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Arkansas Baseball Timeline

Page 1 of the Arkansas Baseball Timeline.

1836:
Arkansas becomes the 25th state in the Union on June 15th.

The Presbytery of Arkansas includes “ball playing” as one of their “worldly amusements”.

1841:
A German scholar traveling past an Arkansas forest school between Danville and Perryville writes: “It was just noon as we passed; at this hour master and scholars make it a rule to play at ball so that they may return with greater zeal to their spelling.”

1858:
A resolution is printed in the May 2nd edition of the Arkansas Gazette encouraging both men and women to see the games of the ‘Little Rock Ball Club’.

1863:
James B. Lockney of Wisconsin 28th Regiment recorded in his Civil War journal on September, 30th of a baseball-like game called ‘wicket’ while in camp near Little Rock, AR.

1864:
Two soldiers, Charles Musser and Henry A. Strong, both record accounts of “ball playing” in their journals at their respected Civil War camps in Little Rock and Fort Smith.

1867:
The March 19th edition of the Arkansas Gazette Weekly gives the first record of a baseball game in Arkansas.

The first known baseball game in Arkansas is played on May 11th. The Pulaski Base Ball Club defeats the Galaxy Base Ball Club by a score of 67-15 at the Arsenal Grounds in Little Rock, AR. Despite some sources, Albert Pike did not play in this game.

1868:
The first game ever played by two base ball clubs from different sections of Arkansas was played on Independence Day, July 4th. The Rock City Base Ball Club took on the Pine Bluff Base Ball Club and defeated them by a close score of 43-36.

The first known state baseball championship in Arkansas takes place at the Arkansas State Fair during November.

1873:

A young boy named Phil Hanly is struck by a baseball bat on August 2nd and died on August 7th, marking the first known baseball-related death in Arkansas.

1875:

A complex baseball tournament known as the “Foul Flag Championship” is created to decided which of Little Rock’s many amateur teams was the best. The tournament was won by the members of the Accidental Base Ball Club, who were awarded with the championship flags. The runner-up ‘Independents’ were voted the best team and presented with a special bat made of 78 different pieces of wood valued over $100 dollars, equal to about $2000 today.

Arkansas is introduced to professional baseball when the St. Louis Red Stockings, formerly of the National Association, play Little Rock’s champion team, the Accidentals. Games were played on November 3rd and 5th at the state fairgrounds with St. Louis winning both by scores of 10-7 and 24-4.

1884:
Walt Goldsby, a resident of north Louisiana and lower Arkansas, debuts with the St. Louis Browns on May 29th. Goldsby is the first known professional baseball with Arkansas ties.

Chick Carroll debuts with the Washington Nationals of the Union Association. Carroll's birthplace is traditionally listed as Arkansas, possibly making him the first from the state to appear in a major league game. However, Carroll's birthplace is not confirmed.

A baseball club known as the “Arkansas Travelers” first appears in 1884 and continues through 1885. The team was sponsored by the Arkansas Traveler paper written by famous author Opie Read, but had no historical connection to later minor league teams in Little Rock with similar names.

1885:

The Arkansas Travelers baseball club builds what later became known as ‘Association Park’, located at the corner of 11th and High in Little Rock.

1886:
The Chicago White Sox of the National League become the first team to hold spring training in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Major League teams continue to utilized Hot Springs as a spring training spot for the next 50 years.

The Hot Springs Baseball Grounds becomes the first known enclosed baseball grounds Arkansas when a fence built in June.

During August, a professional team is organized in Little Rock, AR and becomes the first in Arkansas history. The team features at least 5 players who had played or went on to play with a major league club, including Tommy Corcoran, a well-known shortstop during his era. The teamed played games at Association Park, which became Little Rock’s first enclosed baseball grounds after a fence was built around the perimeter.

1887:
The first professional league in Arkansas is formed and is known as the “Southwestern League". The league features teams from Fort Smith, Pine Bluff, Hot Springs, and Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as Joplin, Webb City and Springfield, Missouri.

1890:
Emmett Rogers debuts with the Toledo Maumees and Bob Allen debuts with the Philadelphia Phillies on the same day, April 19th. Rogers is a native of Hot Springs, AR and in turn becomes the first confirmed Arkansas-born player in the major leagues. Allen later lives most of his life in Little Rock, AR where he was president of the Little Rock Travelers.

1894:

An Arkansas State League is formed, comprised of teams from Little Rock, Hot Springs, Fort Smith, Camden, Morrilton, and Pine Bluff.

Electric lights are set up at Little Rock’s West End Park and the first night game in Arkansas history is played in July, Friday the 13th. The Rose City Base Ball team played the ‘Uncle Joes’ and one by a score of 6-4. The next night game in Arkansas wouldn’t be for another 36 years.

1895:
Arkansas’ first minor league baseball team, the Little Rock Travelers, joins the Southern League. The team dropped out of the loop in July with a poor record of 25-47.

Because of an outbreak of small pox, the St. Louis Browns of the Nationals League decide to hold spring training at West End Park in Little Rock, AR instead of Hot Springs. Several other teams major league teams train in Little Rock until 1910.

1897:

A second Arkansas State League is formed.

1898
Hot Springs and Little Rock place teams in the Southwestern Association.

The Cleveland Spiders train in Hot Springs, AR.

The Pittsburgh Pirates train in Little Rock, AR.

1899:

The Cleveland Spiders train in Hot Springs, AR.

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Page 2 of the Arkansas Baseball Timeline.

1901:
John McGraw, manager of the New York Giants, tries to sign Charlie Grant while his team is training in Hot Springs, AR. Because of Grant’s African-American heritage, McGraw attempts to pass Grant off as a Native American named Tokohama. However, Grant’s true identity is revealed before the season starts and is never allowed to play in the majors.

The Little Rock Travelers rejoin the Southern League.

1902:
Harry Kane becomes the first Arkansas-born player in the American League, as well as the first Arkansas-born to pitch in the major leagues.

1905:
Harry Kane becomes the first Arkansas-born player in the National League.

1908:
Future Hall of Famer Tris Speaker is traded to the Little Rock Travelers from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for the use of West End Park in Little Rock as a spring training site. Speaker hit .350 with the Travelers before the Red Sox resigned him in mid-season.

1914:
Bill Bailey and Bert Maxwell together become the first and only Arkansas-born players to play in the Federal League.

1920:
Shoeless Joe Jackson, banned from baseball for his participation in the 1918 Black Sox Scandal, plays for a game for the small town baseball team of Arkansas City, AR.

1921:
Waldo, AR native and future Hall of Famer Travis Jackson first plays with the Little Rock Travelers.

1923:
Future Hall of Famer Chick Hafey plays with the Fort Smith Twins.

1925:
Future Hall of Famer Bill Dickey first plays for the Little Rock Travelers.

1929:
The Claybrook Tigers, an all African-American barnstorming team, is formed by John C. Claybrook in the small eastern town of Claybrook, AR. The Tigers go on to play in the Negro National League during the 1930s and win the 1935-1936 championships.

1930: Little Rock Travelers play the first night baseball game in Arkansas since 1894 on July 21st at West End Park, then known as Kavanaugh Field, against the Birmingham Barons.

1932:
The Little Rock Greys become Arkansas’ only ‘major league’ team ever. The Greys enter the Negro National League, which operated as a ‘major league’ for only one season.

1933:
Mt. Ida, AR native Lon Warneke becomes to first Arkansan to play in an All-star game, pitching for the National League.

Arky Vaughan, born in Clifty, AR, hits for the cycle on June 24th. He becomes the first Arkansas-born to accomplish the feat.

Ray Doan opens his All-Star Baseball School in Hot Springs, AR.

1934:
Rookie Paul Dean, of Lucas, AR, pitches a no-hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals on September 21st.

Lucas, AR native Dizzy Dean wins the National League’s Most Valuable Playing award after going 30-7 with a 2.66 ERA. The only other MVP won by an Arkansan isn’t for another 30 years.

The “Arkansas World Series” between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detriot Tigers takes place during October. Dizzy Dean, Paul Dean and Schoolboy Rowe, each Arkansans, start 6 of the 7 series games to account for more than half of the total innings pitched during the series. Combined, the three won 5 games, threw 6 complete games, and posted a 1.92 ERA.

1935:
George Barr open the nation's first umpire training school in Hot Springs, AR.

1939:
Arky Vaughan, born in Clifty, AR, hits for the cycle for the second time in his career on July 19th.

1941:
Mt. Ida, AR native Lon Warneke pitches a no-hitter for the Chicago Cubs against the Cincinati Reds on August 30th. He becomes the first Arkansan to do so.

1942:
Future Hall of Famer Freddie Lindstrom manages the Fort Smith Giants.

1946:
The Little Rock Travelers’ become the Arkansas’ first AA team when the Southern Association is promoted up from class A.

1947:
Havana, AR native Johnny Sain pitches to Jackie Robinson in the 1st inning of an April 15th game at Ebbets Field and becomes the first pitcher in the modern era of the major leagues to pitch to an African American.

1948:
The first The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year award is given to Johnny Sain. Born in Havana, AR, Sain went 24-15 with a 2.60 ERA with the Boston Braves.

1949:
Ellis Kinder, an Atkins, AR native, wins the The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Award after going 23-6 with the Boston Red Sox.

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Page 3 of the Arkansas Baseball Timeline.

1950: George Kell, a native of Swifton, AR, completes a hit for the cycle on June 2nd..

1951:
Preacher Roe goes 22-3 with a 3.04 ERA in 34 games with Brooklyn Dodgers. Roe, a native of the Viola area of northern Arkansas, wins the The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year.

Controversy is sparked in Hot Springs, AR, when the Hot Springs Bathers of the class C Cotton States League try to include African-American brothers Jim and Leander Tugerson on their roster. Hot Springs was threatened to be evicted from the league, and instead sent the Tugersons to play elsewhere.

Little Rock, AR native Bill Valentine becomes the youngest professional umpire ever at 18-year old.

1953:
Dizzy Dean becomes the first Arkansas-born player is elected into the Hall of Fame. Dean, born in Lucas, AR, finished his career with 150 wins a 3.02 ERA.

Future Hall of Famer Jim Bunning first plays for the Little Rock Travelers.

1954:
Wally Moon, a native of Bay, AR, becomes the first Arkansan to hit a homerun in his first major league at-bat. Moon also wins the first and only Rookie of the Year award given to an Arkansan, hitting .304 with 12 homeruns.

1956:
Little Rock, AR native Solly Drake becomes the first African-American from Arkansas to make the major leagues on April 17th.

1957: The Little Rock Travelers begin using the tittle of ‘Arkansas Travelers’ to become the first known professional sports franchise to use a state instead of a city in their name.

1960:
Little Rock, AR native Brooks Robinson hits for the cycle on July 15th. Robinson is also named to the first of his 18 All-Star games, and is awarded the first of his 16 Gold Gloves.

Sammy Drake makes his major league debut on April 17th. He and his brother, both from Little Rock, AR, are together the first African-American brothers in the majors.

1963:
Future Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins first plays for the Arkansas Travelers.

The Arkansas Travelers join the International League to become the first AAA team in Arkansas history. The Travelers continue in AAA through 1965, but have never returned.

1964:
Jim King, born in Elkins, AR, hits for the cycle on May 26th. King also accomplishes another feat on June 8th, hitting three homeruns in a single game.

Brooks Robinson becomes the second Arkansan to win a MVP Award. Robinson hits .317 with 28 homeruns and a league-leading 118 RBIs as a member of the Baltimore Orioles, earning the American League honor.

1965:
The first MLB First Year Player Draft take place and Batesville, AR native Rick Monday becomes the very first player ever selected.

1966:
Brooks Robinson is named to one of his 18 mid summer classics and wins the All-Star game MVP, the only award of its kind ever given to an Arkansan.

1967:
Tommy McCraw, born in Malvern, AR, hits three homeruns during a May 24th game.

Lou Brock, born in El Dorado, AR, wins the World Series MVP Award.

1970:
Baltimore Oriole and Little Rock, AR native Brooks Robinson hits .429 with 2 homeruns in the World Series, earning the World Series MVP Award.

1972:
Batesville, AR native Rick Monday hits three homeruns during a May 16th game.

1975:
Glenn Abbott, a native of North Little Rock, AR, pitches in one of the oddest no-hitters ever on September 28th. Abbott was one of 4 Oakland Athletics pitchers to combine on the feat, throwing a hitless 6th inning.

Lou Brock, born in El Dorado, AR, hits for the cycle on May 27th.

1979:
Lou Brock, born in El Dorado, AR, wins the The Sporting News Comeback Player Award for the National League.

1982:
Waldo, AR native Travis Jackson is voted the second Arkansan into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Jackson hit .291 in 15 seasons with the new York Giants.

1983:
George Kell and Brooks Robinson become the 3rd and 4th Arkansans elected into the Hall of Fame, respectively. Kell was born in Swifton, AR and played with 5 teams durings 15 major league seasons, while Robinson, a native of Little Rock, played all 23 of his with the Baltimore Orioles.

1985:
Lou Brock, born in El Dorado, AR, and Arky Vaughan, born in Clifty, AR, are both elected into the Hall of Fame. They together are the 5th and 6th Arkansas-born players given the honor.

1989:
North Little Rock, AR native Kevin McReynolds hits for the cycle on August 1st.

1991:
In a rehab start, Fernando Velenzuela pitches a game for the Midland Angels against the Arkansas Travelers at Ray Winder Field. 12,246 people show up to watch the game, the single most ever for a baseball game in Arkansas.

2001:
A.J. Burnett, a native of North Little Rock, AR, throws a no-hitter for the Florida Marlins. Burnett keeps the San Diego Padres hitless through 9 innings, but issues 9 bases on balls.

2002:
A.J. Burnett becomes the first and only Arkansas-born player to strikeout 4 batters in one inning, accomplishing the rare feat on July 5th.

Renovations at the University of Arkansas’ Baum Stadium increase the capacity to 10,737, to largest ballpark in Arkansas history.

2007:
Tulsa Drillers 1st base coach Mike Coolbaugh is killed after being struck by a line drive at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock, AR. The game is suspended with the Arkansas Traveler’s leading 7-3, but ruled a complete game the next day. Coolbaugh’s death prompts Major League Baseball to make it a mandatory rule for all base coaches to wear helmets.

2008:
The Wichita Wranglers of the Texas League move to Springdale, AR and become the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Arkansas’ second minor league team to reach the level of AA.

Benton, AR native Cliff Lee becomes the fist and only Arkansan to win the Cy Young Award and the second to win the MLB Comeback Award after going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA. He also wins the The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year.

2009:
Cliff Lee wins the first game ever at the new Yankee Stadium in New York, New York on April 16th. Lee, a native Arkansan, also wins the first World Series game at Yankee Stadium on October 28th.

The Arkansas Razorbacks and the Arizona Sun Devils, both NCAA D1 teams, play at Baum Stadium on April 8th. A crowd of 11,014 people show up for the game at Baum Stadium, the most ever for an amateur baseball game in Arkansas. The Razorbacks win 8-7.

Torii Hunter, a native of Pine Bluff, AR, hits three homeruns during a June 13th game.

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