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of Freeland, Pa.
FREELAND AREA BASEBALL TEAMS
Reproduced in Bob Falatko’s History of Foster Township, p. 22, where Bob wrote: “Sports, particularly baseball, played a big part in the lives of those living in the coal regions. Almost every patch town had a team, that played in leagues set up by the various ball clubs. This particular team pictured here is from Upper Lehigh, and was taken somewhere around 1890-95. The composition of this team is comparable to most of the other teams in their composition. Miners, breaker and boiler house workers, clerks, and quasi-official Company personnel. For example, the gentleman standing on the right with the umbrella is John Powell, Company Paymaster probably acting as the manager of the team, or the sponsoring coal company’s representative. The fellow in the middle with the white tie is Jim Goulden, Company Store manager. The others are identified as left to right, standing: Howie or Jim Williams, miner; Tommy Edwards, miner; Jim Goulden; John Lesser; and James Brogan, Assistant Foreman. Kneeling, on the left and right are two Davis’; and the two in the middle are unidentified. These men worked all day, and played after work and on weekends, most walking to every game, wherever played in the area. To realize the impact of this sport on its times, just ask any oldtimer in the patch towns about baseball in his day, and he’ll give you verbatim almost any statistic on some legendary player of his day, and every town had several legends in the game. Including quite a few who went on to fame in the big leagues as pros.” The photo was also reproduced in the PennySaver 6(3), June 1968, p. 16. Photo from John Zubach.
Upper Lehigh Reds, 1902. From PennySaver 2(4), June 1964, p. 1: "Playing under the sponsorship of the Upper Lehigh YMCA. Still living are David Evans and Tommy Johnson of Freeland. Top row, left to right - Dave Evans, Mike Barret, Dick Dudley, Mgr., John Boczkowski, Tom McGuire, Tom Johnson, Tom Letcher and James Johnson. Bottom row, left to right - Joseph Johnson, Mascot, Cormac Brogan, Dennis Ferry, Bob Kishbaug, Maurice Johnson, John Barret and George Whiteman. Picture courtesy of David Evans, 80 years old at time of publication." Photo from John Zubach.
This photo of the 1903 Tigers baseball team comes to us from Ed Bacon. He wrote: "I am the grandson of Edward J. Gallagher. He and his brother Peter were barbers, first at 354 Centre St. and then 713 Main St. We lived on Main St. with them until the mid-1960s. I have a number of photos that were on the Main St. shop walls. ... [This one] is the Freeland Tigers baseball team, my grandfather Edward is seated on the floor on the left."
Brigid McMenamin commented on this photo: "Hi Chuck, just noticed that in your 1903 photo of the Freeland Tigers the guy in the middle (jacket, tie, full head of dark hair) looks just like Hugh A. McMenamin (1878-1943) of Centre Street, who graduated from MMI, St. Michael's (Toronto) and Philadelphia Dental School 1907 and went on to practice in Scranton. I know he was associated with the team, which I believe was cofounded by his brother John J. (1872-1917), who also managed the Opera House, founded a men's shop on Centre, and co-founded the Ferry drugstore, and built a big house on Vine for his wife Margaret (Maggie Ferry, sister of Fanny & daughter of Freeland saloonkeepers/hoteliers Maurice & Mary (McGinley) Ferry) and their 11 children."
Mary Rosenkrans later commented: “I saw the comments on the home page by Bridget McMenamin concerning the 1903 photo of the Freeland Tigers. She is correct that it is Hugh McMenamin in the middle of the photo. I’ve attached the byline that came with the newspaper article and has all the names listed. My grandfather is in the front, Edward Gallagher.” At the end of the byline, notice the reference to the Hot Stove League, a term that according to Wikipedia dates to 19th-century small town America and refers to baseball’s off-season and calls up images of baseball fans gathering around a hot stove during the cold winter months, discussing their favorite baseball teams and players. Photo courtesy of Mary Rosenkrans.
This photo of the 1904 Freeland Slavonian baseball team comes to us from Pat Boren. It was published in one of the local newspapers on June 7, 1950 (so the notes on deceased players are as of June 7, 1950).
Back row, left to right: Andrew Greshko, captain; Mike Herkalo, assistant manager; Steve Makuta, coach; Joe Makuta and Mick Ondushko (d).
Front row, left to right: Joe Banik, John Rusinko (d); Joe Virusky (d), manager; Gus Cherescavich, George Rusinko, and Adam Cherascavich, mascot.
Pictured above is the Freeland Slavonian team, first all-Slavonian nine to play league baseball in Pennsylvania and one of the first All-Slovak nines in the state. This 1904 team had an excellent record. Regulars not present when the picture was taken were Joe Banjok, Andrew Sarosky, Mike Shalata (d), and Tom Beckaly of Hazleton. George Shigo and Johnny Novak, Freeland All-Home Five basketball ace, also played with the Slavonians after their college teams ended their seasons in June.
This is the 1905 Freeland Y.M.C.A. baseball team, photo courtesy of Bob Vannauker. His father George Vannauker was on the team and is marked with an "X" on the photo. The enlarged image was repaired digitally by Jay Cawley; here's what the actual photo looks like.(Thank you, Jay.) The black and white copy came from John Zubach.
The men are wearing shirts that look like they might be from several teams, and most of the players are in blackface. ??? The photo was taken in 1906, the year of the Pearl Jubilee. Mary thinks her grandfather Edward Gallagher is seated on the far right. Photo courtesy of Mary Rosenkrans.
Written on the back of this photo postcard: Dorrance Twp. Baseball field 1906 or 1908. Photo from John Zubach.
This photo of the 1907 Tigers team as published in the Freeland PennySaver in 1964 comes to us from Joan Buday. She wrote: "The original article was give to me by my cousin Chuck McHugh in Houston, formerly of Freeland. It was mailed to his father Charles "Chap" McHugh as you can see in the upper corner. Your history of Freeland site is incredible. It has provided much, much info for me in genealogy research. Thanks for all of your efforts." Thank you, Joan.
1907 Freeland Tigers, photo reproduced in PennySaver 2(2), April 1964, p. 1. "Front row: Joe Ferry (Pitcher and 1B), Jimmy Brogan (LF), Bill Brogan (Bat Boy), Effie Welsh (Catcher). 2nd row: Hugh McDevitt (3B), Billy Kringe (CF), John Barret (RF), Joseph Johnson (Outfield). 3rd row: Dewey McNelis, Jimmy Campbell (RF) (or 4F???), Tommy Brislin (Mgr.), John Brislin (2B), Alfie Boczkowski (Pitcher)." Photo in PennySaver 2(2), April 1964. Story on p. 16: "The Freeland Tigers in 1907 played in the Tri-County league of four teams, that included Drifton, Hazleton, and Audenried. Freeland won the pennant in 1910. This picture was taken on the back porch of the Washington Hotel, Walnut Street, Freeland. Vic DeiTos is now building his home on the former hotel site. Dewey McNelis and Bill Brogan, a Philadelphia physician, are the only ones still living. Mr. McNelis was the source of this article's information." Photo from John Zubach.
This is the 1908 Jeddo Stars baseball team. The Jeddo Stars apparently began in 1901. Bruce Bartko sent this photo, with a note saying that it's possible that this could the 1908 team, based on the roster for that team given in an article that I had sent to his sister, Katherine Bartko Leighton - the article that I have is missing the photo that was apparently published with it. I found the article and its 3 photos, and sure enough, this photo from Bruce is the 1908 team! Here's the roster as found in the article: Front, mascot John Yalch; First row (from left), Mike Serock, Steve Batcha, manager Mike Bogansky, Mike Becker and Mike Bartko; Second row, Kelly Condrick Sr., Andy Sarosky, John Pavlinko, Gus Cherescavitch and Joe Makuta.
Their grandfather, Mike Bartko, shown in the front row, far right, lived a long life and died in 1974 at approximately age 85, according to Katharine. Bruce added: "My father took me to the Jeddo Stars bar once when I was a child. It was nickle beer night!!!! He just had to go." The image has been digitally repaired by Jay Cawley.
I found this photo of the 1908 Weatherly Baseball Club on eBay, and I think that I bid on it but was outbid. I saved a copy, though, and am sharing it here.
Freeland Athletics baseball team at Crescents Field, 1910. Photo from John Zubach.
Freeland Athletics baseball team - Tri-County Champions in 1915. Photo courtesy of Tom Landers, Joe Flanagan, and the Freeland Historical Society.
I don't know if this is a Freeland area team or not - can't make out what the shirts say. It looks like it might be from around the 1920s. Photo from John Zubach.
This photo of the Hazle Brook Pirates 1937 baseball team comes from Barbara Bartol Rentenbach. Barbara's father played on this semi-pro team at age 17. Team members' names are written on the bottom of the photo [please let me know if I've mistyped any names]: Dikie Litchko, Frank Midlick, Snuffy Bartol, Joe Dufallo, Horse Witchko, John Hynick, Gusard Sessack, Mushy Kovack, John Midlick, Billy Kovalick, Louis Paulshock.
Here we have a few of the Upper Lehigh Eagles, from sometime in the 1940s. This and the next several photos came to me from Eleanor Sheaman Laganosky, Wilmington, Delaware. She was kind enough to send them to me some time after my dad died in 1991. She wrote on the back of this photo: Left to right: Johnny Tancin, Stevie Tancin, Harold Blose (I think?), Billy Kears, Yabby Tiglio. A lot of those guys had nicknames, I remember from my dad. Harold Blose was Blosie; my dad called Billy Kears "Willy Mays"; my dad was a lefty and had red hair back in those days and I think they called him Pinky. That's his glove at top left of this page.
Some of the Upper Lehigh Eagles, from sometime in the 1940s. Eleanor wrote on the back of this photo: Left to right: Charlie Sheaman, Billy Kears, Stevie Tancin, Paul Fisher. Front: Bat boy, Bobby (George) Sheaman. Billy Kears also had red hair and was the first person I remember having a tattoo on his arm. I thought his name really was Willy Mays (see paragraph above), and so when I was a little kid, when I would see him walking on the street I'd shout "Hey, Willy Mays!" Probably embarrassed the hell out of him. Tsk.
Some of the Upper Lehigh Eagles, from sometime in the 1940s. Eleanor wrote on the back of this photo: Front: Bobby (George) Sheaman. Left to right: Billy Kears, Johnny Tancin, Paul Fisher. George Sheaman, Manager.
Some of the Upper Lehigh Eagles, from sometime in the 1940s. Eleanor wrote on the back of this photo to identify a few of the guys, but it's a little uncertain as to who's who. I'm typing what I think are the identities here, but am also showing the back of the photo so that you can see what I'm working from. Corrections are always welcome. So I'm guessing that standing second from left is Pecker Pshar, next to him at right is Charlie Sheaman. Then I think she's saying that seated in front left in white shirt and hat is Bo Buchman, and the guy thumbing his nose is Ralph or Yabby Tiglio.
And this is George Sheaman, manager of the Upper Lehigh Eagles, from sometime in the 1940s. Eleanor also sent me a team roster from 1946: Manager, George Sheaman; Pitcher, Bobby May; Short stop, Joey Tancin; First base/Outfield, John Tancin; Catcher, Albert "Bo" Buchman; Left field, Billy Kears; Right field/Outfield, George Tancin; First base, Donny Kromis; Second base, Sonny Shemo; Third base, Steve Tancin; Right field/Center, Paul Fisher; Third base, Charlie Sheaman; Bat boy, Bobby Sheaman. Also, Tom Polcha, "Pecker" Pshar, Tony "Yabby" Tiglio, Harold Blose.
Jeddo Stars 1945, at Sampson, NY. Johnny Ballots, Joe Marchetti, Chuck Sarosky, John Stradnik, Tom Malchitsky, George Opert, Wes Matchick, Manager Hal Heidenrich, Danny Sarosky, Taylor Matteo, John Malchitsky, George Moskovich, Lefty Smith, Porky Hudock, Rex Antinozzi. Photo courtesy of Tom Landers, Joe Flanagan, and the Freeland Historical Society.
Bob Zimmerman has written on this photo: ca. 1949. Four Freeland schools (St. Ann, Foster, Freeland + MMI) + White Haven. Photo courtesy of the Freeland Historical Society.
MASCOTS, BALL BOYS, BAT BOYS
This is the bat boy for the 1905 Freeland Y.M.C.A. baseball team, courtesy of Bob Vannauker.
Here is John Yalch, the bat boy for the 1908 Jeddo Stars baseball team. The photo comes to us courtesy of Bruce Bartko.
Here is the bat boy for the Upper Lehigh Eagles baseball team in the 1940s, Bobby (George) Sheaman. The photo comes to us courtesy of Eleanor Sheaman Laganosky.