Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘New England League’ Category

1947-1949 Portland Pilots

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Portland Pilots ProgramNew England League (1947-1949)
Down East League (1950)

Born: 1947
Died: 1949 – The New England League ceases operations.

Stadium: Portland Stadium

Owners: Sam Aceto, Herbert Curry, et al.


The Portland Pilots were a Class B minor league baseball team in the New England League for three summers from 1947 to 1949.  The club started out as the woeful last place Portland Gulls during the first season of New England League in 1946.  Gulls owner John J. Haley ran out of money to pay his players late in the 1946 season and was ordered by League President Claude Davidson to find a buyer.

The Gulls were bailed out by local contractor Sam Aceto, sign shop owner Herbert Curry and hotelier William Richard in August 1946 which allowed the team to complete the season.  Prior to the 1947 season, the first full campaign under Aceto’s leadership, the team was renamed the Portland Pilots.

Maine native and former Major League Del Bissonette was the Pilots’ skipper in 1947 and 1948.  Bissonette briefly managed the Boston Braves of the National League at the tail end of the 1945 season.  In 1949 former Boston Red Sox infielder Skeeter Newsome took over as a 38-year old player-manager.

During the 1948 and 1949 seasons the Pilots were a farm club of the Philadelphia Phillies.  In 1949, the New England League started out with eight clubs, but Fall River, Lynn, Manchester and Providence went out of business during the summer, leaving just Portland three other clubs to complete the season.  Portland won the league playoffs in 1949 defeating the Springfield Cubs in the finals.

After the season the New England League folded.  The Pilots played one final season as a semi-pro team in the all-Maine Down East League in the summer of 1950 before vanishing for good.

After the New England League folded, pro baseball didn’t return to Portland, Maine until the formation of the Class AA Portland Sea Dogs in 1994.



New England League Programs


Written by AC

February 28th, 2014 at 2:16 am

1948-1953 Springfield Cubs

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New England League (1948-1949)
International League (1950-1953)

Born: 1948
Folded: Winter 1953 – The Cubs cease operations.

Stadium: Pynchon Park

Team Colors:

Owner: Chicago Cubs

New England League Championships:
International League Championships: None


The Springfield Cubs were a farm club of the Chicago Cubs for six seasons.  The ball club formed in 1948 to compete in the eight-team Class B New England League. But the NEL folded at the end of the 1949 season and temporarily left the Western Massachusetts city without a team.  Shortly thereafter Chicago purchased the Newark Bears, the former New York Yankees farm club in the Class AAA International League, and moved the team to Springfield’s Pynchon Park for the 1950 season.

The shift to the International League brought a much higher caliber of player to town.  While only four players from the Cubs’ two New England League clubs ever made it to the Major Leagues, the 1950 Springfield team alone featured nearly two dozen players who saw Major League service time.  Locals flocked to Pynchon Park that summer and the Cubs sold a reported 213,000 tickets in 1950.

Springfield’s fortunes declined over the next three summers.  The Cubs had another Class AAA farm club at Los Angeles in the Pacific Coast League, so Springfield didn’t get to enjoy all of Chicago’s top prospects.  Springfield dropped to 63-90 in 1951 and bottomed out at 51-102 in 1953.  The bottom fell out the box office, as crowds drop over 60% between 1950 and 1953.

Chicago put the Springfield team up for sale in September 1953.  No savior stepped forward and the Springfield Cubs folded during the winter that followed.  The demise of the Cubs left the Boston Red Sox as the only professional baseball team operating in the New England states during the summer of 1954.




International League Media Guides

Internytational League Programs


Written by AC

January 26th, 2014 at 3:04 am

1946-1948 Lynn Red Sox

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New England League (1946-1948)

Born: 1946
Died: 1949 – Affiliation change (Lynn Tigers)

Stadium: Fraser Field

Team Colors:



The Lynn Red Sox were a Class B farm club of the Boston Red Sox that played for three seasons in the New England League.

The Red Sox finished in first place in the New England League regular season for all three summers of their existence, but never managed to win the playoffs.  Eleven Lynn players ultimately went on to see Major League service time.   The most notable being Chuck Stobbs, who won 107 games in the Majors, journeyman first baseman Dale Long, who played parts of 10 seasons in the big leagues, and infielder Fred Hatfield who played up for nine seasons.

Following the 1948 season, the Red Sox pulled out of Lynn and were replaced by the Detroit Tigers.  The re-named Lynn Tigers operated for only half of a season before folding in July 1949.

Fraser Field is still used today for collegiate wooden bat league baseball.  Parts of the old ballpark were condemned in the late 1990’s, but after an extensive renovation in 2003, the ballpark was used for professional baseball as recently as 2007.



New England League Programs 




Written by AC

June 20th, 2013 at 11:31 pm


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