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Did You Know This About Williamsport and Lycoming County Baseball History?

Now that the major league and minor league baseball seasons are now fully underway it might be interesting to take a look at some interesting “factoids” about professional baseball in Williamsport and Lycoming County. Did you know that the man who organized the first major league players’ union played for Williamsport in 1877 and is

Now that the major league and minor league baseball seasons are now fully underway it might be interesting to take a look at some interesting “factoids” about professional baseball in Williamsport and Lycoming County.

Did you know that the man who organized the first major league players’ union played for Williamsport in 1877 and is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. That man’s name is John Montgomery Ward.

William “Kid” Gleason, manager of the infamous “Black Sox,” Chicago White Sox, who threw the World Series in 1919, played for Williamsport’s team in the professional Pennsylvania State Association in 1886 and 1887. Gleason was found to have played no part in the 1919 fix.

George Stovey, considered by baseball historians as the greatest African-American pitcher of the 19th century, is a Williamsport native and also umpired the first night baseball game ever played in Williamsport in May 1902 between Williamsport and Milton.

Some of the greatest players in Negro League history played games in Williamsport. These include, Sol White, Rube Foster, Pete Hill, Satchel Paige, Buck Leonard, Josh Gibson, Ray Dandridge, Larry Doby, Jud Wilson, Monte Irvin and Oscar Charleston, Charleston hit the very first home run in a professional game at newly opened Bowman Field on April 27, 1926.

One Williamsporter, Jimmy Sebring, who was born in Liberty, hit the first home run in World Series history between Sebring’s Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Pilgrims, who would later be known as the Red Sox. Sebring hit his blow against the immortal Denton “Cy” Young. It was an inside-the-park homer.

Another Williamsporter, Johnny Lush, pitched a no-hitter for the Phillies against the Brooklyn Nationals (Dodgers) on May 1, 1906. It was the last no-hitter spun by a Phillie pitcher until Jim Bunning’s June 21, 1964 perfect game.

The Williamsport Millionaires of the professional Tri-State League, won league titles in 1905, 1907 and 1908.

Hans Lobert lived in Williamsport for a time and would later manage the Phillies to a last place finish in 1942.

John Weldon “Weldy” Wyckoff was born and raised in Williamsport and would later pitch for Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s. He was a member of the 1913 and 1914 pennant winning A’s teams. He pitched Game One of the 1914 World Series against the “Miracle Braves,” the Boston Braves of 1914 who no one expected to be World Series contenders. In the sixth inning of that Game One, Wyckoff relieved future Hall of Famer, Chief Bender. Wyckoff gave up just one run on three hits in three innings of work.

Williamsport’s professional teams played at several places before the erection of Bowman Field in 1926. They played in a diamond that is on the site of the present day Curtin Middle School’s, Athletic Park, which is on the grounds of the present day Cochran Elementary School, and the old Williamsport High School athletic and football grounds, where part of Penn College now stands.

The first night game at Bowman Field took place on June 6, 1932 as the Williamsport Grays played the York White Roses.

The 1938 Williamsport Grays helped served as the inspiration for the founding of Little League Baseball as Carl Stotz’s nephews wanted to emulate the feats of their heroes, those 1938 Grays.

During 1944 and 1945 the Williamsport Grays had a large contingent of Cuban ballplayers playing for them. They were an affiliate of the Washington Senators, a club that recruited Cuban players extensively to help with the wartime ballplayer shortage.

The “Amazin Mets” of 1969 had nine former Williamsport Mets players on their team who had played here between 1964 and 1967. They were: Ron Swoboda, Duffy Dyer, Ken Boswell, Rod Gaspar, Kevin Collins, Jerry Koosman, Jim McAndrew, Gary Gentry and Hall of Famer, Nolan Ryan.

Hall of Famers John Montgomery Ward, Jim Bunning, Bill Mazeroski, Nolan Ryan and Jim Rice all played for Williamsport teams.

Former Williamsport Cub, Eric Hinske struck out to end the 2008 World Series for the Tampa Rays and give the Phillies a World Championship.

Former Williamsport Crosscutter, Steve Pearce, while playing for the Red Sox, earned the Most Valuable Player honors for the 2018 World Series.

Williamsport professional teams won two co-championships, 1960 Eastern League and 2001 New Penn League. They have won four championships outright, 1923 and 1924, 1934 and 2003.

Montgomery’s Bob Farley played for the San Francisco Giants, the White Sox and Tigers. He also played for the 1964 Williamsport Mets.

In addition to Mike Mussina, who will be inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer, Montoursville has also produced two other outstanding players.

Tracey “Kewpie Dick” Barrett was one of the most successful pitchers in the history of the Pacific Coast League, at a time when that was virtually a third major league. He won 234 games in that league, winning 20 games in seven seasons. He was inducted in the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame. He won over 300 games in overall minor league career. He saw major action with the Philadelphia A’s, Boston Red Sox and Phillies. While with the Phillies on a dreadful 1945 club he lost 20 games.

Tom O’Malley was a major leaguer in two countries. In this country with the Giants, Rangers, Mets, Rangers, Orioles, White Sox and Expos. He then went to Japan and had a successful career there as well. In 1993 he won the Japanese Central League’s batting title. In 1995 he had his best year winning the Most Valuable Player Award for the Central League and winning the MVP in that year’s Japan Series.

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