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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

8/1/2020 : Phillies Minor League History - 1939 & 1940

Time Period - 1939 to 1940

Venues : see below

Cities : Johnstown, PA & Portsmouth, VA


Franchise Histories :

Johnstown Johnies :

The Pennsylvania State Association was a class D league that existed from 1934 until 1942. During the nine-year run of the league there were eleven Pennsylvania cities that represented the league. The Phillies participated one season in the league ( 1939 ) with a player development contract with Johnstown.

The Johnstown Johnnies existed in various forms from 1883 through 2002. Their longest run started in 1925, they played continuously through 1942 when they had to temporarily suspend play due to World War II. After the war, the team started playing again in 1946 before dissolving in 1950. The club had player development contracts with five MLB organizations ( Browns, Phillies, Dodgers, Giants & Red Sox ).

A Frontier League ( Independent ) team formed in 1995 and played thru 2002 before disbanding.

Pourtsmouth Cubs :

The Piedmont League operated from 1920 thru 1955. Portsmouth had a franchise in the loop from 1935–1955. They began as the “Truckers” before changing their name to “Cubs” in 1936. The Phillies were linked to the club with a player development contract for the 1939 and 1940 seasons. The Cubs had the longest affiliation with the team in two stints ( 1936 to 1938 & 1941 to 1947 ).

The Phillies returned to Pourtsmouth from 1966 to 1968 affiliated with the Pourtsmouth Tides franchise.


The Stadiums the Phillies teams played in :

Point Stadium - Johnstown, PA

Also Known As: Point Grounds 1905-1913

Location : 100 Johns Street at Washington Street at Rte 56 Bypass near the Conemaugh River.

Capacity: 16,000

Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 263-405-250

The stadium opened in 1905 and was renovated in the mid nineties. In 2005 the original structure was torn down and replaced with a new stadium which opened in 2006.

The "Point" refers to its location at the confluence of three rivers. It plays host to the All-American Amateur Baseball Association National Baseball tournament. The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown collegiate baseball team uses it as their home field. Local high school football games are also played there.

Sewanee Stadium - Pourtsmouth, VA

Capacity: 5,000

Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 290-385-335

The stadium was built in 1921. In 1940 the wooden based ballpark was at the very end of its lifecycle (due to its fragile wooden construction) and Lawrence Stadium had opened in 1936. The Phillies teams played half their games at each stadium.

Lawrence Stadium - Pourtsmouth, VA

Capacity: 11,000

Dimensions (Left, Center, Right): 404-380-340

When this park opened up in 1936, Sewanee Stadium, was still a viable ballpark. The Piedmont League Portsmouth Cubs split their schedule between both parks. This continued until 1941, when the Cubs moved all of their games to City Stadium.


The Seasons :

1939 - Johnstown :

Pennsylvania State Association ( D ) ... Manager : Dick Goldberg ... 50-60 , 4th place ... Attendance : ? Lost to Washington Red Birds 3 games to 2 in Playoffs

17 year 2B/OF Clint Conatser played in 37 games during his first pro season. He missed the 1942 to 1945 seasons due to military service. Conatser played two seasons in the major leagues with the Boston Braves from 1948 to 1949 ( 143 games ) and nine minor league seasons before retiring after the 1952 campaign.

1939 - Pourtsmouth :

Piedmont ( B ) ... Manager : Jim Keesey ... 66-71 , 6th place ... Attendance : ?

The 1939 team wasn’t exclusive to just the Phillies with multiple players on the roster on loan from other organizations. One was 23 year old middle infielder Eddie Stanky who appeared in 37 games. He would go on to play in 11 major league seasons with the Cubs, Dodgers, Braves, Giants and Cardinals appearing in 1,259 games. He later managed for 8 seasons in the big leagues as well. Another fella that played alongside some Phillies during his minor league days.

1940 - Pourtsmouth :

Piedmont ( B ) ... Managers : Ray Brubaker, Art McHenry & Bill Steinecke ... 59-78 , 7th place ... Attendance : ?

24 year old LHP Max Wilson went 20-10 with a 3.02 ERA in 39 games ( 253 IP ) ... he would also appear in three big league games with the Phillies later in the season. Wilson pitched in nine major league contests for the 1946 Washington Senators. He played a total of eight pro seasons - mostly in the minors and pitched in 202 minor league games posting a career minor league record of 99-61.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️


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