It’s time for baseball! Do you know the Great Northern once had its own baseball team? Do you know that GNP used to provide uniforms for the Stearns baseball team? Do you know there was once a ballfield with a grandstand and a pavilion where the teams played? Do you know there was a town team called the Millinocket Tigers? Do you know there was a Millinocket Baseball Club that attracted players from the surrounding area? Do you know that one of those club players went to bat against pitcher Babe Ruth?
According to photos, news articles and magazine articles and the Laverty book, these are all true pieces of information! The GNP team included employees and also some college players and others who came to town for the baseball season. These extras were placed on the mill’s payroll temporarily. During the mid-nineteen twenties, there was lively play with teams from Houlton to Bar Harbor. Several players went on to have roles with big league teams of the time.
The museum has a photo of the SHS 1926 baseball team showing some uniform shirts with a GNP logo and others with an M. Writing on the back states that the company provided some of the uniforms. GNP also provided uniforms for the Schenck baseball team.
The ballfield was built on the flat area between Penobscot Avenue and Water Street (Water St. was not there until later and Aroostook Avenue School and the National Guard Armory were later located on that site). The ballfield came about due to the popularity of a town team known as the Millinocket Tigers. The 1909 team featured the names Pond, Good, More, Willey, Donley, Breen, Lemeur, Monahan, Ordway, and Jones. Dr. Cody was a sponsor.
A 1913 postmarked photo postcard has a picture of the 1909 Millinocket Baseball Club with the same players as the Tigers, so it seems they were known by both names. A player, Billy Jones, left Millinocket to join minor league teams. In 1914, he played briefly with the Boston Braves and during a game in Baltimore versus the Orioles, he went up to bat five times against an unknown pitcher at that time named Babe Ruth. That game Jones went five-for-five and stole five bases. However, that game wasn’t good enough to allow him to continue as a professional baseball player. After a time he returned to Millinocket. He is buried in the Millinocket Cemetery.
Some of the early baseball photos in the museum collection are now on display in our sports section. Stop in and visit!
***Available at the museum store………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. Booklet -1903 Report on Millinocket & mill – interesting statistics – $7.00 at museum;
3. Millinocket by David Duplisea – $20.00 ($5.00 SH);
4. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH);
5. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
6. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
7. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.