Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Old NYPL: One Last Celebration for Jamestown

Russell E. Diethrick, Jr. Park on its final day in the NYPL. The sign reads: Baseball, an enduring part of Jamestown's heritage. The line of people is to get into the final day of pro baseball in Jamestown. (G21D Photo)
Jamestown Jammer Jordan Luplow took his swing and one more game at Russell E. Diethrick, Jr. Park was in the books.

Luplow's shot ended up closing the book on 67 seasons of Jamestown New York-Penn League victories and my wife and I got to see it.

Jamestown's Sept. 1 games were not only the last of the season for the Jammers. They were the last of Jamestown's long association with the NYPL.

A week earlier it was confirmed that the Jamestown franchise was moving to Morgantown, WV, and another original NYPL city was losing its team. Only Batavia will remain from the original six league cities from 1939.

My wife and I have traveled to minor league games all over the Northeast and some in the Midwest and elsewhere. We've seen games because we were in the area or the games themselves are the reasons for trips. Sometimes this blog and interviews for it become the reason.
Diethrick Park from the first base stands. (G21D Photo)
We've been to Auburn, Batavia and Buffalo. We've also been to Syracuse, Binghamton and Oneonta, along with parks in many other cities. But, in the decade or so we've been going to games, we've never had an excuse to go to Jamestown.

Until they were almost gone.

I had heard Jamestown might be leaving. Morgantown was building a new stadium and the NYPL committed to putting a franchise there. But it wasn't certain Jamestown would go. Batavia was also mentioned. Auburn's attendance was low.

Since we've been to both Batavia and Auburn, I looked for a reason for us to get to Jamestown. The problem was, there was no one to interview for the blog. Jamestown also wasn't part of my main set. The team played 1990 as the Jamestown Expos. I'll eventually get to them, but not for some time.

It was also a good 330 miles away, just about the furthest we could go and still be in New York State.

So, when the announcement came, I looked at the schedule. It came with just two home games left: Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. Both were also listed as night games. We couldn't go Aug. 31, because we had a family gathering. That was just as well anyway, because that game got rained out.
Mahoning Valley Scrapper Leo Castillo gets ready to hit in front of a nice final day crowd. (G21D Photo)
But we could go Sept. 1, if the game was earlier. I checked again and the start time was, in fact, moved. It was changed to 1 p.m. That meant it was possible. It would mean a long day in the car - and a comparable amount of convincing for my wife, but we could go.

So we went. We got up early and got home late. In between, we got to see the second-to-last professional baseball game in Jamestown. We also got to see the final win. We couldn't stay for the second game of the double header, which they lost 12-3.

What we also got to see was Russell E. Diethrick, Jr. Park, a wonderful old-style ballpark. It's the kind rarely seen in the minors these days. It's a park that countless players have played in over the years, both for the home team and visitors.

Tyrone Horne played for Jamestown in 1990. Gene Glynn played there in 1979. Dwight Lowry managed there in 1997. Lowry tragically passed away that summer. Al Collins played there in 1984 and 1985. Dan Archibald played there in 1989 and had an ERA of 3.14.

There were also championships. The Jamestown Expos won the league title in both 1989 and 1991. Helping them win the 1989 title were Jim Eddy and Buen Rodriguez. Rodriguez hit a game-winning triple to win Game 1 of the championship series against Pittsfield. Eddy closed it down with a series-deciding game-winning shutout.

With that history, we got to a game. These are my pictures from the day. Below is my video of Luplow's Game 1-ending shot - and one last celebration for Jamestown.



Diethrick Park Photos:
Double Header Today. (G21D Photo)

Gate #2: Bleacher Tickets Only. (G21D Photo)
The sign reads: Welcome to Diethrick Park. (G21D Photo)
Toward the playing field. (G21D Photo)
From behind home plate. (G21D Photo)
Jammer hurler Montana DuRapau delivers to the plate. (G21D Photo)
Mahoning Valley manager Ted Kubiak outside the visitors dugout. Kubiak was interviewed here in August. (G21D Photo)
The grandstands. (G21D Photo)
Ted Kubiak coaches third base. In the background are the Jamestown bullpen and a tractor. (G21D Photo)
Toward left field. (G21D Photo)
Russell Diethrick, Jr. Park (G21D Photo)
The Jamestown dugout (G21D Photo)
The Jamestown scoreboard (G21D Photo)
The visitors dugout between games (G21D Photo)
One last look (G21D Photo)
Some of the many who played or managed for Jamestown:
 - Dan Archibald, Stat Line, 12/13/13
 - Al Collins, No-Hitter, 4/21/14
 - Wilfredo Cordero, Athletic Ability, 9/29/12
 - Bill Cramer, Home Run, 11/29/13
 - Jim Eddy, Some Competition, 12/15/13
 - Scott Davison, Watch Him, 12/6/13
 - Gene Glynn, Higher Level, 6/20/14
 - Tyrone Horne, Interview, 2/3/14
 - Mel Houston, Height Comparison, 5/17/10
 - Roger LaFrancois, Interview, 7/5/10
 - Dwight Lowry, Showed Something, 5/19/12
 - Jesus Paredes, Stolen Bases and Errors, 10/30/10
 - Troy Ricker, Big Hits, 12/14/13
 - Tim Torricelli, Good Rapport, 12/12/10

1 comment:

  1. Even though I can't blame anyone involved for the way this turned out, I always feel sad when a minor league team leaves a city. I hope that Jamestown is able to fill Diethrick Park with a collegiate summer league

    ReplyDelete

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