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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

7/21/2020 : Phillies Minor League History - Can-Am League - Three One Year Stints

Time Period - 1940, 1942 and 1951

Venues : see below

Cities : Ottawa, Canada, Ogdensburg NY, Rome, NY & Pittsfield, MA


Franchise Histories :

The Canadian–American League ( Can-Am ), nicknamed the Can-Am League, was a class C circuit which ran from 1936 through 1951, with a three-year break during World War II.

The Phillies affiliated with four cities during that time period in the league ... the longest being Schenectady, NY which I wrote about separately ... the other three were each one year stints ...

Ottawa-Ogdensburg Senators :

The Ogdensburg Colts were a Can-Am League franchise from 1936 to 1939 while the second iteration of the Ottawa Senators ( first established in 1912 ) played in the league during the same time frame.

Ogdensburg partnered with Ottawa in 1940 to form a team, playing in both locations. The two City franchise played as the Senators with half of their games in each city. The team was an affiliate of the Phillies.

This split stadium experiment was not a particularly successful one at the gate with the dual cities. Both cities were dropped from the league the following season.

Ottawa played host to the Ottawa Champions of the independent Can-Am Association from 2005 to 2019 till the league folded. Ogdensburg hasn’t had a pro baseball franchise since the Ogdensburg Maples of the Border League disbanded in 1952.


Rome Colonels :

The Rome Colonels were a Can-Am League franchise from 1937–1942 and 1946–1951. Pro Baseball in Rome dates as far back to 1898 when a team called the Romans played. The Rome Colonels were an 1942 affiliate of the Phillies, the Tigers from 1946 to 1949 and lastly the Philadelphia A’s ( 1951 ).

The Canadian–American League folded following the 1951 season. After that season Rome, New York has not hosted another minor league baseball team.


Pittsfield Phillies :

The Pittsfield Electrics were a team from 1941 to 1951. They played as the Pittsfield Phillies for the 1951 season. Baseball in Pittsfield dates back to 1859 when the first collegiate game was played there. Pro Baseball was played there as far back as 1894.

When the Phillies arrived in 1951 expectations were of a new grandstand at the Wahconah ball park but it wasn’t ready so the team played a portion of their games at a makeshift location ( Dorothy Deming Field ).

Today the Pittsfield Suns, a collegiate summer team plays in the city. Pro baseball hasn’t been played in Pittsfield since the Mets franchise of the NY Penn league vacated after their 2000 season.


The Stadiums the Phillies teams played in :

Lansdowne Park - Ottawa, Canada :

Location: Bank Street & Queen Elizabeth Boulevard.

Capacity: 10,000 (1939); 12,000 (1950)

Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 300-350-300 (1939)

The Stadium was built in 1909 as a football stadium. At one point it was the home of the Ottawa Rough Riders of the CFL. Pro Baseball was played there for 16 years as well. It was mostly demolished and replaced with Frank Clair Stadium in 1967 which was razed and replaced by TD Place Stadium in 2014.

Winter Park - Ogdensburg, NY :

Also Known As: Father Martin Park

Capacity: 1,800 (1936); 3,000 (1946); 2,800 (1950)

Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 310-496-387 (1936)

The field was built on a site that had previously hosted a skating rink. The ballpark had no lights and the grandstand once collapsed during a game. Today it’s been renamed Father Martin Field and is part of a public park.

Colonels Park - Rome, NY :

Location: Black River Boulevard between E. Locust & E. Pine Streets.

Capacity: 3,500 (1939); 2,250 (1942)

Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 360-380-320 (1939)

Colonels Park officially opened on May 18, 1938, after Colonels' owner Dr. Dan Mellen had purchased six and one half acres and constructed the new park. Today, the site is still in use as a public park with ballfields, known as Franklyn's Field.

Wahconah Stadium (Park) - Pittsfield, MA :

Location: 105 Wahconah Street.

Capacity: 4,000 (1950); 3,500 (1971); 5,200 (1995); 4,500 (2002)

Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 334-374-400-333 (1971)

Waconah Park was built in 1892 and renovated in 1949 & 1976. Wahconah Park was laid out so that the sun sets over the LF fence, endangering batters. The configuration has never been changed, and games are often delayed when the sun sets in the batters' eyes. The park is city-owned.

In 2012, the Suns, a franchise of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League began using the stadium as their home field. In the summer, concerts are held there. It is also home to varsity football games for Pittsfield-area high schools.

Dorothy Deming Field - Pittsfield, MA :

Location:Meadow Lane & Newell Street, near Ontario & Elm Streets.

Capacity: 2,500

Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): Small park with an unusual shape

Deming Field was used briefly in 1951 while a new grandstand was being built at Waconah Park. The site is still in use as a public park.


The Seasons :

1940 - Ottawa-Ogdensburg :

Can Am League ( C ) ... Manager : Cy Morgan ... 84-39 , 1st place ... Attendance : 29,373. Lost to Amsterdam Rugmakers 4 games to 1 in Playoffs

20 year old RHP Johny Podgajny went 18-7 with a 2.57 ERA in 30 games ( 214 IP ) ... he would pitch in five major league seasons with the Phillies, Pirates and Indians from 1941 to 1946 appearing in 115 big league games

20 year old Catcher Dixie Howell hit . 363 in 146 AB’s ... he’d go on to play in 8 major league seasons with the Pirates, Reds & Dodgers from 1947 to 1956 appearing in 340 games.

1942 - Rome :

Can Am League ( C ) ... Managers : John Griffiths & Philip Clark ... 38-85 , 8th place ... Attendance : 19,819

20 year old outfielder Bill Sinton from Chester, PA was second in the loop with 16 home runs. He never reached the major leagues but played 10 years of minor league baseball from 1941 to 1957 ... he missed the 1943 to 1945 seasons while serving in the military

1951 - Pittsfield :

Can Am League ( C ) ... Manager : Dick Carter ... 72-42 , 2nd place ... Attendance : 39,820. Lost to Gloversville-Johnstown Glovers 3 games to 2 in playoffs

25 year old RHP George McPhail led the league in wins posting a 24-8 record in 38 games ( 29 starts - 238 IP ) with a 3.25 ERA ... he played just one more season before retiring from pro baseball

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️


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