• Steve Potter

7/3/2020 - Phillies Minor League History - The Carbondale Pioneers



Time Period - 1946 to 1950


Venue : Russell Park


City : Carbondale, PA


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Franchise History :


The team was formed in 1945 as a charter member of the newly organized North Atlantic League. I found the following description from a Carbondale historian :


“The group crowded into Room 3 on the second floor of the former Miners & Mechanics Bank building on a spring evening in 1946 had one purpose in mind – seeing that all the plans for Carbondale's entry into organized baseball came off without a hitch.


Under the banner of the newly-incorporated Carbondale Baseball Association, the group had accomplished much during the year since it had accepted an invitation to join the Class D North Atlantic League, one of 28 minor leagues to spring up in 1946 after the end of World War II.


The city hadn't had a professional baseball team since 1895-1896 when the Carbondale Anthracites played in the Penn State League. It appeared the time was ripe for another try which had the support of Mayor Billy Monahan and other city leaders.


Thanks to Joe Reardon, the Philadelphia Phillies farm director, the team had a major league affiliation.” - Ed Rodgers - The Valley Advantage


The formal affiliation with the Phillies didn’t actually begin till the 1947 season, they played as an independent co-op team their first year ( 1946 ) ... The club’s existence as well as the North Atlantic League was short ... the league folded after the 1950 season as did the Carbondale pro baseball franchise.

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The Stadium the Phillies teams played in :


Russell Park

Location: 1112, Russell Street.

Capacity: 3,400 (1950)


“Russell Park was constructed during the WPA days. In 1945 it was converted into a modern lighted stadium with a covered grandstand behind home plate and bleachers along the first and third base lines.” - Ed Rodgers - The Valley Advantage


Today Russell Park is a public park in use by Carbondale residents. It’s also the home of the Carbondale Little League and area youth soccer teams.


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The Seasons :


1946


North Atlantic League (D ) ... Manager : Pat Colgan ... 69-48 , 4th place ... Attendance: 62,617. Defeated Nazareth Tigers 4 games to 1 in playoffs ... lost to Peeksville Highlanders 4 games to 3 in Championship Series


25 year old Walter Forwood set league season records for batting average ( .406 ) and Doubles ( 43 ) in 419 AB’s


1947


North Atlantic League (D ) ... Manager : Pat Colgan ... 77-52, 2nd place ... Attendance: 85,500. League Champions ... defeated Mahoney City Bluebirds 4 games to 3 in playoffs & defeated Peeksville Highlanders 4 games to 1 in Championship Series


23 year old LHP Hilly Flitcraft went 10-5 with a 4.21 ERA in 17 games ( 109 IP ) ... he had played briefly for the 1942 Phillies before serving in the military and thus out of baseball for a couple seasons during wartime


1948


North Atlantic League (D ) ... Manager : Danny Carnevale ... 80-49, 2nd place ... Attendance: 83,485. League Champions ... defeated Mahoney City Brewers 4 games to 3 in playoffs & defeated Peeksville Highlanders 4 games to 0 in Championship Series


None of the 28 players on the roster reached the major leagues ... 30 year old player/manager Danny Carnevale led the league in batting average ( .380 ) in 371 AB’s ... he also led the league in home runs with 20 and slugging percentage ( .663 )


1949


North Atlantic League (D ) ... Manager : Barney Lutz ... 63-76, 5th place ... Attendance: 28,000.


18 year old LHP Ron Mrozinksi made his pro debut and went 10-12 with a 4.34 ERA in 25 games ( 172 IP ) ... he later pitched in 37 games for the 1954 & 1955 Phillies


1950


North Atlantic League (D ) ... Manager : Joe Glenn ... 76-55, 3rd place ... Attendance: 37,548. lost to the Lebanon Chix 4 games to 3 in playoffs


20 year old outfielder Stan Palys hit .318 in his first pro season in 406 AB’s ... he played 4 seasons in the major leagues ( 1953 to 1956 ) with the Phillies & Reds playing in 138 games ... he later played 4 seasons in Japan ( 1964 to 1967 ) and appeared in 446 games there


21 year old RHP Henry Ptak went 20-7 with a 2.87 ERA in 38 games ( 227 IP ) ... it was the best season of his four year minor league career


Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️


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