7/27/2020 : Phillies Minor League History - Southeastern League
Time Period - 1938 to 1940
Venues : see below
Cities : Montgomery, AL & Pensacola, FL
Franchise Histories :
The Southeastern League was the name of three minor league circuits. Two of these leagues were associated with MLB affiliated baseball ; the third and most recent incarnation was an independent league that operated for two seasons in 2002–03.
In 1926 the Class B version of the Southeastern League took the field. Although this league would be periodically shut down it continued through 1950.
Montgomery Bombers :
Montgomery has hosted several minor league teams playing in various leagues between 1912 and 1980. Team names have included the Billikens, Bombers, Capitals, Climbers, Grays, Lambs, Lions, Rebels and Senators.
In 1937 the Montgomery Bombers played in the Southeastern League as an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The Indians were replaced by the Phillies in 1938. After one season the Phillies dropped their affiliation; the team became a co-op franchise and were renamed the Rebels. In 1943, the Rebels would disband due to the manpower shortage caused by World War II.
Various clubs formed and played since then. The Montgomery Biscuits - an affiliate of the Tampa Rays - have represented Alabama's capital in the Southern League since 2004.
Pensacola Fliers :
The Pensacola Fliers played in the Southeastern League between 1928 and 1950.
The team originated in 1928 and operated through 1930. After a brief hiatus, they reformed as the Pensacola Pilots which lasted through World War II. After the war they returned as the Fliers.
They had major league affiliations with the Dodgers ( 1938 ), Phillies ( 1939 - 1940 ) and Senators ( 1946 ).
Since 2012 the Pensacola Blue Wahoos ( Twins affiliate ) have represented the city in Minor League Baseball ... they play in the AA level Southern League.
The Stadiums the Phillies teams played in :
Cramton Bowl - Montgomery, AL
Location: Madison Avenue at Hilliard Street.
Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 335-390-325 (1939)
The Cramton Bowl was used for both baseball and football. The visitors' stands for football were the LF bleachers for baseball; the RF bleachers extended farther down the line. Today the Bowl is across the street from Paterson Field which is the current home of the Alabama State collegiate baseball team.
It opened in 1922 and is named for Fred J. Cramton, a local businessman who donated the land on which the stadium is built. Cramton Bowl remains in use for high school football games as well as special events.
American Legion Park - Pensacola, FL
Also Known As: Legion Field
Location: 14 W. Garden Street.
Capacity: 4,500 (1939)
Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 340-480-360 (1939)
The park opened in 1911 ... the Pensacola Journal wrote that there "is no baseball plant south of the Ohio River that surpasses Pensacola's new park in its perfection of appointments for the comfort and convenience of patrons of the national game."
Unfortunately the park was a segregated facility, with the grandstand reserved for whites, and blacks relegated to bleachers along the left field fence.
Today I believe it’s a public park facility.
The Seasons :
1938 - Montgomery :
Southeastern League ( B ) ... Manager : Bud Connolly ... 60-88 , 8th place ... Attendance : 71,217.
19 year old Outfielder Harry “The Hat” Walker was in his first pro season by playing in 10 games after being promoted from Tiffin. He would go on to play in 11 major league seasons with the Cardinals, Phillies, Cubs and Reds appearing in 807 games ... he won the 1947 batting champion crown hitting .363 with the Cardinals and Phillies. He later managed in the major leagues for nine seasons with the Cardinals, Pirates and Astros.
1939 - Pensacola :
Southeastern League ( B ) ... Manager : Wally Dashiell ... 87-48 , 1st place ... Attendance : 70,000. League Champions - Defeated the Selma Cloverleafs 4 games to 0 in Playoffs and the Jackson Senators 4 games to 2 in Championship Series
Harry Walker returned to the Southeastern League for a full season and hit .322 in 459 AB’s ... 23 year old RHP Johny Hutchings had a standout season going 22-10 with a 1.97 ERA ( led the league ) in 43 games ( 260 IP ) ... he later pitched in six big league seasons with Cincinnati and a Boston
1940 - Pensacola :
Southeastern League ( B ) ... Manager : Wally Dashiell ... 89-60, 2nd place ... Attendance : ? Defeated the Mobile Shippers 4 games to 3 in Playoffs but lost to the Jackson Senators 4 games to 1 in Championship Series.
24 year old RHP Garth Mann went 20-8 with a 3.04 ERA in 33 games ( 222 IP ). He would pitch in 12 minor league seasons but only appeared in one big league contest with the 1944 Cubs ... won 114 minor league games and pitched in 284 games ( 1,773 IP ).
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️