The PONY (Pennsylvania, Ontario, New York) League was started in 1939 as a class D league. The league ran through 1956, not even stopping for WWII like so many other leagues, before changing names to its current New York-Pennsylvania League moniker. Jamestown, NY and Olean, NY were members for the full 18 year run.
- Batavia, NY: Batavia Clippers 1939-1953
- Bradford, PA: Bradford Bees 1939-1942; Bradford Blue Wings 1944-1949; Bradford Phillies 1950-1955; Bradford Yankees 1956
- Corning, NY: Corning Athletics 1951-1952; Corning Independents 1953; Corning Red Sox 1954-1956, moved to New York-Pennsylvania League 1957
- Erie, PA: Erie Sailors 1944-1945; Erie Sailors 1954-1956, moved to New York-Pennsylvania League 1957-1959
- Hamilton, ON: Hamilton Red Wings 1939-1942; Hamilton Cardinals 1946-1955; Hamilton Red Wings 1956
- Hornell, NY: Hornell Maples 1942-1947; Hornell Maple Leafs 1948-1949; Hornell Dodgers 1950-1956
- Jamestown, NY: Jamestown Jaguars 1939; Jamestown Falcons 1940-1956, moved to New York-Pennsylvania League 1957
- Lockport, NY: Lockport White Sox 1942; Lockport Cubs 1943-1944; Lockport White Socks 1945; Lockport Cubs 1946; Lockport Reds 1947-1950
- London, ON: London Pirates 1940-1941
- Niagara Falls, NY: Niagara Falls Rainbows 1939-1940
- Olean, NY: Olean Oilers 1939-1951; Olean Yankees 1952-1953; Olean Giants 1954; Olean Oilers 1955-1956, moved to New York-Pennsylvania League 1957-1958
- Wellsville, NY: Wellsville Yankees 1942-1946; Wellsville Nitros 1947-1949; Wellsville Senators 1950; Wellsville Rockets 1951-1952; Wellsville Braves 1953-1956, moved to New York-Pennsylvania League 1957-1961
Teams and Statistics
1939, '40, '41, 42
1939 - schedule
The 1939 PONY League opened up its first season with six teams in the fold and high hopes of becoming the Premier Class "D" league in the Eastern United States.
Robert C. Stedler became the leagues first president and held that spot for nine consectitive years.
Olean was the PONY League's first champion, winning both the regular season and playoff titles. Their 65 and 38 record gave them a five-game margin over second-place Hamilton. Olean took care of Bradford in the playoff`s first round 3 games to 1. Hamilton took out fourth-place finisher Batavia 3 games to 2. In the final round, Olean hung in to be the league's first overall champion by beating Hamilton 4 games to 2.
Henry Redmond of Hamilton won the batting title with a red hot .397 average while getting 166 base hits. Charles Lamedola of Olean had 85 RBI while his running mate, William Moore was scoring 110 runs. Arthur Strott of Niagra Falls had 17 home runs.
Hayden Shupe of Olean garnered 17 wins while striking out 170 would be hitters. Norman Russell of Hamilton finished up with a nice 2.63 ERA.
1939 Total Attendance: 267,212Final Team Standings And Stats
|Olean Oilers||65||38||.631||-||.287||55||555||1054||.942||Jake Pitler|
|Hamilton Red Wings||61||44||.581||5||.289||71||537||1052||.939||Don Hurst|
|Bradford Bees||59||43||.578||5-||.264||35||485||899||.948||John Rosar|
|Batavia Clippers||48||54||.471||16-||.263||36||479||921||.948||William Buckley|
|Niagara Falls Rainbows||44||59||.427||21||.275||59||506||972||.946||Tim Murchison|
|Jamestown Jaguars||32||71||.311||33||.267||26||387||926||.931||Louis "Mickey" LaLonge|
1940 - schedule
The Olean Oilers won the PONY league second year title just as they did the first. This time their margin of victory was a little more comfortable stretching out last years margin of victory from 5 games to 8. They also were true champs, winning both the league title and playoffs, just as they did in 1939. In the playoffs, Olean beat the Hamilton Red Wings 3 games to 1 and Batavia squeaked by the London Pirates 3 games to 2. Olean then ran the table by taking Batavia down, 4 tough games to 2.
Batavia's Ed Howard won the batting title with a .372 avr.,but Lawrence Mancini of Olean swept the hit title with 174, the RBI with 109 and had 25 home runs to go with them. George Higgins also of Olean tied with Warren Auchenbach of Hamilton, scoring 110 runs each.
In the pitching department, John Castoldi of Batavia had 18 wins and an ERA of 2.84. Richard Schmidt, who played with almost half the teams in the league (Olean, Niagra Falls and Jamestown) struck out 173 would-be hitters, on his tour around the league.
Also, Niagra Falls moved to Jamestown on July 13.
1940 Total Attendance: 278,514Final Team Standings And Stats
|Olean Oilers||65||39||.625||-||.304||93||716||.957||Jake Pitler|
|Batavia Clippers||58||48||.547||8||.285||59||609||.946||Jack Sanford|
|London Pirates||48||54||.470||16||.282||31||521||.940||Mickey LaLonge / Jimmy Jordan|
|Hamilton Red Wings||47||53||.470||16||.283||69||581||.944||Fred Lucas|
|Niagra Falls/Jamestown||48||55||.466||16||.264||47||514||.941||Joe O'Rourke / Joe Savant|
|Bradford Bees||44||61||.419||21-||.256||34||476||.943||Eddie Onslow / Vic George|
1941 - schedule
The PONY League opened its third season, again with a six team format, the Jamestown Falcons being the team that had replaced Niagra Falls. Jamestown wasted no time, sweeping right to the top, winning their first full season by an 8 game margin over second place Bradford. In the playoffs, The Hamilton Red Wings, the fourth place finisher upset the league winners 3 games to 2. Bradford then took the Batavia Clippers down, in a tight series, 3 games to 2. Bradford, on a roll, wiped out the Red Wings in the playoff finals 4 games to 1.
John Newman of Jamestown was the hot batsman in the league, winning the batting crown with a .358 number, scored 112 runs, knocked in 96 team mates and blasted 29 home runs, the only thing he did not claim was the total base hits and that was claimed by his teammate Frank Heller with 145.
Pitching honors went to Joe Belforti of Bradford with 17 wins, while George Carlenos of the London Pirates fanned 181 batters. Hamilton's John Mikan won the ERA title with a 2.48 number.
1941 Total Attendance: 355,548Final Team Standings And Stats
|Jamestown Falcons||68||42||.618||-||.293||60||602||1141||.963||Greg Mulleavy|
|Bradford Bees||60||50||.545||8||.277||60||546||1000||.952||Del Bissonette|
|Batavia Clippers||54||54||.500||13||.263||34||491||914||.954||Eddie Howard|
|Hamilton Red Wings||50||57||.467||16-||.274||44||491||1013||.954||Roy Pfleger|
|Olean Oilers||48||61||.440||19-||.269||62||506||1006||.949||Jake Pitler|
|London Pirates||47||63||.427||21||.251||27||429||886||.948||Jimmy Jordan|
1942 - schedule
In 1942 the PONY expanded to an eight team gathering with the addition of the Lockport White Sox and Wellsville Yankees. Jamestown, the 1941 champ, wanted none of the new boys' sass and won out again in 1942 by a slim game and a half over the Olean Oilers. The Falcons went on to claim the playoffs, beating the Hornell Pirates 3 to 0, while Olean cleaned up the Batavia Clippers 3 zip also. Jamestown went on to whip Olean 4 games to 2 and became the true PONY champs by winning both the league and playoff championships.
John Newman (Jamestown) again won the batting race with a .353 mark and also claimed the home run title by clubbing 27 homers. Pat McNair, also of Jamestown, scored 127 runs and his team mate, Goerge Lerchen, had 167 base hits. Cornelius Creedon from Bradford led the league with 119 RBI.
Charlie Schupp, Jamestown, wrapped up 24 big wins and topped it off with a fine 2.34 ERA. John Bubber Moore of Wellsville led with 258 strikeouts.Final Team Standings And Stats
|Jamestown Falcons||84||41||.672||-||.294||76||.956||143,016||Greg Mulleavy|
|Olean Oilers||82||42||.661||1-||.273||81||.951||38,231||Jake Pitler|
|Batavia Clippers||72||53||.576||12||.268||52||.948||38,014||Jack Sanford|
|Hornell Pirates||65||60||.520||19||.263||76||.945||49,107||Poke Whalen / Leo Mackey|
|Wellsville Yankees||65||60||.520||19||.255||50||.944||30,675||Walt VanGrofski|
|Bradford Bees||56||68||.452||27-||.252||29||.938||34,486||Jack Burns|
|Lockport White Sox||39||85||.315||44-||.250||25||.957||40,019||Martin / Prince|
|Hamilton Red Wings||36||90||.286||48-||.233||18||.918||34,130||Pfleger / Blackman / Sugden|
1943, '44, '45
In 1943, Partially due to the war, the league fell back to a six-team arrangement with Hamilton and Bradford leaving the fold. The Lockport Cubs wound up league champs with a 65-45 total, leading the Hornell Maples by a 5 game margin. The Wellsville Yankees took out Hornell in the first round of the play-offs 3 games to 1. The Jamestown Falcons skunked Lockport 3 games to 0. Wellsville and Jamestown then had a hard-fought final round with the Yankees winning out, 4 games to 3.
Ben Visan of the Batavia Clippers won the batting crown with a solid .369 batting average. Otis Davis of Jamestown led with 156 base hits and tied Ray Sowins of Lockport with 116 runs. Ernest Hrovatic of Jamestown had 96 RBI and Carl Prtroziello of Hornell had 11 home runs.
Pete Gebrian from Hornell, led with 16 wins and an ERA of 2.20. Boyd Tepler, Lockport, fanned 254 swingers.Final Team Standings And Stats
|Lockport Cubs||65||45||.591||-||.263||36||.936||48,475||Roy Johnson|
|Hornell Maples||60||50||.545||5||.259||37||.935||35,524||Frank Oceak|
|Wellsville Yankees||58||51||.532||6-||.270||32||.931||28,763||Herb Brett / Sol Mishkin|
|Jamestown Falcons||54||56||.490||11||.264||23||.941||67,738||Jack Sanford|
|Batavia Clippers||49||61||.445||16||.261||26||.931||27,625||Earl Wolgamot|
|Olean Oilers||43||66||.394||21-||.239||22||.935||23,288||Jake Pitler|
1944 - schedule
1944 brought back the 8 team format with Bradford and Erie back on the field. The Lockport Cubs again won the league following up their previous year's title run. The Lockport boys won by a five and one half game margin over the second place Jamestown Falcons. Lockport easily handled their first round foes, the Hornell Maples in the playoffs beating them 3 games to 0. Jamestown also wiped out the Batavia Clippers 3 to 0. The Jamestown boys proved way too tough for the Lockport team in the finals, sending them home in a hurry, 4 games to 0.
John Gwosden of Hornell led the league in batting with a .338 tally and Glenn Brundis, Erie, scored 106 runs. Robert Rothel of Batavia had 164 hits while teammate Steve Kromoko had 93 RBI. George Shuba, Olean cracked 14 home runs.
Phil Poole of Lockport garnered 22 pitching wins and his fellow moundsman, Victor Trahd, was the leader with 162 fans to his credit. Frank Maloney of Batavia managed an ERA of 1.91.Final Team Standings And Stats
|Lockport Cubs||76||49||.608||-||.272||13||.951||54,265||Greg Mulleavy|
|Jamestown Falcons||70||54||.564||5-||.259||26||.948||82,601||Ollie Carnegie|
|Batavia Clippers||70||55||.560||6||.264||24||.952||36,628||Jack Tighe|
|Hornell Maples||62||61||.504||13||.250||45||.929||31,798||Schesler / Parenti / Morrow|
|Erie Sailors||61||63||.491||14-||.254||16||.941||96,658||Bill Harris|
|Olean Oilers||57||66||.463||18||.254||45||.936||37,605||John Fitzpatrick|
|Wellsville Yankees||51||73||.411||24-||.256||34||.939||25,842||Sol Mishkin|
|Bradford Blue Wings||48||74||.393||26-||.250||15||.941||44,915||Ray Brubaker / Ken Blackman|
The 1945 season brought around another 8 team group and Batavia was quick to jump to the front and win the league by 9 games over Jamestown. Batavia kept their stamina and whipped Bradford 3 games to 1 in the playoff first round while Lockport held off Jamestown and won that half of the bracket 3 games to 1. Batavia had to much toughness for Lockport in the finals and they wound up winning by the slim margin of 4 games to 3. This made them champs of both the league play and playoffs.
Barney Hearn of Jamestown hit .352 to win the batting title and his teammate Ken Humphrey garnered 165 hits. George Gasdaska of Bradford scored 133 runs and his teammate Carl Sawatski had 111 RBI and 13 home runs. Lee Riley player/manager of Bradford had 13 four baggers in his total.
Leon Titus, Bradford, chalked up 19 wins and Joe Menarchek of Hornell had 248 strikeouts to his credit. Richard Palmisiano of Batavia came up with the leagues best ERA at 1.40.Final Team Standings And Stats
|Batavia Clippers||84||40||.677||-||.273||26||.945||44,569||Jack Tighe|
|Jamestown Falcons||75||51||.595||9||.272||29||.954||78,524||Jim Levey|
|Lockport White Socks||73||52||.584||10-||.265||21||.942||42,014||Greg Mulleavy|
|Bradford Blue Wings||70||55||.560||13-||.272||41||.944||49,532||Lee Riley|
|Wellsville Yankees||57||68||.456||26-||.256||15||.947||28,000||Bob Crow / Sol Mishkin|
|Hornell Pirates||55||71||.437||29||.260||11||.933||28,600||John Morrow / Fred Herring|
|Erie Sailors||46||77||.373||36-||.253||7||.937||62,516||Bill Harris|
|Olean Oilers||40||86||.317||44||.242||19||.925||24,780||John Fitzpatrick|
After WW II
The war was over, the servicemen were home and it was time to rediscover America. The Country Boomed and both major and minor league base ball were caught up in a wave of confidence and expansion that swept the country.
In 1946 more than 32 million fans attended minor league games, up from the 10 million the year before. In 1947, 1948 and 1949 the totals climbed to over 40 million. The jump from number of leagues was just as significient. In 1945 12 leagues operated. In 1946 there were 41, then 58 in 1948, and topping out at 59 leagues in 438 cities in 1949.
The PONY LEAGUE had operated throughout WW II, going from 6 teams in 1941 up to 8 in 42. The league operated with 6 teams again in 1943 and went to 8 in 1944, 1945 and 1946.
1946, '47, '48
1946 - schedule
Jamestown and Batavia tied for the first place spot with identical records of 84 wins and 41 losses. Jamestown beat Batavia in a one game play-off for the league title 6 to 2. The playoffs followed and Jamestown beat Bradford 4 games to 3 and Batavia also beat Olean 4 to 3 to make the final round. Batavia evened up the score with Jamestown, winning the play-off championship, 4 games to 2.
Wellsville`s Joe Abreu won the league batting title, finishing with a hefty .352 batting average. Batavia`s Dick Kokos led the league in runs with 118, hits 166, and rbi`s with 114. The homerun title was shared by Kokos and Abreu with 21 four baggers.
Pitching honors went to Bill Koszarek of Bradford who nailed down 18 victories, Hamilton`s Alfred Gavey led the league with 181 strikeouts and Jim Dimitriadis of Jamestown had the best ERA at 2.03.
Final Team Standing And Stats
|Jamestown Falcons||84||41||.672||0||.255||40||.952||112,371||Marv Olson|
|Batavia Clippers||84||81||.672||0||.228||66||.952||67,680||Jack Tighe|
|Olean Oilers||69||56||.552||15||.242||58||.950||66,179||Greg Mulleavy|
|Bradford Blue Wings||58||66||.460||25-||.250||29||.947||58,235||Lee Riley|
|Wellsville Yankees||52||72||.419||31-||.221||61||.937||38,014||Joe Abreu|
|Lockport Cubs||51||73||.411||32-||.240||36||.961||43,678||James Moody|
|Hamilton Cardinals||49||76||.392||35||.242||49||.942||65,206||John Newman|
|Hornell Pirates||48||77||.384||36||.249||59||.934||49,236||Louis Briganti / Phil Seghi|
1947 - schedule
Jamestown hit the league in 1947 like a hurricane, winning the regular season title by 17 games. They were followed up by Bradford with a 69-55 record. The league winners did not stop their momentum at the regular season's end by any means, whipping fourth place Wellsville 4 games to 1 in the first round of the playoffs, while second place Bradford was taking care of Olean by the same count. The Jamestown boys then whipped Olean 4 games to 2 to win the playoffs that were denied them in 1946.
Andy Alexson of Jamestown led the league in hitting getting 163 base hits, that gave him a robust .338 avg. Ed Trojanowski of Bradford scored 125 runs and his team mate, Jim Pokel bombed 28 homers and knocked in 125 runs.
Thaddeus Kapuscinski, Jamestown, led the league with 16 wins and Dick Littlefield, Wellsville had a 1.97 ERA. Vance Stine of Hamilton struck out 194 would be hitters.
This was to be Robert Stedler's last year at the helm. Stedler had been President of the Pony League since its inception in 1939, and in later years the New York-Penn League would name one of its divisions after him. In 1948 Vincent McNamara would be the new league boss.
Final Team Standings And Stats
|Jamestown Falcons||87||39||.690||-||.283||30||.952||95,623||Marv Olson|
|Bradford Blue Wings||69||55||.556||17||.273||56||.942||70,129||George Savino|
|Olean Oilers||66||58||.532||20||.278||42||.944||62,634||Greg Mulleavy|
|Wellsville Nitros||64||59||.520||21-||.260||64||.953||54,442||Tom Carey|
|Lockport Reds||61||62||.495||24-||.249||37||.940||48,268||Cecil Scheffel|
|Batavia Clippers||60||63||.487||25-||.254||46||.948||55,865||Jack Tighe|
|Hamilton Cardinals||49||76||.392||37-||.262||45||.931||70,608||John Newman|
|Hornell Pirates||40||84||.323||46||.265||41||.938||35,886||Art Doll|
1948 - schedule
The 1948 season brought on a three way war for the first spot when Lockport, Jamestown, and Hamilton went at it like three hungry lions. Lockport finally won out by a slim 2 game margin that gave them the confidence that carried them through a tough play-off championship. They nailed Bradford 4 games to 2 while Jamestown was putting the hurt on Hamilton 4 to 1. Lockport then put the Jamestown team away 4 games to 1.
Howard Gutshall of Jamestown won the RBI title with 108 knocked in, the hits crown with 171 and also scored 111 runs. Pat Haggerty his running mate at Jamestown was not to be denied in the race for the hitting average crown as he finished with a .369 number. Joe Fromuth, Wellsville, led the home run count with 18.
Lockport pitcher Robert Christophel had 25 big wins, Gerald Kleinsmith of Jamestown struck out 258 batters and Chick McCombie of Hamilton wound up with a 2.42 ERA.Final Team Standings and Stats
|Lockport Reds||76||50||.603||-||.253||54||.945||63,889||Cecil Scheffel|
|Jamestown Falcons||74||52||.587||2||.276||36||.956||84,928||Marv Olson|
|Hamilton Cardinals||73||52||.584||2-||.271||50||.954||122,725||George Kissell|
|Bradford Blue Wings||66||61||.519||10-||.268||55||.953||50,159||George Savino|
|Batavia Clippers||65||62||.512||11-||.266||62||.957||55,438||George Susce|
|Wellsville Red Sox||60||64||.483||15||.264||55||953||45,853||Tom Carey|
|Olean Oilers||60||66||.476||16||.250||45||.944||41,363||George Scherger|
|Hornell Maple Leafs||29||96||.232||46-||.242||37||.934||40,282||Russ Kerns|
1949, '50, '51
1949 - schedule Bradford won its first league title in many years by hanging on to beat out the Jamestown Falcons squad by a slim 2 game margin in the 1949 PONY race. Although Jamestown won the attendance bout by some 32,000 fans, Bradford proved to be the best baseball team by winning both the league and the playoffs. They beat the Batavia Clippers in the opening round of the playoffs 4 games to 3 and The Hamilton Cardinals beat Jamestown 4 games to 1 in the other first round match-up. Bradford thumped Hamilton 4 games to 1 to win the play-offs going away.
Eddie Kobesky of Batavia won the league's batting title with a big-time .390 average and his teammate Carmen Links had 24 homers. Bradford`s Emil Carlini scored 127 runs and he had a team mate, Danny Carnevale who showed well when he won both the hits race with 192 and also nailed down the RBI crown with 126.
Hamilton`s Willard Schmidt pitched his way to 22 wins and John Gilbert of Hornell had 191 strikeouts to his record. The ERA title was won by Jamestown`s William Furlong with a 1.89 count.Final Team Standings and Stats
|Bradford Blue Wings||80||46||.635||-||.287||62||.967||78,139||Danny Carnevale|
|Jamestown Falcons||78||48||.619||2||.282||89||.956||110,690||Marv Olson|
|Hamilton Cardinals||75||50||.600||4-||.276||58||.949||137,340||George Kissell|
|Batavia Clippers||66||60||.524||14||.271||67||.961||54,325||Ed Kobesky|
|Hornell Maple Leafs||62||64||.492||18||.274||116||.954||85,926||Marius Russo|
|Lockport Reds||58||68||.460||22||.259||61||.943||47,336||Cecil Scheffel|
|Wellsville Nitros||45||81||.357||35||.245||73||.944||48,253||Tom Kister / Jimmy Wasdell|
|Olean Oilers||39||86||.312||40-||.266||77||.934||40,264||Shan Deniston / Mancini|
1950 - schedule
Hornell, after a so-so season in 1949 played some of their finest baseball in years and ran away with the 1950 pennant by a strong 10 and 1/2 game margin over a good Olean team. Manager Andy Alexson had them on track all the way. The playoffs were a little different story, Hornell opened up by thumping a decent Bradford bunch 4 games to 0 while Olean was putting Hamilton down 4 games to 2. The tide turned on the league winners in the final round as Olean beat them in 7 games, 4 to 3. This was also Oleans first playoff championship in years.
Oscar Sierra of Hornell ran off with the batting crown, posting a .422 mark, the first ever .400 hitter in the leagues history. His team mate Don Zimmer led the league in home runs with 23 and also scored 146 runs. Chuck Harmon of Olean carded the most hits with 206 and also had 139 RBI`s to his credit.
Ralph Butler another Hornell standout was the leagues winningest pitcher with 23 to his credit while striking out 175 at the plate. The ERA winner was El Roy Face of Bradford with a 2.58 mark.Final Team Standings and Stats
|Hornell Dodgers||81||43||.653||-||.288||95||.963||97,563||Doc Alexson|
|Olean Oilers||71||54||.566||10-||.289||65||.941||59,811||Len Schulte|
|Hamilton Cardinals||68||57||.544||13-||.268||63||.943||92,673||Vedie Himsl|
|Bradford Phillies||63||62||.504||18-||.268||52||.950||38,785||Barney Lutz|
|Batavia Clippers||61||64||.486||20-||.261||71||.957||38,785||Ed Kobesky|
|Jamestown Falcons||60||64||.484||21||.260||37||.952||60,790||Bob Shawkey|
|Wellsville Senators||50||75||.400||31-||.252||58||.944||35,874||Jimmy Wasdell / Bill Mongiello|
|Lockport Reds||45||80||.360||36-||.247||37||.948||28,513||Cyril Pfeifer|
1951 - schedule
Olean and Jamestown finished in a dead heat for first place and in the tie breaker game Olean brought home the league title by beating Jamestown 6 to 1. In the following playoffs, Olean beat Hamilton 4 games to 3, advancing to the playoff finals against Hornell who had beaten Jamestown, 4 games to 1. Hornell then upset the league winners wagon by beating them 4 games to 3 in the playoff final round.
Paul Owens of Olean became the second man in the PONY league history to break the .400 barrier by winding up the season with a .407 average. Three of his team mates also led categories with Stan Anderson scoring 134 runs, Paul Owens had 187 hits and Chuck Hamilton followed up with 143 runs batted in.
Three pitchers wound up with 17 victories each, Ed Williams and John Gates of Olean and Douglas Gostlin of Hornell all had that number. Karl Spooner of Hornell led with an even 200 strike outs and Jim Stump of Jamestown had a fine 1.67 ERA.Final Team Standings and Stats
|Olean Oilers||79||48||.622||-||.306||78||.951||56,095||Orval Cott|
|Jamestown Falcons||78||49||.614||1||.284||58||.948||73,699||Tony Lupien|
|Hornell Dodgers||71||55||.563||7-||.274||47||.953||74,086||Doc Alexson|
|Hamilton Cardinals||66||60||.524||12-||.267||31||.942||62,000||Vedie Himsl|
|Bradford Phillies||64||62||.508||14-||.272||48||.946||34,519||Frank McCormick / Davenport|
|Wellsville Rockets||53||73||.421||25-||.257||66||.944||47,082||Walt VanGrofski|
|Batavia Clippers||49||77||.389||29-||.256||60||.947||29,525||Ed Kobesky / Joe Vosmik|
|Corning Athletics||45||81||.357||33-||.251||29||.945||34,155||Irv Hall|
No one expected the minors to continue at the post-war heights. Fifty-nine leagues and four hundred-plus cities were too many. Yet it would have been impossible to forsee that within a decade more than 300 cities would lose their minor league clubs. Those who held on barely clung to existance. Experts predicted the total demise of minor league baseball.
In 1952, 43 leagues started. By 1956 this number was down to 27, and by 1959 there were only 21.
1952, '53, 54
Hamilton and Jamestown fought this year's battle for the PONY title and the Hamilton squad came out the best of it by winning the race by the slim margin of just 2 games over the Jamestown squad. Things turned around forJamestown in the league playoffs as the fourth place Hornell Dodgers sent the league winners home early, beating them 4 games to 1 in the first round of the playoffs. Jamestown made quick work of the Olean Yankees, shutting them out 4 games to 0. The Jamestown boys were on a roll and quickly ended the playoffs by beating Hornell 4 games and out.
Howard Jennings of Batavia went home with the batting title, hitting for a .373 average. Maury Wills of Hornell scored 108 runs to win that race as well as getting 160 hits to lead in that category as well. Tom McDonald of Olean had 20 home runs and batted in 111 to win both those titles.
Pitching honors went to Bob Umfleet of Hamilton who had 23 wins to go with a 1.60 ERA. Olean's Jim Coates was another good one, striking out 223 batters to lead the league.
Total PONY League attendance was 339,764 paid.
Final Team Standings And Stats
|Hamilton Cardinals||83||43||.659||-||.260||36||.964||82,286||Hal Contini|
|Jamestown Falcons||81||45||.642||2||.280||41||.966||56,408||Tony Lupien|
|Olean Yankees||70||55||.560||12-||.250||52||.952||31,850||Malcolm Bunny Mick|
|Hornell Dodgers||69||56||.552||13-||.285||72||.952||50,965||Doc Alexson|
|Batavia Clippers||57||68||.456||25-||.252||37||.951||31,227||George Genovese|
|Corning Athletics||53||71||.427||29||.239||26||.952||32,511||Joe Rullo|
|Bradford Phillies||51||73||.411||31||.245||30||..944||27,228||Dick Carter|
|Wellsville Rockets||36||89||.288||46-||.235||30||.942||27,228||Gene Crumling / Rocco Sgro|
1953 - schedule
The Jamestown Falcons started the 1953 season right where they quit the previous year...Red Hot. They wound up winning the league by the margin of 18 and 1/2 games, hardley got a sweat up. They jumped right into the playoffs with the same force and did away with the Bradford Phillies 3 games to 0, while the Hamilton Cardinals was doing the same to the Hornell Dodgers, 3 to 0. There was just no stopping the Jamestown squad as they wiped out hapless Hamilton 4 games to 1.
George Alusik of Jamestown led the league with a .372 batting average while his team mate Frank McElroy tied Pablo Rivera of Olean for runs scored with 118. Bradford's John Maggio came up with 184 hits to lead that department while Ted Sepkowski of the Wellsville Braves had 37 homers and topped that off with 145 RBI.
Jamestown's Vince Trakin led the pitchers with 19 wins and a 2.51 ERA. George Player was the strikeout master with 179 to his credit.
Attendance once again fell to the total for the year at 291,325, some 48,000 lower than 1953.
Final Team Standings And Stats
|Jamestown Falcons||88||37||.704||-||.302||56||.955||49,023||Dan Carnevale|
|Hornell Dodgers||70||56||.555||18-||.255||82||.952||38,293||Mervin Dornburg / Jack Banta|
|Hamilton Cardinals||69||57||.547||19-||.266||49||.958||53,291||Hal Contini|
|Bradford Phillies||66||60||.523||22-||.278||50||.951||29,181||John Davenport|
|Olean Yankees||63||61||.508||24-||.269||61||.949||27,139||Bill Davis / Walt Lance|
|Wellsville Braves||59||67||.468||29-||.263||89||.950||44,509||Ted Sepkowski|
|Batavia Clippers||46||78||.370||41-||.263||54||940||25,813||George Kinnamon|
|Corning Independents||40||85||.320||48||.253||33||.940||24,076||Tony Lupien / Paul O'Dea|
1954 - schedule
The Corning Red Sox, who finished dead last, 48 games off the pace, in the 1953 season made one of the biggest turn-a-rounds known to baseball when they came up with a 77-47 record in the 1954 season. They finished in a virtual dead heat with the Jamestown Falcons but where declared the league champs by a little more than one percentage point. Corning knocked off Hornell 3 games to 0 in the first round of the playoffs and Jamestown nailed the Wellsville Braves also by a 3 to 0 count. Corning wasted no time sending Jamestown home and beat them handily, 4 games to 1, in the championship round.
Robert Yoder of Hornell led the league with a batting average of .398, hits, with 201 and scored 130 runs. Ted Sepkowski bashed out 45 home runs and had 144 RBI for Wellsville.
Marty Kutyna of the Hamilton Cardinals put together 17 wins with 209 strike outs and Robert Stragier of Wellsville also had 17 wins. Jamestown's Bob Mische had an ERA of 3.30.
The PONY League attendance went to 375,981, over 80,00 better than 1953 and some 36,000 better than 1952.
Final Team Standings And Stats
|Corning Red Sox||77||47||.620||-||.284||75||.948||61,582||Sheriff Robinson|
|Jamestown Falcons||78||48||.619||-||.286||75||.962||86,460||Litwhiler / Blackburn|
|Wellsville Braves||69||56||.552||8-||.261||105||.958||37,392||Ted Sepkowski|
|Hornell Dodgers||65||60||.520||12-||.288||82||.956||37,519||John Angelone / Doc Alexson|
|Bradford Phillies||61||65||.484||17||.276||66||.944||49,944||James Deery|
|Hamilton Cardinals||61||65||.484||17||.272||62||.955||41,379||Jimmy Brown|
|Olean Giants||46||80||.365||32||.252||49||.945||19,203||Knickerbocker / Genovese|
1955 - schedule
Hamilton pulled the trick this year, going from a 61-65 record in 1954 to the top of the 1955 league standings with a 82 and 43 record, winning the league by 8 games over second place Bradford. The 1955 playoff format had gone to a best 2 out of 3 in the first round and 3 of 5 in the finals. Hamilton beat Wellsville 2 games to 1 and Corning did the same to Bradford. Hamilton blew Corning off the field in the final round, whipping them in 3 straight games. This sweep gave Hamilton both the league and playoff championships.
Fran Bonair of Hornell won the league batting crown with a best ever, whopping .435. Tom Keane, Bradford scored 115 runs and his team mate, Dale Bennetch, had 19 home runs. Johnny Schaive of Erie had 178 hits and Ed Lyons of Hamilton knocked in 115.
Gary Geiger of Hamilton had 20 wins and struck out 177 swingers. Henry Bolinda, Bradford also came up with 20 wins for a tie in the wins category. The ERA title was snatched up by Garland Shifflett of Erie with a good 1.95 count.
Attendance was again over the 300,000 count with the league drawing in 339,040 paying customers. This count was some 36,000 off the 1954 mark.
Final Team Standings And Stats
|Hamilton Cardinals||82||43||.656||-||.275||57||.953||53,989||Ed Lyons|
|Bradford Phillies||74||51||.592||8||.285||57||.950||35,979||Lew Krausse Sr. / Pat Colgan|
|Corning Red Sox||69||57||.547||13-||.261||69||.951||42,919||Glenn Wright|
|Wellsville Braves||68||58||.539||14-||.260||66||..959||45,799||Alex Monchak|
|Erie Senators||66||60||.523||16-||.262||87||.954||53,151||Ted Sepkowski|
|Hornell Dodgers||50||76||.396||32-||.269||98||.947||27,314||Boyd Bartley|
|Jamestown Falcons||48||78||.380||34-||.259||49||.949||32,700||Tony Lupien|
|Olean Oilers||46||80||.365||36-||.267||58||.944||47,189||Paul Owens|
1956 - schedule
The Pony League started off the 1956 season just as many before it with eight teams ready to go at it. For reasons not yet known to this writer, both the Hamilton Red Wings and Bradford Yankees withdrew from the league on May 18. The other six played right on, possibly not knowing that this was the last year that the PONY League would run under that name. The Wellsville Braves proved to be the winner, with a 74 and 46 finish. The playoffs, still in the shortened plan, went to Wellsville also, beating the Hornell Dodgers 2 games to 1, while the Olean Oilers did the same to the Corning Red Sox 2 to 1. Wellsville then took Olean in a hard fought final round, 3 games to 2. This made Wellsville the true league champs, by winning both the league and playoff titles.
Olean's Paul Owens led the league with a batting average of .368, his team mate, Lou Vassie, scored 116 runs, while yet another Olean player, Glenn Owens, had 155 base knocks. George Lewis of Corning smacked 32 homers and Jim Hubbard from the Erie Senators had 109 RBI.
Robert Milo of Olean chalked up 20 wins, while Keith Nichols of Wellsville posted a fine 1.76 ERA. Martin Stabiner of Hornell led the league with 216 strikeouts.
With only six teams playing and TV draining customers, the attendance really fell to the lowest mark yet. Only 159,755 showed up for the final PONY show.
Final Team Standings And Stats
|Wellsville Braves||74||46||.617||-||.270||68||.953||30,470||Alex Monchak|
|Corning Red Sox||68||75||.552||7-||.276||98||.949||33,450||Elmer Yoter|
|Olean Oilers||65||58||.528||10-||.277||76||.956||27,281||Paul Owens|
|Hornell Dodgers||57||58||.495||14-||.267||111||.942||20,334||Boyd Bartley / Gelbert|
|Jamestown Falcons||52||62||.456||19||.276||57||.948||19,757||Pat Mullin / Lund / Blackburn|
|Erie Senators||45||74||.375||28-||.256||49||.948||28,223||Johnny Welaj|
|Hamilton Red Wings||6||8||.429||NA||.225||1||.935||1,200||Cart Howerton|
|Bradford Yankees||3||9||.250||NA||.223||3||.926||1,258||Randy Gumpert|
After an 18-year run, for numerous reasons, some good, some bad,
the final year that the league was known as the PONY.
In 1957, it became known as the New York-Pennsylvania League.
Managers who played in the Majors
During the 18 year existance of the PONY League there were 163 team managers utilized to handle the players on the 12 different teams that suited up at one time or another. Normally the PONY was an 8 team affair but occasioally fell to 6. Out of the 163 men that kept things together there were 61 that had played Major League Baseball at one time or another. These 61 are listed here ...and please forgive me if I missed a couple, as changes were quick and frequent.
Batavia (6) Jack Sanford 1940, Earl Wolgamot 1943, Jack Tighe 1945-46-47, George Susce 1948, Joe Vosmik and George Genovese 1952.
Bradford (8) Eddie Onslow 1940, Del Bissonette1941, Jack Burns 1942, Lee Riley 1946, Danny Carnevale 1949, Frank McCormick 1951, Lew Krausse Sr. 1955, Randy Gumpert 1956.
Corning (4) Irv Hall 1951, Paul O'Dea 1953, Glenn Wright 1955, Elmer Yoter 1956.
Erie (4) Bill Harris 1944,45. Nap Reyes 1954, Ted Sepkowski 1955, Johnny Welaj 1956.
Hamilton (6) Don Hurst 1939, Fred Lucas 1940, George Kissell 1948, Vedie Himsl 1950,51, Jimmy Brown 1954, Ed Lyons 1955.
Hornell (7) Frank Oceak 1943, Art Doll 1947, Russ Kerns 1948, Marius Russo 1949, Jack Banta 1953, Boyd Bartley 1955, Charlie Gelbert 1956.
Jamestown (9) Greg Mulleavy 1941, Jack Sanford 1943, Ollie Carnegie 1944, Jim Levey 1945, Marv Olson 1946,47,48,49. Bob Shawkey 1950, Tony Lupien 1951,52,53,55. Wayne Blackburn 1954, Don Lund 1956.
Lockport (2) Roy Johnson 1943, Greg Mulleavy 1944,45.
London (1) Jimmy Jordan 1940.
Niagra Falls (2) Tim Murchison 1939, Joe O'Rourke1940.
Olean (7) Jake Pitler 1939,40,41,42,43. John Fitzpatrick 1944, 45, Greg Mulleavy 1946.George Scherger 1948, Len Schulte 1950, Austin Knickerbocker 1954, Paul Owens 1955,56.
Wellsville (5) Herb Brett 1943, Joe Abreu 1946, Tom Carey 1947,48, Jimmy Wasdell 1949, Alex Monchak 1955,56.
Hall of Fame Alumni
- Nellie Fox, 1944 Jamestown Falcons
- Warren Spahn, 1940 Bradford Bees
The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball & Baseball Guide and Record Book.
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