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Columns

July 27, 2013

Rogers Hornsby, Baseball Hall of Famer, played in Oneonta in 1923

(Continued)

It was a well-played game and Oneonta gave their all against the Cardinals, but lost 2-1 after a two-run ninth inning rally.

“Though the Oneonta Giants failed to win the game,” the Star wrap-up read, “the crowd was more than satisfied with the exhibition. From the expressions on the faces of the westerners as they came in from the field in the latter innings, one could determine that they were more or less worried for fear that they might fail to capture the game with the bush team.” Approximately 1,500 attended.

Dr. Francis A. Marx, president of the Giants baseball club, secured the ball that Rogers Hornsby caught one-handed for the final out and had it autographed. For days later it could be seen by all, displayed in the front window of Herrieff’s Clothes Shop on Main Street, which had been at a few locations during its history. 

After the game, Rogers Hornsby, who went three-for-four at the plate, had nice words to say about the town and the ballpark, but more so about the Giants, managed by Al Bridwell. 

“It is very seldom that we find such a team out of the big leagues, and there are many who do not play as good baseball as was played today. McAuliffe is there and he kept us on our toes.” 

Burt Shotton, assistant manager of the Cardinals, was full of praise. “You have a great town, a great ball park and a dandy team. Our visit here was a most pleasant one, and I can recommend this town to any big league team.” Shotton compared the Oneonta ballpark to be as nice as their home field.

According to Bob Whittemore’s book about Oneonta, “Baseball Town,” a great deal of work was done around the ballpark in 1923. Water mains had been tapped to bring in fresh water to the park, a substantial board fence was constructed around the perimeter, parking space was graded, and a sidewalk was constructed “from the bridge to the grandstand.”

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