21ST CENTURY HIGHLIGHTS
THE REVS FIRST SEASON
Aug. 9, 2007: Tike Redman pinch hits in his debut for the Baltimore Orioles, becoming the first player from the Revolution to reach the majors. Redman is the one and only player in 2007 to go from the Atlantic League to the majors. It marked Redman’s first return to the majors after almost a two-year absence. (He finished the season batting .318 in 40 games for the O’s.)
June 23, 2007: Revs win what was then the longest game in team history, scoring a 1-0 victory against the Somerset Patriots in the bottom of the 13th inning. Reliever Jason Olson earns the victory, and pitcher-turned-pinch hitter Charlie Hesseltine scores the winning run.
June 16, 2007: Revolution win first game at Sovereign Bank Stadium, beating Newark 9-6. Reliever Jason Olson earns the victory.
June 15, 2007: Revolution host first minor league baseball game in York since 1969. York loses 7-4 to the Newark Bears in front of 5,460 fans at Sovereign Bank Stadium. Safety and fire officials OK the opening of Sovereign Bank Stadium about 30 minutes before the scheduled first pitch. The stadium lacks many amenities, including clubhouses, team showers, luxury boxes, picnic deck, permanent concession stands and several bathrooms.
June 7-9, 2007: Sod installed at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
June 2, 2007: First plywood attached to tall left-field wall at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
Week of May 27, 2007: First steel supports for left-field monster wall put in place.
May 14, 2007: The Baltimore Orioles sign outfielder Tike Redman (pictured above) and assign him to Triple-A Norfolk. Redman was the first player in Revolution history to sign a contract with a major league organization.
May 9, 2007: Revs defeat Camden (N.J.) Riversharks 17-6 at Campbell’s Field to record the first victory in team history. Outfielder Tike Redman set a team record by going 5-for-5, and first baseman Nate Espy went 4-for-4.
Week of May 6, 2007: First light towers installed at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
BRINGING BASEBALL BACK TO YORK
Aug. 23, 2007: Scheduled date for completion of construction. The stadium still lacked outfield concessions/bathrooms; finished/furnished clubhouses; picnic deck concession building; office space; permanent left field ramp; wrap-around walk; and lawn for lawn seating.
April 20, 2007: Revolution announce Sovereign Bank Stadium will not open for the scheduled home opener May 15. Unexpected bedrock beneath the Arch Street neighborhood and winter storms are sited for causes in the delay in opening the park. The team announces it will play its home games at Camden, N.J., before opening a bare-bones version of the park on June 15, 2007.
Week of April 15, 2007: Last building demolished in Arch Street neighborhood where Sovereign Bank Stadium would stand.
Week of March 4, 2007: First seating bowl foundation poured and first pipes in on-field drainage system installed.
Feb. 3, 2007: York signs former Montreal Expos outfielder Peter Bergeron as the first player in Revolution history.
Dec. 19, 2006: Former Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles confirms he will be introduced as the York Revolution’s first manager. He will have a coaching staff comprised of former O’s, including pitching coach Tippy Martinez, hitting coach Ryan Minor and outfielder/baserunning coach Al Bumbry.
Sept. 29, 2006: Former York White Roses player and Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson participates in the groundbreaking ceremony for the minor league ballpark that will be called Sovereign Bank Stadium. Demolition continues on the site, and heavy construction will not begin for about another week.
July 10, 2006: York’s expansion Atlantic League franchise announces that it will be called the Revolution, a nod to York’s role in the country’s Revolution. The city hosted the Continental Congress during the American Revolution. The Continental Congress also adopted the Articles of Confederation in York.
July 6, 2006: The Reading-based Empire Wrecking Co. started tearing down the first building at the corner of Arch and Duke streets to make way for York’s new baseball stadium. It will take six weeks for workers to demolish the old warehouse and 19 other buildings in the old Arch Street neighborhood.
April 25, 2006: Brooks Robinson appeared in York for the announcement that the stadium project received another $1.5 million from the state. State Rep. Stephen Stetler, D-York, and Mayor John Brenner successfully lobbied Gov. Ed Rendell for the additional money for the Arch Street neighborhood project. Without the state’s $13.5 million contribution, proponents say the nearly $30 million project would have been dead.
June 20, 2005: The York County Industrial Development Authority approves up to $8 million in bond financing for a private investment group backing a downtown minor league baseball stadium. The revenue bond is for a specific project and is not a taxpayer-backed bond, which was a sticking point that ultimately killed several previous attempts.
June 2, 2005: York mayor John Brenner announces that some of the area’s biggest industrialists, businessmen and philanthropists agreed to cover up to a $7 million shortfall in a plan for a $27 million stadium in the Arch Street neighborhood. No city or county tax dollars would be used.
Jan. 12, 2005: After a brief resurrection, the York City School Board stops plans for a professional baseball stadium at Small Athletic Field. Because renovation bids for the school’s athletic fields came in $1 million higher than the district had initially expected, board member Tom Foust floated the idea that revisiting Keystone Baseball’s public-private proposal to build a $24 million baseball stadium at the site should at least be an option.
Oct. 4, 2004: After a three-month evaluation, which looked at 15 potential sites, the York Stadium Site Assessment Task Force named Small Field and Arch Street as the top two sites for a baseball stadium.
June 7, 2004: The York City School Board stops plans for a baseball stadium at Small Athletic Field by a vote of 8-0. The board voted instead to go ahead with extensive renovations at the district-owned property. The school board’s primary concern was whether students, under the $24 million stadium proposal, would have enough access to the fields or whether they would be shut out.
Nov. 2003: Steve Mitchell (pictured above right) announces the York City Recreation Corp. would no longer be involved in bringing a minor league baseball stadium to York. Mitchell and his group had been under public scrutiny after the group failed to make payment on the York City Ice Arena. The project also fell behind schedule when three new York County commissioners were elected to office, with all three voicing skepticism about the funding of a minor league stadium.
Oct. 2003: Public support for a minor league baseball stadium project continues to find critics as the York City Recreation Corp. failed to make its November debt service payment for the York City Ice Arena. The city, which guaranteed the ice arena’s bond, will be forced to pay off the debt. YCRC’s failure to pay continued to show the risk involved with the county or city backing a $12 million bond for a minor league baseball stadium.
Oct. 29, 2002: Gov. Mark Schweiker unveiled an oversized $12 million check at 1 Marketway West Building. The check represents half of the proposed $24 million needed to construct a state-of-the-art, 6,000-seat multipurpose stadium on the site of the York City School District’s Small Athletic Field.
March 2002: York City Recreation Corp. eyes building a stadium at Small Athletic Field. YCRC would agree to build locker rooms, an all-weather track and soccer field for William Penn High School. The deal would also allow William Penn to play its football games at the minor league baseball stadium.
Jan. 2002: Proposed sites for York’s minor league stadium include the former Smurfit-Stone Containerboard Mill in Spring Garden Township.
Nov. 2001: Steve Mitchell and the York City Recreation Corp. revive plans to bring a minor league baseball stadium to York. The YCRC plans to build a $24 million stadium, financing the deal with $12 million from the capital redevelopment funds from the state and $12 million from a local bond guaranteed by the city or county. Mitchell pledged to cover local bond by securing 10-year commitments for luxury boxes.
March 2001: Local business leaders turn down a pitch by city baseball consultant Howie Bedell to bring an independent baseball team to York.
20TH CENTURY HIGHLIGHTS
SEARCHING FOR A TEAM, STADIUM
March 1999: Maryland Baseball — which would eventually become Opening Day Partners — completed its draft of a feasibility study for placing a team in York. The study suggested helping to pay for the renovation of Harrisburg’s RiverSide Stadium in the hope the Senators would allow York to play in the Eastern League.
December 1998: York mayor Charlie Robertson won permission to enter into formal discussions with Maryland Baseball. Maryland Baseball was allowed to study the York and Harrisburg markets.
March 1998: The city unveiled plans for a $20 million minor league stadium reflective of Baltimore’s Camden Yards. The park would be located in the Ohio Blender, along the Codorus Creek near N. Beaver Street.
December 1996: Baseball consultant Howie Bedell started talking to Maryland Baseball Limited Partnership Inc. about doing a feasibility study on whether York and Harrisburg could support teams. Harrisburg refused to allow the study.
May 1996 : Harrisburg mayor Stephen Reed said he strongly opposed a competing team so close to the Senators. Eastern League rules also prohibited York from speaking with affiliated teams.
August 1995: Robertson and his staff — including current Revs president/general manager Eric Menzer — visited several Frontier League cities, including Johnstown, Chillicothe and Newark, Ohio, and Richmond, Ind.
July 1995: York officials met with business executives on bringing back minor league baseball to York. At the time, the city thought the team might join the independent Frontier League and play at Bob Hoffman Stadium. Renovating the stadium could cost more than $1 million, officials said then. A year later that figure jumped to $3.2 million.
HOPE FOR REVIVAL
1994: Robertson announced his intentions to bring minor league baseball back to the city.
YORK PIRATES AWARDED TITLE
Thursday, Sept. 4, 1969: Eastern League President Tommy Richardson cancels playoffs with only one game completed in the league’s two first-round series. Pittsfield led regular season champion York 1-0, and Elmira led Reading 1-0 in best-of-three series. Richardson said at least 12 players on the four teams expected to leave their teams because of military commitments.
YORK’S LAST MINOR LEAGUE GAME UNTIL 2007
Tuesday, Sept. 2, 1969: The York Pirates unknowingly played the last minor league game featuring a team from York until the Revs came to town in 2007. Pittsfield (Mass.) catcher Carlton Fisk homered and tripled to lead the Pittsfield Red Sox to a 7-4 victory against the York Pirates in the first game of a best-of-three Eastern League playoff series.
Fisk went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs scored for the fourth-place Red Sox. Pittsfield struck for five runs in the bottom of the first, rallying from a 1-0 deficit to take the lead.
The series was set to resume in York, but it was never completed because of back-to-back rain postponements.
LAST GAME IN YORK
Wednesday, Aug. 27, 1969: The York Pirates wrapped up the city’s first minor league pennant since 1925 by sweeping both games of a doubleheader against the Reading Phillies.
York defeated Reading 6-4 in the opener. It completed the sweep with a 3-1 victory in Game 2 before 4,296 fans. In the last minor league game played in York in the 20th century, Frank Brosseau threw a four-hitter. The victory allowed the Pirates to increase their winning streak to 11 games. All York’s victories during the streak came at home.
Sunday, April 21, 1968: York Pirates and Reading Phillies play the first outdoor game on artificial turf at York’s Memorial Stadium.
Up until that point, artificial turf had strictly been an indoor oddity. (The Houston Astrodome had been fitted with synthetic grass in 1966.) Reading beat York 5-3 in front of a crowd of 6,248. It was believed to be the largest crowd in minor league history in York.
The White Roses made five errors in the loss.
Monsanto Chemical Co. installed the artificial infield at no cost to the team or city. A practice field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and York’s Memorial Stadium were the first outdoor stadiums fitted with the artificial surface.
1967: York completes one of the worst seasons of any team in Eastern League history. Opponents throw four no-hitters against York. York’s talented left-handed pitcher Dick Such compiled an 0-16 record with a 2.81 ERA.
Such later served as pitching coach for the Minnesota Twins two World Series championship clubs. He also worked in the Atlantic League as a pitching coach.
1965: York played Elmira at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium before an Orioles’ game. The game featured the minor league affiliates for the Washington Senators (York) and Baltimore Orioles (Elmira). Future major leaguers Lou Piniella and Mark Belanger played for Elmira. Future major league general manager Joe Klein played for York. York won 4-0.
FAVORITE ADOPTED SON
June 3, 1955: Second baseman Brooks Robinson made his professional baseball debut for the York White Roses in front of 939 fans at Memorial Stadium. Robinson went 0-for-1. Robinson had graduated from Little Rock Central High School only days earlier. By the end of the season, the Orioles promoted him to the majors.
Sept. 29, 1954: During the first game of the World Series, New York Giants center fielder Willie Mays made an over-the-shoulder grab of a 450-foot blast hit by York native Vic Wertz (pictured above). The play is known simply as “The Catch.” The Giants swept the Cleveland Indians to win their first title since 1933.
1947: After shifting the site of its minor league ballpark numerous times during the first half of the 20th century, York moved its minor league team from West York’s Memorial Field to York’s Memorial Stadium.
York’s minor league clubs continued to play at Memorial Stadium until the York Pirates folded at the conclusion of the 1969 season.
June 16, 1943: White Roses pitcher Thomas “Lefty” George, 56, threw a three-hit shutout against rival Lancaster. George held Lancaster third baseman George Kell (pictured above) hitless, snapping the future Hall of Famer’s 32-game hitting streak.
DROPPING THE BALL
July 2, 1936: York’s team moved to Trenton, N.J., in midseason. The move allowed the Eastern League to include its first team from outside New York and Pennsylvania. The Trenton Senators finished the season in last place.
GREATEST TEAM WITH LOCAL FLAVOR
1931: Pleasureville native Paul “Country Jake” Stephens (pictured above) played shortstop for the Homestead Grays — considered one of the greatest teams of all time. The Grays are credited with a 163-23 record against all competition in ’31 and featured teenage phenom Josh Gibson at catcher. Gibson, then just 18, is credited with hitting 75 homers that season.
A defensive star, Stephens went on to team with future Hall of Famers Gibson, Judy Johnson, Cool Papa Bell and Satchel Paige on the 1932 Pittsburgh Crawfords.
BAMBINO COMES TO TOWN
May 27, 1928: The New York Yankees defeated the York White Roses 9-2 in an exhibition game at York Eagles Park.
Babe Ruth homered.
Most of the Yankees starters, including Lou Gehrig, played. Tony Lazzeri did not make the trip. He was replaced in the lineup by another future Hall of Famer — Leo “The Lip” Durocher.
FINALLY ON TOP
Sept. 25, 1925: York defeated Williamsport 5-3 in 11 innings in the fourth and decisive game of a best-of-five series to decide the New York-Pennsylvania League title. York first baseman Del Bissonette homered in the bottom of the 11th to clinch the title.
The championship ended two years of frustration. York finished second behind Williamsport during the two previous seasons.
Bissonette went on to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
York fans would have to wait until 1969 to celebrate another minor league championship.
Oct. 15, 1923: Red Lion native Hinkey Haines (pictured above with Ruth) scores the go-ahead run for the New York Yankees in Game 6 of the 1923 World Series. The victory clinches the championship for the Yankees. Pinch-running for Fred Hofman, Haines scored on a bases-loaded single by Bobby Meusel. Just 24, Haines never again played in major league baseball. He opted to play quarterback for the New York Giants football team, and helped the team win the 1927 NFL championship.
GETTING IN THE GAME
March 23, 1923: Eastern League is formed at Arlington Hotel in Binghamton, N.Y. York is one of the original six teams. The league was originally called the New York-Pennsylvania League.
FIRST OF ITS KIND
1903: Cuban X-Giants pitcher Danny McClellan threw a perfect game against the all-white York team. The game is recognized as the first perfect game in black baseball history. McClellan went on to pitch for the Philadelphia Giants and is considered one of the best pitchers during the century’s first decade.
19TH CENTURY HIGHLIGHTS
1889-90: The Cuban Giants, a black professional team, played in York as the York Monarchs.
1884: York formed its first minor league baseball clubs. The York White Roses went 10-10 before the Keystone Association disbanded following the exit of the Lancaster Red Stockings on June 7. The White Roses returned to action — this time in the Eastern League — July 18. They replaced the Harrisburg Senators. The White Roses went 10-21 in Eastern League play.
Sources: The Minor League Baseball Encyclopedia, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, The Gazette and Daily, York Daily Record. Info compiled by Jim Seip.