• Steve Potter

7/19/2020 : Phillies Minor League History - A couple Chiefs Teams from the 1950’s - Grand Forks, ND


Time Period - 1951 to 1952 & 1954 to 1955


Venues : see below


Cities : Grand Forks, ND & Syracuse, NY


.....................................


Franchise Histories :


Grand Forks Chiefs :


The franchise played in the Northern League from 1934 to 1964 although not for the entire time period. In the 1940’s there were gaps, one in particular was from 1943 to 1945 as the league shut down due to the war.


Seven major league affiliations ( White Sox, Brooklyn Dodgers, Yankees, Phillies, Pirates, Indians & LA Dodgers ) occurred over the years ... the longest being the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1956 to 1962 ... the Phillies had a two year stint from 1951 to 1952. The franchise disbanded after the 1964 season.


................................


Syracuse Chiefs :


The franchise was established in 1934 when the Jersey City Skeeters club moved to Syracuse. The initial team played in the International League thru the 1955 season till the franchise was moved to Miami, FL - the Phillies were the affiliate then ( 1954 & 1955 ) and moved their player development agreement to Miami as well.


An Eastern League franchise played in Syracuse for the 1956 and 1957 seasons however the city was without pro baseball thereafter until 1961 when the Montreal Royals moved and became the third iteration of the Chiefs. Pro affiliated baseball has been played in the city since ... at present they are the affiliate of the New York Mets in the AAA International League ( began in 2019 after a 10 year affiliation with the Washington Nationals ). They play as the Syracuse Mets.


Over the years there have been 11 major league affiliations ( Red Sox, Reds, Pirates, Phillies, Tigers, Twins, Senators, Mets, Yankees, Nationals & Blue Jays ) with the Blue Jays having the longest run from 1978 to 2008.


..................................

The Stadiums the Phillies teams played in :


Municipal Park - Grand Forks, ID :

Also Known As: Chiefs Park 1946-1952

Location: 5th & Washington.

Capacity: 2,500 (1939); 3,500 (1950)

Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 324-457-324 (1939); 324-400-324 (1961)


The stadium was built in the 1930’s and torn down following the 1964 season ... a fire station was built on the property. Today it’s the home of the Central Fire Station.


..................................


MacArthur Stadium - Syracuse, NY :


Also Known As: Municipal Stadium, 1934-1941

Location: E. Hiawatha Boulevard at 2nd Street N.

Capacity: 10,000 (1936 & 1950); 12,500 (1939); 8,416 (1994)

Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 335-455-335 (1939); 320-434-320 (1994)

MacArthur Stadium was built in 1934. It was used as the home of the various Chiefs baseball teams for over 50 years until the franchise moved to a newly built ball park. It was renamed in 1942 after General Douglass MacArthur. In 1997 the stadium was razed and the site became a parking lot for a new stadium which remains as the home of the current club.


Fun Fact : The Stadium was noted for having one of the deepest center field fences in minor league baseball and no ball had ever cleared the high wall until 1971 when Richie Zisk ( Major leaguer from 1971 to 1983 ) became the first batter to accomplish that feat while playing with the Charleston Charlies.


.............................

The Seasons :


1951 - Grand Forks


Northern League ( C ) ... Manager : Ed Murphy ... 64-62 , 3rd place ... Attendance : 64,132


No player on the roster reached the major leagues however 19 year old rookie RHP James Brown went 17-8 with a 2.54 ERA in 30 games ( 191 IP ) ... he’d play six minor league seasons finishing his career in 1957

1951 - Grand Forks


Northern League ( C ) ... Manager : Ed Murphy ... 38-86 , 8th place ... Attendance : 32,059


Again no player on the roster would reach the major leagues ... the team had the youngest group of position players in the loop ( 2 years below league average ) but the oldest pitching staff ( 2 years older than league average )

............................


1954 - Syracuse


International League ( AAA ) ... Manager : Skeeter Newsome ... 79-76 , 4th place ... Attendance : 121,652


20 year old RHP Jim Owens posted a 17-8 record with a 3.51 ERA in 36 games ( 223 IP ) ... the Bradford, PA native would go on to pitch in 12 major league seasons with the Phillies, Reds, Colt 45’s and Astros appearing in 286 MLB games from 1955 to 1967


1955 - Syracuse


International League ( AAA ) ... Manager : Skeeter Newsome ... 74-79 , 5th place ... Attendance : 85,191


21 year old RHP Turk Farrell went 12-12 in 33 games ( 30 starts ) posting a 3.94 ERA in 185 IP ... he would go on to pitch in 14 big league season from 1956 to 1969 with the Phillies, Dodgers, Colt 45’s & Astros appearing in 590 games ( 134 starts ) and posting a career 3.45 ERA in 1,704.2 IP ... he had three seasons where his ERA was under 2.50 and in 1967 he was 9-6 with a minuscule 2.05 ERA with 12 saves in 50 appearances for the Phillies


Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️


.......................................





©2020 by Phillies - A Fan’s View. Proudly created with Wix.com