“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Milton in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Adult Baseball, Softball, and Basketball Programs

Adult Baseball, Softball, and Basketball Programs Marker image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, August 22, 2015
1. Adult Baseball, Softball, and Basketball Programs Marker
Inscription. Baseball has been a very popular sport in Milton for many years. The numerous leagues date back to the late 1890's. Probably the shortest-lived league started one week before the Spanish-American War in 1898, folding after little more than a month.

Another early notable league was the amateur Susquehanna Baseball League. Incredibly, in 1910 a major league team made an appearance in Milton when the Philadelphia Athletics defeated Milton's Red Sox, 4-1. At lease 35 of the town's merchants closed their stores that day so employees could attend the game. Played at Farley Field at the lower end of Milton, the Milton fans were thrilled to see famous players Eddie Plank, Jack Coombs, Eddie Collins and one of the greatest right-handed pitchers in baseball history, Cy Young.

The longest lasting area baseball league was founded in Milton in 1924 and was the oldest amateur circuit in the state as well. The West Branch Baseball League's founding president was Dale E. Ranck. The league divided into two divisions, the Lower Circuit and the Upper Circuit remained active for decades.

In 1931, an incident that received nationwide attention occurred at Watsontown during a West Brach game. On a sweltering hot August day, the third base umpire made a call against Watwontown that home fans did not particularly approve. The heated crowd swarmed the field, grabbed the umpire, carried him off, and threw him, in the river. Watsontown won the game 2-1, although league officials later disqualified the team.

The Milton Softball League began in 1950 when it opened a night softball loop. With a new field on Cameron Avenue, the first night game "under the lights" was held on June 29, 1950 between the Moose and the Watsontown Bulldogs. Moose won 14-5.

That first season's pennant-winning team was Chef Boy-Ar-Dee, with a 13-1 league record, and with top honors, represented Milton in the State's Class B tournament. Milton proudly hosted the state finals at its new field. Through the playoffs, Chefs finally met the defending state champs, Meadville, and defeated them 13-6 to take the State Championship title.

According to records, the first basketball team in Milton represented the YMCA in 1898. In its first game, the courtmen dropped a 31-3 decision to a Danville team and later lost two games to Williamsport and Danville. The following year, the young Milton team did fairly well, defeating four local teams as well as the Williamson Trade School of Philadelphia 15-12. The team was lead by Tom Reimensnyder that year.

Basketball took off quite well in the pre-World War I days. In addition to the YMCA team, a high school team was formed, the Shimer Hose Fire Co. had a team, and the Fifteen Good Fellows Club formed a team in 1910. A social sports-club for men, the FGF Club, boasted 200 members, many more than originally planned.

The earliest games were held at the Armory on Upper Market Street and later at the YMCA's first gym that opened in 1906, across the street from the present Y. The YMCA was originally home to basketball not only for town teams, but also for the high school team.

Top Left Photo
Above - the 1907 Milton baseball team which won the Susquehanna Baseball League pennant that year. From left are Claude Wilson, Chippie Williams, Murphy Strine, Omer Ranck, China Wolfinger, Joe Kaufman, Harry Daggert, Harry Martz, Maurice Wolfinger, and an unidentified team aid.

Bottom Left Photo
Above - 1950 State Softball Champs, the Chef-Boy-Ar-De team - Top row from left, Harry Keister, Bill Derr, Ray Bennett, Dick Hoy, Dick Wolford, Pete Karchner and Don Harpster. In the middle row, Andy Pursel, Jr.., Dick Miller, Ned Reitz, Bob Coup, Byron Heimbach, Nels Kersteller, Junie Brown, Ed Reitz, Joe Runyan, and Harry Cromley. In front, Chef Officials Luther Bowman and Bob Gift manager Andy Percival, and league officials Maynard Merta, Jim Harpster, Ed Powell and president Andy Mertz.

Top Right Photo
Above - one of Milton's first baseball teams in 1900. Not everyone is identified, however, in the top row, second from left is Charlie "Ginger" Tuefel, Harry Strine, third, and "Bunch" Ranch fourth. In the middle row are, from left, Morris Wolfinger, Murphy Strine, and "Skinny" Haines.

Bottom Right Photo
Above - one of the earliest teams to play basketball in Milton. The 1901 YMCA team played at the old Armory on Upper Market Street. Top row, from left, is coach Charles "Ginger" Teufel, Clark Dickerman, Harry Hill, William Murdock, and manager Stanley Hankie. Below from left are Guy Hankie, Luther Reimensnyder and team captain Charles Oberlin.
Erected by Parks and Recreation.
Location. 41° 1.228′ N, 76° 51.346′ W. Marker is in Milton, Pennsylvania, in Northumberland County. Marker is at the intersection of N. Front Street and Broadway Street on N. Front Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Milton PA 17847, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Turbot Hills Golf Club (here, next to this marker); "Remembrance of Things Past" (here, next to this marker); The Milton Fair (here, next to this marker); Riverside Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Milton's Early Park and Recreation Programs (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to Lincoln Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Rotary Centennial Park (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Rotary Centennial Park (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Milton.
Categories. Sports

Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 24, 2015, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 212 times since then and 21 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on August 24, 2015, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.
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