MINORS 1898

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1898 Connecticut League

With seven teams sprinkled below Hartford and New London in the east, this quaint league became energized by the arrival of recently "retired" major leaguer Roger Connor who installed himself as manager and firstbaseman of his hometown Waterbury team. For him it was a Summer of celebration with a hover victory over late-charging New Haven. Connor had started his Hall-of-Fame career on the Waterbury sandlots and last played there when it was in an early version of the New England League in 1878.

The ex-ballplayer turned New England League president (and who also dabbled as a beat writer) Timothy Murnane seized on the excitement and, for 1899, created the official minor Connecticut State League which survived until 1912.

The Cinderella team seems to be Danbury, the western-most club. Danbury fielded teams in all the Connecticut Leagues prior to this date but Murnane replaced them with Norwich for 1899 - to provide a geographic rival/partner for New London - and thereafter Danbury never fielded a team the State League. Nevertheless, 1898 was a banner season for that small and hilly town. The team survived a late-July road trip to be 2.5 games behind with six games remaining before dropping five of their last six.

Bridgeport deserves notice for starting the year 7-24, and for finishing the year 44-21. During their turnaround a fifteen game deficit reduced to one of five. Last place New Britain "disbanded" July 10th due to lack of attendance, but was propped up by the league for another two weeks at which time they and seventh place Derby were both discarded. The league finished as a six team league. I have no data as to whether the schedule was redrawn or if blank spots in the schedule existed for the rest of the year. Looking at the Davenport graph it seems blank spots existed.

 

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