Hardball history

Warren a major part of minor leagues in early 1900s

Carmen Hill - 1914

When the Iron & Oil League disbanded mid-season in 1898, baseball fans in Warren wouldn’t have a hometown team for a decade.

The next iteration of minor league baseball came to Warren in 1908 when the Warren Blues joined the Interstate League.

The squad was managed by Thomas McNeal and courtesy of statscrew.com, we actually have some individual statistics from that team.

A guy named “Cook,” with a 3-1 record, shared the team lead in wins with Bernard McNeil, who went 3-3. Lefty Grover Reeder went 2-5 in the campaign.

“O’Connor” lead the team with a .324 batting average and a team-high 22 hits while “Nugent” hit .279 and Thomas Graynor hit .273. As a team, the Blues hit .265.

But financial volatility would rear its ugly head yet again, holding the Blues to just 16 games (don’t add up the stats, they don’t match!) and the entire league folded on June 5.

The league came back in various forms but Warren wouldn’t have another team until the 1914 season.

Playing at the Class D (or rookie league) level, The Warren Bingoes went 57-45 and finished in third.

In the age of the player-manager, William Webb managed the squad and hit .189 in 36 games, evidently recognizing that he was an offensive liability to his own squad.

This time, baseball-references gives us player names and batting averages.

Larry Jennings hit .358 in 18 games while Elmer Jacobson hit .315 in 28 games. Philip Carling hit .283 in a 48 games. 27-year-old (old then and now for rookie ball) Jacob Jennis played in a team-high 50 games and hit .200.

Albert Hine and Willis Eby led the team with 16 appearances on the mound (appearances is the only statistic available) and Eby also hit .261.

The sole major league connection on these two squads was an 18-year-old Corry High Schooler playing for the Bingoes who made just six appearances in what was his professional debut.

Carmen Hill (he’s significant enough to have his own Wikipedia page, too) was born in Minnesota and played for the Pirates in 1915, 1916, 1918-1919 and 1926-1929 (likely interrupted by World War I), the then-New York Giants in 1922 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 1929 and 1930.

He won a World Series with the Giants in 1922 and National League pennants with the Pirates in 1927 and the Cardinals in 1930.

Hill, a screwballer, finished 23rd in National League MVP voting after the 1927 season when he went 27-11 in 43 games (31 starts), throwing 277 2/3 innings with a 3.24 ERA. That included 22 complete games, two shutouts AND three saves.

Paul Waner won the award in the NL while some guy named Lou Gehrig took the AL’s top honor. (Sidenote: Babe Ruth’s career-high 60 home run 1927 season didn’t result in a top 25 finish in MVP voting).

Hill had a solid follow up season in 1928 – 16 wins in 237 innings – but 43 of his 49 career Major League victories came in those two seasons.

He finished with a career Major League ERA of 3.44 in 787 innings pitched. He won an additional 202 games in the minor leagues, per his bio, over 14 seasons with 7 teams. He died in 1990 at the age of 94.


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