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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Old NYPL: Welland, St. Catharines and Hamilton

What appears to be left of the Community Park scoreboard in St. Catharines, Ont.. Compare with the card below. The fence also has been replaced. (G21D Photo)
The New York-Penn League is obviously named for two states, New York and Pennsylvania. But it has long since escaped those borders.

In 2014, the NYPL has teams in seven different states. In 2015, that number is to rise to eight as the Jamestown franchise is headed to a new ballpark in Morgantown, WV.

In 1990, the league's footprint was much smaller. It was also international. Only three states were home to league franchises. Nine of those teams hailed from New York, one from Massachusetts and only one from Pennsylvania.

But the league also had three teams in Canada: Welland, St. Catharines and Hamilton.

By the end of the 90s, all three franchises had moved on to other homes. Welland got its team in 1989 and that lasted until 1994. Hamilton got its team in 1988 and it played there until 1992. The St. Catharines Blue Jays were the longest lived, surviving until the end of the 1999 season. They started play in 1986.

All three stadiums still exist. They're also hosting games. I recently took a trip through Southern Ontario and stopped at all three stadiums. In two of them, games were going on as I stopped.

And I was actually pleased to see an August 2014 report from OurSports Central that Welland might be home to an independent team again soon. 

Of the three teams, only St. Catharines appeared in the main ProCards sets. I featured that team in September 2013. Other sets were issued for Hamilton and Welland, those features will come later, after the ProCards sets are exhausted.

The 1990 St. Catharines Blue Jays.

I didn't get to stop at the stadiums for very long, so I only got a few pictures of each. Here they are.

First Stop: Welland, Ont.'s Welland Stadium

Welland Stadium from afar. (G21D Photo)
Welland Stadium up close. (G21D Photo)
Welland Stadium from the outfield. Note a game is just wrapping up. (G21D Photo)
Second Stop: Community Park in St. Catharines, now also called George Taylor Field

Community Park, now called George Taylor Field, in August 2014. Note there's a game going on. (G21D Photo)
A wide shot of the former home of the St. Catharines Blue Jays in August 2014. (G21D Photo)
A closer shot of the stands at the former Community Park. (G21D Photo)
Third Stop: Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium in Hamilton, Ont.

Bernie Arbour Memorial Stadium as the sun sinks low in August 2014. (G21D Photo)
Still home to the Hamilton Cardinals, an amateur team in the Intercounty Baseball League. (G21D Photo)
The Arbour Stadium stands. (G21D Photo)

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