 games to 0.


20 year old third baseman Nelson Gardner led the league in home runs ( 22 ), slugging ( .548 ) and total bases ( 252 ) while driving in 100 runs and posting a .315 batting average in 460 AB’s ... he moved to the Washington Senators organization the following season and played just three more years before retiring from pro baseball


22 year old RHP Chuck Herzberger went 15-9 with a 3.49 ERA in 54 games ( 139 IP ) with a 1.95 ERA ... he would pitch in 7 minor league seasons before retiring in 1965 after reaching the AA level the previous two seasons


Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️


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