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Adirondack baseball

June 19, 2011
By DON WILLIAMS , For The Leader Herald

Northville once had a baseball team called "Adirondack." In 1921, they had a team "second to none in amateur circles!" Reportedly, they had won 80 percent of their games. In March 1922, they were busy planning a supper and social time to raise money to support the baseball team. Baseball had become an important pastime in the Adirondack settlements.

Apparently the fundraising for the Adirondack team had paid off; by July 24, they had a game scheduled for the coming Saturday against the "crack new Sacandaga nine." The game was scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at the Sport Island Ball Field, located under the Great Sacandaga Lake today, just off the shore by the Sport Island Pub in Sacandaga Park.

The Sacandaga team was one to be feared - they were one of the fastest teams in the state with some great players. Reportedly, the players were picked from the collegiate and professional players who summered at the Sacandaga resort. Well-known baseball names were on the roster: Ray Lindsey led the team, Stan Fitzgerald and Joe Shea were there from Albany fame, as well as, baseball star Joe Procita.

A capacity crowd was expected at the initial game-tickets were a reasonable 25 cents. The proceeds were to be used toward the construction of the new St. Francis Chapel at Northville.

Town teams abounded in the Adirondacks when I was growing up during the '40s and they had been around well before my time. The 1888 Northville ball team had F.N.W. on their shirts in the old photographs. It stood for Dr. Franklin N. Wright, a Northville doctor whose son, Franklin Wright Jr., ran the Northville drug store in the 1920s.

The "Adirondacks" were a well-known baseball team in those early decades of the 1900s. They played through the "depression" years and after WW II. I remember great players who became our idols including Grant Morrison, Doug Parker, Jack Darby and Don Wadsworth. Besides playing ball they were upstanding members of the community.

Dolgeville was a great baseball town that produced the great player Harold "Hal" Schumacher. Hal, also know as "Schute," joined the New York Giants in 1930 as a pitcher. He graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1933. One of his best-known games was in 1936 when he pitched the Giants to a win over the New York Yankees. Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio were on that Yankee team among some other great players.

There is a growing interest in collecting baseball memorabilia today and also a big surge in the number of Little League players. It looks like our national game, which dates back to Cooperstown in 1839, is here to stay. The Honus Wagner baseball card was purchased for $451,000 in 1991, sold to Walmart for $500,000, resold for $641,000 and then purchased by a wealthy collector in 2007 for $2.8 million.

Maybe it is time to check the attic for a long-lost baseball card of one of those baseball stars of days gone by.



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