The class D Ohio-Indiana League was formed in 1948 with eight teams, with seven of the eight cities coming from the the Ohio State League. Six teams made their home in Ohio and the remaining two where from Indiana.
The league played a 140 game schedule with a mid-year All-star game played at the half way point of the season. The league leader at that point would play a team of league all-stars at the leaders home park.
At the season's end a four-team play-off was in effect with the league champs playing the fourth place finisher and the number two team would play the third-place team. The first round of the playoffs was a best of five match and the finals was a four of seven format.
The league office was in Columbus, Ohio and Frank M. Colley was the Ohio-Indiana League boss for the entire four seasons the league was in existence. The league remained strong during its first three years but fell to a five-team affair in 1951 and did not go on after that year.
The attendance figures show one of the reasons for the league's failure. In 1948, 514,400 paid their way through the gates, 1949 saw a drop to 447,692, 1950 went to a total of 286,000 and the end came in 1951 when the split-season five-team first half and a four-team second half, drew only a total of 157,976. These figures include the All-star and playoff game totals.
There was also an Ohio-Indiana League in 1907.
- Bluffton, IN (1907)
- Decatur, IN (1907)
- Kokomo-Sharpesville, IN (1907)
- Lima, OH: Lima Terriers 1948 (moved from Ohio State League); Lima Chiefs 1949; Lima Phillies 1950-1951
- Marion, OH: Marion Cubs 1948 (moved from Ohio State League); Marion Red Sox 1949-1951
- Muncie, IN: Muncie Reds 1948-1950 (moved from Ohio State League)
- Newark, OH: Newark Yankees 1948-1951 (moved from Ohio State League)
- Portland, IN (1907)
- Portsmouth, OH: Portsmouth A's 1948-1950
- Richmond, IN (1907)
- Richmond, IN: Richmond Roses 1948, moved from Ohio State League; Richmond Tigers 1949-1951
- Springfield, OH: Springfield Giants 1948-1951 (moved from Ohio State League)
- Van Wert, OH (1907)
- Zanesville, OH: Zanesville Dodgers 1948 (moved from Ohio State League); Zanesville Indians 1949-1950
(no known team names for the 1907 franchises)
The Zanesville Dodgers waged a tough year long tussle with the Portsmouth Athletics and the Muncie Reds for the first ever "O-I" League pennant, winning out in the last few days of the season by just a half game margin over the Portsmouth team and the Muncie team finished third just two games back.
The Zanesville Dodgers squad defeated the Springfield Giants four games to none and the Muncie Reds did the same to the Portsmouth A`s team in the first round of the league playoffs. In the final round of the league championship the Zanesville Dodgers crew disposed of the Muncie Reds group four games to two, winning the first Ohio-Indiana League playoff title ever. A total of 20,898 fans turned out for the playoffs, an average of almost 1500 per game.
The leagues first All-Star game was played at the Muncie Reds home McCulloch Park diamond, drawing a nice crowd of some 2,288 fans and dignitaries. But the Reds were not up to the All-Stars, losing by a count of 11 to 6. The Muncie Reds team hosted the game by virtue of being in front of the league with a 49 and 32 record at the All-Star break.
|Zanesville Dodgers||82||57||.590||0||.278||.943||64,594||Ray Hathaway|
|Portsmouth A's||82||58||.586||.5||.262||.942||73,533||George Staller|
|Muncie Reds||80||59||.576||2||.272||.944||50,925||Mike Blazo|
|Springfield Giants||66||74||.471||16.5||.256||.938||67,558||Bob Roth / Rufus Jackson|
|Newark Yankees||65||74||.468||17||.261||.939||70,604||Bob Dill / Sol Mishkin|
|Richmond Roses||64||75||.460||18||.255||.936||58,039||Ollie Byers|
|Marion Cubs||62||78||.443||20.5||.268||..933||60,009||Lou Bekeza / Francis Kristie|
|Lima Terriers||57||83||.407||25.5||.261||.939||45,952||Charlie Engle|
Individual Pitching & Hitting Leaders
|Ray Hathaway||Zanesville||23||7||2.82||Bob Nieman||Muncie||507||163||.367|
|Lawrence Miller||Muncie||16||7||3.17||George Staller||Portsmouth||489||163||.333|
|Irv Renollet||Zanesville||17||11||3.36||Joe Frisina||Lima||527||175||.332|
The Portsmouth Athletics were just as tough this year as they werein 1948, maybe just a little tougher, as they hung on to a slim lead most of the season to win the first spot in the second year of the "O-I" leagues history. They will play the fourth place finishers Marion Red Sox in the first round of the playoffs.The second place Springfield Giants will take on the Muncie Reds who finised third, for the second year in a row.
In A big surprize the fourth place Marion Red Sox upset the A`s squad, 3 games to 1., In the first round of the playoff clash.
16,202 loyal fans watched the championship series, just sligtly under 1100 per playoff game.
There was no All-Star game played in the 1949 season, due mainly to the Polio ban that was placed in some places in the Ohio- Indiana area, at the time the game was usually scheduled. The league suffered a drop in attendance of some 67,000 fans as the Polio ban kept a lot of people out of public places.
Ralph Lucas of the Springfield Giants won the league batting crown getting 155 hits in 447 at bats for a .347 average. He was the only player in the league to drive in more than a hundred runs, getting 103 to lead the league in that category also. His team mate, Ben Haddix, was his closest competitor getting 148 hits in 433 at-bats for a .342 Average.
The Portsmouth A`s gold dust twins, Ewen Bryden, a lefty with a 16 and 8 record and a 1.82 ERA, was the leagues top pitcher, but Allen Romberger, the right handed half of this duo, had 19 wins with only 6 losses and a 2.03 ERA. This was a tough couple to face. Bryden had 179 K`s in 188 innings pitched and Romberger chimed in with 186 fans in 217 innings. Max Sumwalt of the Muncie Reds had a 12 win 3 loss record for an .800 percent, best in the league, his ERA was 2.78. Sumwalt also had 90 strikeouts in 123 innings pitched.
|Portsmouth A's||81||58||.583||0||.253||.954||61,106||Homer Lee Cox|
|Springfield Giants||77||63||.550||4.5||.273||.942||67,568||Tony Ravish|
|Muncie Reds||75||63||.543||5.5||.272||.942||49,004||Mike Blazo|
|Marion Red Sox||73||64||.533||7||.268||.939||57,113||Wally Millies|
|Zanesville Indians||69||67||.507||10.5||.253||.933||58,034||Pat McLaughlin|
|Newark Yankees||65||72||.474||15||.253||.945||62,321||Jim McLeod|
|Richmond Tigers||65||73||.471||15.5||.256||.934||44,346||Cyril Pfeifer / Ken Holtcamp|
|Lima Chiefs||46||91||.336||34||.260||.925||31,298||Grover Hartley / George Kinnamon|
Individual Pitching & Hitting Leaders
|Ewen Bryden||Portsmouth||16||8||1.82||Ralph Lucas||Springfield||447||155||.347|
|Allen Romberger||Portsmouth||19||6||2.03||Ben Haddix||Springfield||433||148||.342|
|Max Sumwalt||Muncie||12||3||2.78||George Contratto||Marion||429||145||.338|
The Marion Red Sox who had blown everyone out of the way in the 1949 playoffs, after having finished fourth in the 49 league chase, swept through the 1950 race beating out the Newark Yankees by one game to win the 1950 pennant. They won 91 games which was 18 more than they had marked up in the prior season and it was just to much for the rest of the league.
The Richmond Tigers also moved up, finishing third, which was a great improvement over their seventh place finish in 1949.
The Springfield Giants and the Muncie Reds waged a terrific battle for the fourth place spot with the Springfield Giants team winning out with a 72-64 record over the Muncie Reds 73-65 count. This gave them a .5294 winning pct. to their opponents .5289 tally. They both finished 17 games back but but Frank M. Colley the league boss ruled that in this type of finish that the percentage count is the deciding factor. The Muncie Reds team appealed, but the rule read that way. They lost their shot at the playoffs by five- thousandths of one percentage point.
It was all to no avail on any count as the Marion Red Sox team beat the Springfield Giants in the first round, 3 games to 1, while the Newark Yankees squad beat the Richmond Tigers 3 games to 2. In the playoff finals the Marion Red Sox beat the Newark Yankees 4 games to 0. The playoff count was only 8,485 paid, averaging just a shade over 650 fans a game.
The "O-I" Leagues paid admissions for the 1950 season, 273,603 was considerably lower than the 1949 count of 430,790, a drop of some 157,187 at the box office. This was the beginning of the era that would make it very tough for leagues such as the Ohio-Indiana to survive. Television had come on the scene, Major League franchises where beginning to move and expand and the good old American auto had expanded peoples ability to get places rather than the park down the road.
|Marion Red Sox||91||49||.650||0||.278||.941||41,002||George Susce / Elmer Yoter|
|Newark Yankees||89||49||.645||1||.279||.956||41,126||Billy Holm|
|Richmond Tigers||80||58||.580||10||.271||.943||45,302||Ralph DiLullo / Ken Holtcamp / DiLullo|
|Springfield Giants||72||64||.5294||17||.271||.944||37,619||Andy Gilbert|
|Muncie Reds||73||65||.5289||17||.264||.937||39,354||Mike Blazo|
|Lima Phillies||52||85||.380||37.5||.252||.935||24,627||Frank McCormick|
|Portsmouth A's||46||89||.341||42.5||.240||.942||21,685||Walt VanGrofski|
|Zanesville Indians||46||90||.338||43||.227||.939||22,888||J. Knowles Piercey|
Individual Pitching & Hitting Leaders
|Billy Hoeft||Richmond||10||1||1.71||Andy Gilbert||Springfield||294||114||.388|
|Dan Searle||Richmond||13||3||2.12||Jim Engleman||Newark||558||208||.373|
|George Gheta||Newark||14||3||2.42||Hal W. Smith||Newark||480||174||.363|
This was to be a totally different year for the Ohio-Indiana League. Changes in the minors caused the eight team league to drop to a five team operation and a world of change had invaded the game. The Muncie, Portsmouth and Zanesville teams did not join the "O-I" league this season. The five remaining teams decided on a split season type of play with the first half to end on June 28.
Shortly after that the Newark Yankees withdrew from the league on July 17. At that time the second half of the season was started over with the four remaing teams competing. The Marion Red Sox won that half of the year by a 21 1/2 game margin over the Springfield Giants.
A playoff championship was held and the Marion Red Sox won the playoffs by whipping the Springfield Giants four games to none. These playoff games only drew a total of 1,166 paying customers for the entire four games and the "O-I" League was finished. There was no concentrated effort for the league to form in 1952.
|Marion Red Sox||91||37||.711||0||.289||.943||24,710||Elmer Yoter|
|Newark Yankees||49||31||.613||NA||.256||.949||33,960||Bunny Mick|
|Springfield Giants||61||67||.477||30||.252||.935||45,862||Andy Gilbert|
|Richmond Tigers||53||74||.417||37.5||.253||.929||20,004||Ralph DiLullo|
|Lima Phillies||41||86||.323||49.5||.238||.937||33,440||Bernard Lutz|
Individual Pitching & Hitting Leaders
|John Wall||Marion||9||1||2.45||Andy Gilbert||Springfield||323||123||.381|
|Dick Brodowski||Marion||21||5||2.60||Maxlee Ross||Marion||334||125||.374|
|Dan Sullivan||Newark||12||2||2.71||Marvin Stendel||Newark||502||185||.369|
Known O-I Players that made it to The Major Leagues
- Lima: Sonny Senerchia,1949:
- Marion: Dick Brodowski,1951: Guy Morton,1949: Ed Sadowski,1951: Tom Umphlett,1950:
- Muncie: Bob Nieman,1948: Corky Valentine,1948: Maurice Fisher,1949: Don Gross,1950:
- Newark: Hal W. Smith, 1950:
- Richmond: George Bullard,1951: Jim Bunning,1950: Billy Hoeft,1950:
- Springfield: Eddie Bressoud ,1951: Dom Zanni,1951:
- Portsmouth: Dutch Romberger ,1948-49:
- Zanesville: Brooks Lawrence,1949:
- Jim Bunning is also a member of the Baseball Hall Of Fame.
The Baseball Guide and Record Book 1948, 49, 50, and 51 for statistics and the Muncie Star Newspaper archives for some data.