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Springfield College Records: Baseball Team (RG 153)

A photograph of the Springfield College baseball team huddle. All the players are gathered together with those in the center reaching their hands and gloves up to all touch above them. There is a player in the back taking off his jersey in the dugout.

Springfield College Baseball Team

Baseball at Springfield College has a very auspicious beginning. Baseball was brought to Springfield College, then the International YMCA Training School, by Amos Alonzo Stagg, famous collegiate football coach. Stagg was a great pitcher during his years at Yale, and had been offered a contract to play professional baseball before coming to Springfield College to be a graduate student. Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of Basketball, and Dr. Frank Seerley were also involved in this first team. When Stagg left for the University of Chicago and the start of his big-time collegiate football coaching career, baseball, other than spirited class games, ceased to be what we would consider to be a “varsity” sport at Springfield College. It was not until the spring of 1903, with August E. Metzdorf creating a team during his senior year, that the sport really started. The next year, in 1904, Springfield got its first non-student/player head coach in Charles V. Young and had 8 wins and 6 losses.

Other early head coaches included, Royce D. Purinton, 1905-1907 - 13-26-0; .333 winning percentage, Franklin J. Gray, 1908 (record not currently available), Austin G. Johnson, 1909-1914 - 21-50, .296 winning percentage. Prominent Springfield College educator, Dr. Elmer Berry, 71-56-0, .560 winning percentage, became head coach for the 1915-1916 season, a position he would hold on and off through the 1925-1926 season when he left Springfield College to head the Geneva School in Switzerland. One of his most famous teams was the 1922 team, remembered as “million dollar infield” with Captain Brute McCarraher (‘22) on second, Chick Maynard (‘23) on first, Bill Diemer (‘22) at short, and Dunc Bennett (‘22) on third. Regarded as one of the best infields in Springfield College baseball history, the team also received help from two Major League baseball players, Shanty Hogan, catcher for the Boston Braves, and Chief Bender, a famous MLB pitcher that year. Elmer Berry was honored for his work with the naming of the varsity baseball field as the Elmer Berry Field. Dedication of the field took place on May 24, 1939.

Harold S. DeGroat became the head coach in 1927 and would coach the team through the 1942 season, amassing a record of 139-118-0, .540 winning percentage. DeGroat was a member of the Springfield College Class of 1914 that included Edward J. Hickox, Erastus W. Pennock, Jack Rothacher, and Leslie Mann, some of the most famous coaches and greatest names in SC’s early sports history. DeGroat taught classes on coaching with Leslie Mann, who, though he did not play baseball for Springfield College, being a professional baseball player at the time, did play football for the school, including matching skills with Jim Thorpe in a famous game in 1912. DeGroat also coached Archie Allen in the 1930s, arguably one of the greatest coaches at Springfield College.

Before Archie Allen began coaching in 1948, two other famous Springfield College coaches took control of the Baseball team for very brief runs. In 1943 and 1946, Charles E. Silvia, Swimming and diving, was coach, collecting a 15-11record. In 1947, John Bunn, Basketball, had a 12-4 record.

Archie Allen, class of 1937, is perhaps Springfield College’s best known Baseball Team coach Archie was the head coach for 31 seasons (1948-1978), compiling a record of 545 wins, 257 losses, and 7 ties, a winning percentage of.637. He also coached three of the four times that the school’s baseball team reached the College World Series, coached the US Pan American team, was president of the College Baseball Coaches Association, was commissioner of the Cape Cod Baseball League, and published four books on baseball strategy. In 1951, the team competed in the College World Series for the 1st time in college history (the team has gone to the College World Series 4 times during its history). The team defeated Texas A & M in the opener but went on to lose to Oklahoma University (7-1) and University of Tennessee (2-0). The team continued to have success and in 1969 celebrated the winningest season in Springfield College history, with a record of 27 wins and 7 losses.

Throughout the years, many Springfield College players went on to play in Major League Baseball. Some of these players include, Ralph Mitterling (class of 1917; Philadelphia Athletics), Howard H. House (class of 1917; pitcher for the Chicago White Sox), Leslie Mann (class of 1914; Boston Braves, New York Giants, & others), Earl “Doc” Painter (class of 1915; trainer for the New York Yankees for many years), Harry Kingmann (class of 1916; New York Yankees), John F. Miller (class of 1916; St. Louis Browns), Al Banister (class of 1919; general manager St. Louis Cardinals), Edwin “Cy” Twombly (class of 1921; pitcher for the Chicago White Sox), Warren Huston (class of 1937; shortstop for the Philadelphia Athletics & Boston Braves), Archie Moore (class of 1964; outfielder for the New York Yankees), and Wayne Granger (class of 1967; pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, & Minnesota Twins), among other alum.

Charles N. (Chuck) Roys replaced Archie Allen for the 1979 season. He was the head coach for 18 seasons, 1979-1996, and finished his career with an overall record of 323 wins, 295 losses, and 5 ties, a winning percentage of .522. Starting in 1997, the team was coached by Mark Simeone, and, as of 2014, he had amassed a record of 310-319.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Springfield College Baseball Team Records collection contains materials and information on the Springfield College Baseball teams (varsity, junior varsity and freshman) from their first season in 1891 through the present day. The bulk of the collection begins in the mid-1950s and continues through 2010. Among these materials are scorecards, scorebooks, correspondence, memos, manuscripts, news releases, news clippings, schedules, printed publications, photographs, slides, trophies, 16mm films, VHS tapes, uniforms, and programs and brochures among other materials.

There are a number of manuscripts and papers with historical information and statistics on the teams and players at Springfield College. Of particular importance are “The Story of Baseball at Springfield College, 1891-1972” and “History of Baseball at Springfield College, by E. Paul Adams (June 26, 1972). There is a book on general baseball and coaching theory called “The Baseball Coach’s Notebook” compiled and written by Springfield College coach H.S. DeGroat with additional articles written by J.E. Gargan.

The collection contains printed materials such as brochures, programs, schedules and rosters from games and tournaments participated in by the Springfield College Baseball Teams from 1914 through the modern era. Most of the materials come from after 1960. There are some created by Collegiate sports divisions or as part of tournaments and championships within the collection. Of particular interest are the brochures for the1970 National College Division Baseball Championship and the 1994 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship.

There is also a lot of statistical information, including scorebooks and copies of scorebooks that contain the records of the individual games played by the Springfield College varsity, junior varsity, sub-varsity, and freshman teams from the 1946-1947 season into the early 2000’s. The Scorebooks contain information on hits, outs, steals, and other happenings that make up a baseball game. Cumulative statistics, including yearly team and individual player statistics exist for almost every year from the mid-1950s through 2005.

In addition to statistical information, there are many photographic prints, slides, negatives, and contact sheets within the collection. Photographs include team, individual players, and action (both staged and not-staged) scenes taken during games and practices from 1891 through the modern era. The 1891 team image includes Dr. James Naismith and Amos Alonzo Stagg. There are also some team and action photographs, most taken at Fenway Park, of the New England College All-Star games from around 1980 through 2000.