Ohio-Indiana League

From BR Bullpen

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.

Cities Represented[edit]

(no known team names for the 1907 franchises)

1948 League Season - schedule[edit]

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.

Team Stats

Team W L W% GB BA FA Attend Manager
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

Player Team W L ERA player Team AB Hits Avr
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

1949 League Season - schedule[edit]

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.

The Muncie Reds also took out the second place finishers, the Springfield Giants, 3 games to 1.

In as good a series as you could see the upstart fourth place Marion Red Sox took out the Muncie Reds team, 4 games to 3 to win the playoff championship.

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.

Team Stats

Team W L W% GB BA FA Attend Manager
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

Player Team W L ERA player Team AB Hits Avr
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

1950 League Season - schedule[edit]

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.

Team Stats

Team W L W% GB BA FA Attend Manager
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

Player Team W L ERA player Team AB Hits Avr
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

1951 League Season - schedule[edit]

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.

The Newark Yankees won the first half of the season by a 2 1/2 game margin over the Marion Red Sox. The league held an All-Star Game that drew only 866 through the gates.

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.

Team Stats

Team W L W% GB BA FA Attend Manager
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

Player Team W L ERA player Team AB Hits Avr
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[edit]

  • 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.