7/28/2020 : Phillies Minor League History - Three One Year stints in the 1950’s
Time Period - 1951 to 1952 and 1957
Venues : see below
Cities : Elizabethon, TN, Miami, OK & Lewiston, ID
Franchise Histories :
Elizabethon Phils :
The Appalachian League of Professional Baseball began play in 1911. It operated as a Class D league (1911–1914), (1921–1925), (1937–1955) and (1957–1962) before becoming a Rookie league in 1963.
The Elizabethton Betsy Red Sox/Cubs/Local/Phils were an Appalachian League team team that existed from 1937 to 1951. They were affiliated with the Red Sox ( 1937-1940), the Dodgers ( 1941 ), the Cubs ( 1945-1948) and the Phillies ( 1951 ). The club disbanded after the 1951 season.
The Twins have affiliated with Elizabethon in the Appalachian League since 1974.
Miami Eagles :
The Kansas–Oklahoma–Missouri League (or KOM League) was established in 1946. It existed for seven seasons (1946-1952) as a Class D League. The league folded due to financial difficulties.
The Miami Eagles (also known as the Miami Owls and Miami Blues ) played in the KOM league during it’s entirety. They had two major league affiliations ... the Dodgers in 1946 and the Phillies in 1952.
Lewiston Broncs :
The Lewiston Broncs played from 1952 through 1974. Locally, the team was known as "Lewis-Clark" to include the adjacent city of Clarkston, Washington. Prior to its 1952 arrival in Lewiston , the team was the Tacoma Tigers of the Pacific Coast League.
The Broncs had two distinctions:
They played in the smallest town in America to have a professional baseball team.
They were the only professional baseball team to be operated without a business manager. During their entire existence, they were run by a board of directors centered on the stockholders.
The franchise had five major league player development contracts during its existence ( Browns,Orioles,Phillies, A’s, Cardinals) before disbanding following the 1974 season.
The Stadiums the Phillies teams played in :
Cherokee Park -Elizabethon, TN
Capacity: 3,000 (1951)
Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 345-500-400 (1938)
Miami Fairgrounds - Miami, OK
Capacity: 4,500 (1949)
Built in 1940 the Fairgrounds were structured to support the local county fair... and as was common in those days it also supported professional baseball. After the Eagles baseball club folded following the 1952 season the fairgrounds returned to just being a normal fairgrounds venue. It continues in service today.
Bengal Field - Lewiston, ID
Location: 11th (1B) & 12th (LF) Avenues at 15th Street (3B).
Capacity: 4,000 (1939)
Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 335-385-260 (1939)
Bengal Field opened in 1934 as a multi-sport athletic field. It was the host of minor league baseball for over twenty years.
The baseball diamond was also the home field for Lewiston High School and local American Legion baseball. It hosted the American Legion World Series in 1973.
The stadium transitioned into a football-only venue in the 1980s. The High School last played baseball there in 1983. It is currently the football home for the High School.
The Seasons :
1951 - Elizabethon, TN :
Appalachian League ( D ) ... Managers : John Davenport & Donald Marshall ... 57-70 , 4th place ... Attendance : 28,369. Lost in Playoffs to Kingsport Cherokees 2 games to 0
20 year old RHP Ray Semproch went 17-11 in his initial pro season in 36 games ( 229 IP ) ... he would go on to pitch in 4 major league seasons from 1958 to 1961 with the Phillies, Tigers and Angels. He pitched in 85 MLB games ( 344 IP ).
1952 - Miami, OK :
Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League ( D ) ... Manager : John Davenport ... 67-57 , 3rd place ... Attendance : 43,008. League Champions : Defeated Bartlesville/Pittsburg Pirates 1 game to 0 in playoffs and the Ponca City Dodgers 2 games to 0 in Championship Series
18 year old RHP Jim Owens went 22-7 in 36 games ( 245 IP ) with a 1.76 ERA ( led the league ) ... he went on to pitch in 12 big league seasons with the Phillies, Reds and Astros appearing in 286 games ( 885.1 IP ).
20 year old Donnie Ervin led the league in home runs with 24 ... he missed the next two seasons due to military service and played just one more year thereafter.
29 year old player-manager John Davenport led the league in doubles ( 37 ) and total bases ( 244 ) while also stroking 18 home runs and posting a .333 batting average in 436 AB’s
1957 - Lewiston, ID :
Northwest League ( B ) ... Manager : Hillis Lane ... 58-78 , 5th place ... Attendance : 47,102.
39 year old player-manager finished second in the league in batting average ( .340 ) with 356 AB’s ... he was the player-manager for Lewiston from 1955 to 1958. He had played in three major league seasons with the Washington Senators in the 1940’s.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️