• Steve Potter

The Chattanooga Lookouts





Time Period - 1960 to 1961 and 1963 to 1965


Level of Play : AA


Venue : Engel Stadium


City : Chattanooga, TN


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Lookouts Franchise History :


The team name Lookouts derives from Lookout Mountain. Its ridge spans three states : Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. It’s the ancestral home of the Cherokee and Creek Indians which among others provided the name for the city that would later grow at the foot of the mountain: Chattanooga.


Pro Baseball in Chattanooga dates back to 1885 with independent teams playing at Andrews Field until 1930 when Engel Stadium was built on the site by Joe Engel who had purchased the franchise in 1926. The Washington Senators were the first big league club to affiliate with the Lookouts, they fielded a team there from 1932 to 1959. The Phillies signed a franchise agreement for the 1960 and 1961 seasons in the Southern Association. That league disbanded in 1962 leaving Chattanooga without a franchise for the season. The South Atlantic League offered an opportunity in 1963 and the Phillies again signed on for a Chattanooga franchise but with the clear understanding that the roster would include black athletes - a first for the Lookouts franchise. In fact the Southern Association has disbanded due largely to it’s Jim Crow policies. The Phillies Adolfo Phillips, Bobby Gene Sanders and Hank Allen ( Dick’s brother ) became the first trio of black players in Lookouts history.


The franchise folded in 1966 and the stadium remained silent from pro baseball until 1976 when the Oakland A’s signed on for a two year agreement reviving the Lookouts name. They were followed by the Indians from 1978 to 1982, the Mariners from 1983 to 1987, the Reds from 1988 to 2008, the Dodgers from 2009 to 2014, the Twins from 2015 to 2018 with the Reds returning for 2019.


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The Stadium the Phillies played in :


Engel Stadium was constructed in 1930 and held 12,000 people. The ballpark is located at 1130 E. 3rd Street in Chattanooga. It was named after then team owner Joe Engel who was a longtime scout for the Washington Senators and also pitched in the major leagues from 1912 to 1920. He became known for his minor league promotions which included an exhibition game in 1931 when a 17 year old girl named Jackie Mitchell reportedly struck out Yankee greats Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig 😳.


The field dimensions were vast up the middle - 471 feet to center field, 325 to left and 318 to right. The street level beyond left field was higher than the playing surface so a hill was built with the name Lookouts emboldened in the turf to make up the difference. Legend has it that Harmon Killebrew was the only player to hit the ball out over the center field wall.


The stadium was renovated in 1988 with the last pro game played there on September, 10, 1999. It was sold to the University of Tennessee Chattanooga ( UTC ) and the Engel Foundation was formed in 2009 to renovate it once more. . In 2012 Engel Stadium was used as the movie set for “42” - the life story of Jackie Robinson. The stadium was declared an historic landmark in 2014.


In 2017 UTC announced plans to convert the stadium grounds to a multi field intramural sports complex. The project was completed in 2019 and historic markers depicting events of the stadium are found throughout. The stadium infield and grandstand have been preserved.


BTW the current Chattanooga Lookouts play at AT&T Field which was built in 2000 and originally named BellSouth Park.


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The Seasons :


1960


Southern Association . . . Manager: Spook Jacobs . . . 60-93, 8th place ( last ) . . . Attendance: 58,010.


34 year old Spook Jacobs served as player/manager, the second baseman from Milford, Delaware hit .306 in 125 games ( 389 AB’s ). He also appeared in three games as a pitcher tossing five innings. Jacobs played parts of three seasons in the major leagues with the Athletics and Pirates from 1954 to 1956.


Major Leaguers :


17 of the 38 players on the roster that season previously or eventually played in the major leagues.


1961


Southern Association . . . Manager: Frank Lucchesi . . . 90-62, first place - league Champions . . . Attendance: 107,419.


25 year old INF Wayne Graham led the league in doubles ( 51 ), was 2nd in Triples ( 9 ) , 8th in batting average ( .331 in 601 AB’s ) and 1st in Total Bases ( 280 ) ... he played in the Major Leagues with the Phillies in 1963 and the Mets in 1964 - a total of 30 games.


24 year old 1B Cal Emery finished 2nd in the league in home runs ( 26 ) , 4th in RBIs ( 94 ) , 6th in OBP ( .419 ), 3rd in slugging ( .542 ) and 2nd in OPS ( .960).


23 year old OF John Herrnstein was 4th in the league in RBIs ( 95 ) and 5th in Total Bases ( 251 ).


22 year old RHP Boozer was 2nd in wins ( 19 ), 9th in ERA ( 2.61 ), 1st in shutouts ( 4 ) and 3rd in Complete Games ( 14 ) amassing 207 IP in 35 games ( 24 starts )


36 year old RHP Warren Hacker went 8-1 in 16 games with a league best 1.57 ERA in 63 IP


Major Leaguers :


20 of the 35 players on the roster that season previously or eventually played in the major leagues including Emery, Herrnstein, Boozer, Hacker and a 23 year old shortstop named Lee Elia.


1963


South Atlantic League . . . Manager: Jack Phillips . . . 62-78 6th place . . . Attendance: 58,402.


22 year old 1B Hank Allen played in four games before being sent to A level Miami. 21 year old OF Adolfo Phillips hit .306 in 412 AB’s with 28 doubles( 4th in league ) and 13 home runs.


21 year old 1B/OF Costen Shockley finished third in the league in batting average ( .335 in 478 AB’s ), 4th in slugging ( .492 ), 5th in OPS ( .861 ) and 2nd in Total Bases ( 235 ) while leading the league in Triples ( 12 ) and tieing for 3rd in RBIs ( 74 )


24 year old Catcher/3B Bill Heath finished 5th in the league in batting average ( .331 in 362 AB’s )


Major Leaguers :


10 of the 29 players on the roster that season previously or eventually played in the major leagues including Shockley who would play a total of 51 big league games with the Phillies and Angels from 1964 to 1965. 22 year old catcher Pat Corrales was also on the 1963 Lookouts team playing in 127 games.


1964


South Atlantic League . . . Manager: Andy Seminick . . . 65-74 7th place . . . Attendance: 40,331


23 year old 1B Hank Allen returned for a full season playing in 130 games hitting 12 home runs and posting 70 RBIs.


The pitching staff included 21 year old LHP Grant Jackson, RHP Fergie Jenkins ( 21 ), LHP Marcelino Lopez ( 20), RHP Dave Bennett ( 18 ) and RHP Billy Wilson ( 22 ) - all would eventually pitch in the big leagues


Strange but True :


21 year old Mike Marshall was on the club as a shortstop and hit .275 in 495 AB’s with 5 home runs and 62 RBIs


He went on to become a standout RHP who featured a screwball and would have a 14 year major league career and amass 188 saves as one of the premier closers of the 1970’s. Marshall won the National League Cy Young Award in 1974 as a member of the Dodgers when he went 15-12 with 21 saves and posted a 2.42 ERA


Major Leaguers :


13 of the 32 players on the roster that season previously or eventually played in the major leagues


1965


South Atlantic League . . . Manager: Jack Phillips . . . 60-80 8th place . . . Attendance: 25,767.


22 year old Mike Marshall converted to pitching, he spent the majority of the season at A level Eugene but did appear in 8 games with the Lookouts as well.


Major Leaguers :


11 of the 31 players on the roster that season previously or eventually played in the major leagues.


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The Phillies moved their AA franchise affiliation to Macon, GA for the 1966 season.


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