Guerrieri: The fate of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers

From SABR member Vince Guerrieri at Belt Magazine on November 25, 2019:

In the early twentieth century, when it came to professional team sports, baseball was king. It was also exclusive. There were sixteen Major League teams concentrated in just eleven cities (New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Boston and Philadelphia each had two). As a result, minor leagues thrived—first as independent teams, then by operating as affiliates of major league teams. Minor league teams were plentiful and conferred a sense of status on a community. They existed not only in future major league cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Baltimore and Minneapolis, but also in smaller towns like Wichita, Kansas, Peoria, Illinois, and Youngstown, Ohio.

For most of the first half of the twentieth century, Youngstown was a boom town, home to its share of professional sports teams. It was represented in football’s Ohio League, in the 1910s, by the Youngstown Patricians, a team sponsored by a group from St. Patrick Church on the city’s south side. World War I and the ensuing flu pandemic put the team on hiatus, and plans to join the nascent NFL in 1922 fell apart. From 1945 to 1947, the city was home to the Youngstown Bears of the National Basketball League, which merged with a rival league in 1949 to form the NBA.

But the city’s lengthiest relationship with pro sports came as a home for minor league baseball, primarily with the Mid-Atlantic League.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: November 27, 2019. Last Updated: November 27, 2019.