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Lancaster in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

140 Years of Lancaster Baseball

 
 
140 Years of Lancaster Baseball Marker image. Click for full size.
By Carl Gordon Moore Jr., October 4, 2020
1. 140 Years of Lancaster Baseball Marker
Inscription.  The rules, equipment, and culture of baseball have evolved throughout American history. In 1845 the New York Knickerbockers Base Ball Club's president, Alexander Joy Cartwright, wrote several innovative guidelines for the game and has become known as the founder of the modern version of America's game. But it was the extensive interaction of people during the Civil War that delivered the game to every corner of America. Soldiers returning home to Lancaster brought with them the knowledge, skills, and passion for the new game.

❖ In 1884 professional baseball arrived in Lancaster with two teams: the Lancasters and the Ironsides. The people of Lancaster struggled to support both teams and tensions rose between the two as the owners of the teams tossed out insults directed at the other team's playing abilities. The teams refused to play against each other during the regular season. At the end of the tumultuous 1884 season, the teams finally agreed to a play-off series. After seven close games, the Ironsides took the title as Lancaster's best first professional team.

❖ Only a few professional "colored”
140 Years of Lancaster Baseball Marker image. Click for full size.
By Carl Gordon Moore Jr., October 4, 2020
2. 140 Years of Lancaster Baseball Marker
teams existed in the nineteenth century. These teams were composed mostly of African-Americans, but men from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds played for colored teams. In June of 1887, James Goodall of Philadelphia brought his baseball team and its manager, William E. Simpson, to Lancaster. While several amateur colored teams existed in Lancaster in the 1880s, the Giants were Lancaster's first professional colored baseball team. Unfortunately, less than three weeks after their arrival, the team disbanded.

❖ New Haven, Connecticut's minor league team moved to Lancaster in 1896. Named for the color of their uniforms, the Maroons excelled in their new home. In 1897, the Maroons swept the league with a string of 23 wins in a row. However, due to demands from players for higher salaries, the owners lost money and the team disbanded at the end of the 1899 season.

❖ In 1904, Lancaster businessmen experimented again with professional baseball by constructing a new ballpark and financing a team to play as "outlaws” with no league affiliation. The experiment worked and in March 1905, Lancaster was granted a franchise in the Tri-State League. Their first season in the minors was difficult and the Maroons finished in last place.

❖ During their first game of the 1906 season against the York White Roses, the York manager
140 Years of Lancaster Baseball Marker image. Click for full size.
By Carl Gordon Moore Jr., October 4, 2020
3. 140 Years of Lancaster Baseball Marker
The marker is seen edgewise, just left of the 1st "t" in the white "take heart". You would be facing right to face the front of the marker. The street is one-way, carrying southbound U.S. 222 from right to left.
publicly denounced Lancaster's team and predicted they would again finish in last place. But Lancaster's players came onto the field of that first game proudly sporting new uniforms consisting of white shirt and pants, dark blue stockings, and dark blue cap with a white "L” embroidered across the front. The new uniform made the "Maroon” name obsolete. Newspaper reporters latched onto this war between the roses, and zealously applied a new nickname to the city's team. The Maroons blossomed into the "Red Roses” and defeated York, 9 to 4. Although the city loved their new team, the Red Roses put away their bats after a dismal 1914 season.

[photo caption] 1906 Lancaster Red Roses

❖ Amateur baseball thrived during the hard economic times of World War I and the Great Depression. Baseball was cheap entertainment --- a way to escape from the struggles of everyday life. But minor league ball struggled without the gate income necessary to pay for players and travel. Minor league ball returned briefly in 1932 with the Lancaster Red Sox, coached by James Sheckard of Columbia, but disbanded after only a few games.

❖ The returning strength of the national economy in the 1940s revived efforts in Lancaster to form a minor league franchise and in 1941, the Red Roses were reborn, beginning a successful, nearly twenty-year
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stint of minor league baseball in Lancaster.

❖ Lancaster's Red Roses beat the odds by surviving the minor leagues' lean years during World War II and the Korean War. Erratic attendance, however, brought about their demise during the last years of the 1950s. On the evening of September 2, 1961, the Red Roses played their final game.

[photo caption] Lancaster Roses 1959 Score Card

❖ Between 1999-2004, the Bring Back Baseball Committee, led by former Lancaster city mayor Richard M. Scott, worked to bring minor league baseball back to Lancaster.

❖ On May 11, 2005, professional baseball returned to Lancaster. The new Clipper Magazine Stadium is the home of the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

Photographs courtesy of the Lancaster County Historical Society and Lancaster Barnstormers. Writing and editorial assistance provided by the staff of the Lancaster County Historical Society.

[caption of photo at bottom]
Clipper Magazine Stadium taken by Jerry Driendl Photography
 
Erected by Lancaster Barnstormers.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansSports.
 
Location. 40° 2.869′ N, 76° 
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18.588′ W. Marker is in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County. Marker is on Prince Street (U.S. 222) north of Frederick Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 650 N Prince Street, Lancaster PA 17603, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Durang (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); B. F. Good / P. Lorillard Tobacco Warehouse (about 800 feet away); Lancaster Rotary Park: 100 years of Rotary International (approx. 0.2 miles away); Philadelphia & Columbia Railroad, 1834 (approx. ¼ mile away); Simon Snyder (approx. 0.4 miles away); Revolutionary War Stables (approx. 0.4 miles away); Pennsylvania Medical Society (approx. 0.4 miles away); Military Stables and Barracks (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lancaster.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 13, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 7, 2020, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. This page has been viewed 36 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 7, 2020, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Oct. 22, 2020