Monday, April 09, 2007

It's Baseball Season!

Baseball has long been a popular sport in Sandusky. It was played by both the prisoners and the guards at Johnson’s Island Prison during the Civil War. The Bay City Baseball League was organized here in April 1868, while in March 1886 William J. Stoffel purchased several lots bordering Central Ave., Osborn and Prospect Streets to be fitted up as a baseball park. The streetcar line ran close to these grounds, so fans could come to the games from far and near. Here is a view of the Central Park ballfield around 1940:

The Detroit Tigers of the American League were the opposition for the Sandusky team when League Park opened at the corner of Columbus and Perkins Avenues on April 22, 1907; future Hall of Famer Ty Cobb played right field for the Tigers. An estimated crowd of 2200 fans were at the game that day. Herman Schleman’s “Sanduskys” were defeated 18 to 1 by the Detroit team. Herman Schleman later went on to manage the Telling Strollers in Cleveland.

Elmer Smith, a Sandusky native, hit the first grand slam home run in World Series history when he played for the Cleveland Indians in 1920. Other major league baseball players born in Sandusky are George “Jerry” Upp, Elmer Miller, and Alva “Al” Halt (pictured below, at around age 20, with the Sandusky BPOE Elks Team in 1910, four years before he entered the major leagues; unfortunately, although we know the names of the players, we do not know which person is which).

The Martins and Shamrocks were popular baseball teams in Sandusky in the 1910’s. (Below: the Shamrock baseball team, Sandusky city champions, 1912.)
Ernie Nimmons, an outstanding Sandusky High School athlete in the late 1940’s, played for the Indianapolis Clowns in 1952.

Baseball continues to be played in Sandusky in several area leagues, with youngsters as young as age five playing T-ball. To read more about baseball in Sandusky, you can view the sports pages from our local newspapers in the Archives Research Center.

Baseball on the beach at Cedar Point, date unknown.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello, regarding the photo of the "Shamrock Ball Team Champions of Sandusky, Ohio 1912 photoed bt Schlessman" on your main page do you have any of the names of those pictured? I have the same photo. My grandmother recently passed away and I am scanning her photos in to share with the rest of my family. I would like to find out if any of our relatives played on this team or if you have any of the names of these players. My email address is Thank you!! Michelle