Colonial League
SportMinor League Baseball
Inaugural season1914
Ceased1916
July 14, 1950
PresidentCharles Coppen (1914–1915)
Ken Strong (1947)
John A. Scalzi Jr. (1948–1950)
No. of teams19
CountryUnited States
Most titles1
Fall River Spindles (1914)
Hartford Senators (1915)
Stamford Bombers (1947)
Port Chester Clippers (1948)
Bristol Owls (1949)
Poughkeepsie Chiefs (1950)
Classification Class C (1914–1915)
Class B (1947–1950)

The Colonial League was the name of two mid-level American minor baseball leagues. The first Colonial League was a Class C level league that existed from 1914 to 1915 as a minor league for the outlaw Federal League. The second Colonial League existed from 1947 through mid-July 1950. It was graded Class B, two levels below the major leagues, and featured teams based in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey

History

1914 to 1915

The Colonial League began to operate as a Class C level league based in Southern New England in the 1914 season.[1] In April, Alexander Bannwart drew notice by acquiring Big Jeff Pfeffer to manage the team in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.[2] By May, it was suspected that Bannwart was working as an agent of the Federal League, an outlaw league working outside of the National Agreement. Bannwart denied this.[3] Upon these news reports, some of the founding members of the Colonial League resigned, fearing banishment by the National Baseball Commission.[4][5]

Though Charles Coppen was nominally the president of the Colonial League, Bannwart began to exert authority at the Colonial League offices. Later in the 1914 season, Bannwart drew anger when he attempted to make last minute changes to the schedule designed to increase competitiveness in the standings and maximize profits at the box office.[6] Due to the backlash from the teams, the schedule was not changed.[7] The league was reported to have lost $22,000 ($595,169 in current dollar terms) in 1914.[8] After the season, Bannwart unsuccessfully petitioned the National Commission to reclassify the Colonial League as Class B.[9]

At the April 1915 league meeting, Coppen was re-elected as president and Bannwart was elected secretary. Walter S. Ward, the treasurer of the Brooklyn Tip Tops of the Federal League and son of George S. Ward, an owner of the Tip Tops, was elected as the league's treasurer.[10] Wanting to expand into Springfield, Massachusetts, and Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut, territory that belonged to the Eastern Association, the Colonial League reorganized itself as a farm system for the Federal League[11] and voluntarily withdrew itself from organized baseball.[12] The Colonial League struggled financially in 1915, and Bannwart's policies were blamed. The quality of baseball was deemed to be below the expected standards of a Class C league in part due to the salary maximums set by Bannwart, diminishing fan interest in the league.[13] In August 1915, Bannwart resigned from the Colonial League.[14] The league collapsed during the 1915-16 offseason.[15][16]

1947 to 1950

The Colonial was one of many minor leagues that briefly existed during the post-World War II baseball boom. It competed in the Northeastern United States with five major league clubs in New York and New England, established minor leagues such as the International League, Eastern League, Canadian–American League and PONY League, and other fledgling circuits such as the postwar New England League and Border League.

As a whole, the Colonial was rarely adopted as a site for farm teams for major league clubs. Only two of its member teams (the 1948 Bridgeport Bees and Port Chester Clippers) ever affiliated with a big league parent club (the Washington Senators and St. Louis Browns, respectively).

Baseball Hall of Fame member Jimmie Foxx managed Bridgeport in 1949.

As the minors began to contract in the late 1940s, the Colonial League's days were numbered. It shut its doors on July 14, 1950, with only 80,000 fans reported to have attended games in the entire six-team circuit.

Cities represented

1914–1915

1947–1950

Standings and Statistics

1914 Colonial League

Team Name W L PCT GB Managers
Fall River Spindles 62 37 .625 John Kiernan
New Bedford Whalers 60 40 .600 2.5 Jack O'Brien
Woonsocket Speeders 49 48 .505 12.0 Roy Dickenson / T.M. Walsh
Taunton Herrings 44 54 .449 17.5 Ambrose Kane / Tom Gillen
Pawtucket Tigers 45 56 .446 18.0 Jeff Pfeffer/
Nixey Callahan / William Fortin
Brockton Shoemakers 36 61 .371 25.0 Willie Reardon / Bert Weeden

No Playoffs:

Player Statistics

Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
Joe Gaudette Woonsocket BA .321 Johnny Tillman New Bedford W 21
Joe Gaudette Woonsocket Hits 117 Merdic McLeod Fall River SO 193
Aime Prouix Taunton Runs 92 Joe Gulden Fall River W Pct .786; 11–3
John Gilmore Pawtucket HR 9

[17]

1915 Colonial League

Team Name W L PCT GB Managers
Hartford Senators 55 42 .567 Jim Delahanty
Brockton Pilgrims 57 44 .564 0.0 Bert Weeden
New Bedford Whalers 56 45 .554 1.0 Jack O'Brien
New Haven MaxFeds 52 50 .510 5.5 Bert Maxwell
Springfield Tips 47 50 .485 8.0 Henry Ramsey
Pawtucket Rovers 37 57 .394 16.5 Jim Connor
Fall River Spindles 22 24 .478 NA Frank Connaughton / William Phoenix
Taunton Herrings 14 28 .333 NA Tom Gillen

No Playoffs: Fall River & Taunton disbanded July 10.

Player Statistics

Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
Jim Delahanty Hartford BA .379 Johnny Tillman New Bedford W 22–6
Hughie Miller Taunton / Springfield Hits 116 Johnny Tillman New Bedford SO 176
Frank Kiley Taunton / Brockton HR 4 Johnny Tillman New Bedford Pct .786

[17]

1947 Colonial League

schedule

Team Name W L PCT GB Attend Managers
Waterbury Timers 83 38 .686 33,946 James Acton
Poughkeepsie Giants 66 50 .569 14.5 43,403 Eric McNair
Stamford Bombers 67 61 .523 19.5 28,697 Zeke Bonura
New London Raiders 50 67 .427 31.0 27,431 Ed Butka
Port Chester Clippers 51 71 .418 32.5 18,898 Al Barillari
Bridgeport Bees 46 76 .377 37.5 28,320 Carmen Brunetto

Playoffs: Stamford 4 games, Waterbury 3. New London 4 games, Poughkeepsie 3. Finals: Stamford 4 games, New London 1.

Player Statistics

Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
Connie Creeden Port Chester BA .395 Mike Kash Waterbury W 20
Connie Creeden Port Chester Hits 153 Sid Schacht Stamford SO 180
Frank LaManna Waterbury RBI 123 Joe Murray Port Chester/Brid. ERA 2.34
Frank LaManna Waterbury HR 21 Vito DeVito Stamford Runs 128

[17]

1948 Colonial League

schedule

Team Name W L PCT GB Attend Managers
Port Chester Clippers 86 53 .619 32,198 Al Barillari
Poughkeepsie Chiefs 76 61 .555 9.0 38,573 Steve Mizerak
Waterbury Timers 65 68 .489 18.0 40,988 Mike Kash
New Brunswick Hubs/
Kingston Hubs
61 71 .462 21.5 36,397 Ed Kobesky
Bridgeport Bees 61 72 .459 22.0 38,049 Glenn Snyder / Buddy Hall
Stamford Pioneers 54 78 .409 28.5 25,640 Zeke Bonura

New Brunswick moved to Kingston July 10.
Playoffs: Port Chester 4 games, Waterbury 1.Poughkeepsie 4 games, Kingston 1. Finals: Port Chester 4 games, Poughkeepsie 1.

Player Statistics

Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
Ed Kobesky Brunswick/Kingston BA .390 Guy Coleman Port Chester W 17
Joseph DeToia Poughkeepsie Hits 157 Paul Wargo Port Chester SO 158
Joseph DeToia Poughkeepsie RBI 96 Sid Schacht Stamford ERA 2.09
Zeke Bonura Stamford HR 23 Aldo Casadei Waterbury Hits 157

[17]

1949 Colonial League

schedule

Team Name W L PCT GB Attend Managers
Bristol Owls 82 47 .636 62,485 Al Barillari /Jimmy O'Connell
Stamford Pioneers 74 52 .587 6.5 31,092 Joe Glenn / Herb Stein
Bridgeport Bees 73 54 .575 8.0 37,309 Ollie Ryers / Jim Paules /
Jimmie Foxx / Tom Downey
Waterbury Timers 62 63 .496 18.0 39,857 Bert Shepard / Leo Eastham
Poughkeepsie Chiefs 45 78 .366 34.0 25,123 Woody Williams /
Elmer Weingartner / Gabe Mauro
Kingston Colonials 39 81 .325 38.5 29,231 Julius Laviano /
Eddie McNamara / Emil Gall

Playoffs: Bristol 4 games, Waterbury 1.Bridgeport 4 games, Stamford 3. Finals: Bristol 2 games, Bridgeport 1.

Player Statistics

Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
Leo Eastham Waterbury BA .349 Emil Moscowitz Stamford W 19
George Handy Bridgeport Hits 183 Phillip Frick Bridgeport W 19
Jim Callahan Stamford RBI 107 Ed Hrabczak Stamford W 19
James Paules Bridgeport RBI 107 Emil Moscowitz Stamford ERA 2.01
Leo Eastham Waterbury HR 26 Ed Hrabczak Stamford SO 234
Carlos Bernier Bristol Runs 136 Carlos Bernier Bristol SB 89

[17]

1950 Colonial League

schedule

Team Name W L PCT GB Managers
Poughkeepsie Chiefs 43 26 .623 Robert Doyle
Kingston Colonials 39 28 .582 3.0 Emil Gall
Bristol Owls 36 31 .537 6.0 Al Barillari
Torrington Braves 33 32 .507 8.0 Merle Strachan
Waterbury Timers 23 39 .371 16.5 John Morris / Charlie Bowles
Bridgeport Bees 23 41 .359 17.5 Bud Stapleton / Frank Silva

No Playoffs: The League Disbanded July 16.

Player Statistics

Player Team Stat Tot Player Team Stat Tot
Nino Escalera Bristol BA .389 Emil Moscowitz Poughkeepsie W 12
Nino Escalera Bristol Hits 93 Emil Moscowitz Poughkeepsie ERA 1.51
John Sinnott Poughkeepsie RBI 53 Emil Moscowitz Poughkeepski SO 102
Carlos Bernier Bristol Runs 67 Denny Doyle Poughkeepsie SO 102
Carlos Santiago Poughkeepsie HR 11

[17]

References

  1. ^ "Six Teams In The Colonial League". The Evening Herald. February 25, 1914. p. 6. Retrieved January 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ "Pfeffer At Pawtucket". The Evening Herald. April 6, 1914. p. 6. Retrieved January 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "Reported That Feds Own The Colonial". The Evening Herald. May 28, 1914. p. 6. Retrieved January 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Steve Flanagan Quits Colonial". Fall River Daily Evening News. June 3, 1914. p. 5. Retrieved January 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "Bannwart Behind Colonial League". The Boston Globe. June 4, 1914. p. 10. Retrieved January 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "May Mean End of New League". Fall River Daily Evening News. August 26, 1914. p. 3. Retrieved January 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "No Changes In Colonial Schedule". The Evening Herald. August 28, 1914. p. 6. Retrieved January 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Banwart Still The Big Chief". The Evening Herald. December 29, 1914. p. 6. Retrieved January 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ Murnane, T.H. (January 30, 1915). "Josh Devore Given Release". The Boston Globe. p. 7. Retrieved January 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Son Of Federal League Magnate Behind Colonial League". Democrat and Chronicle. April 25, 1915. p. 28. Retrieved January 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "Arrangements For Federal League Farm Complete". Norwich Bulletin. May 14, 1915. p. 3. Retrieved January 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "New League Jumps To Feds". The Meridian Journal. May 22, 1915. p. 8. Retrieved January 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "Bannwart's Policy Retards Colonial". Hartford Courant. July 4, 1915. p. 36. Retrieved January 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "Bannwart Quits Job At Last, But The Colonial Still Lives". Fall River Globe. August 12, 1915. p. 6. Retrieved January 25, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Lamb, Bill. "Alexander Bannwart". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  16. ^ "View source for Colonial League – BR Bullpen". www.baseball-reference.com.
  17. ^ a b c d e f "Colonial League - BR Bullpen". www.baseball-reference.com.