The Marion Diggers were a minor league baseball team based in Marion, Ohio and Marion County, Ohio. From 1908 to 1912, the Diggers played as members of the Class D level Ohio State League, hosting home minor league games at Webb Park. Despite not winning a league championship, the Diggers finished in the top three in the final standings in each full season of play. Future president Warren Harding was a part owner of the Marion Diggers.

Marion Diggers
Minor league affiliations
ClassClass D (1908–1912)
LeagueOhio State League (1908–1912)
Major league affiliations
Minor league titles
League titles (0)None
Team data
NameMarion Diggers (1908–1912)
BallparkWebb Park (1908–1912)

History edit

Marion, Ohio first hosted minor league baseball in 1900, when the Marion "Glass Blowers" played a partial season as members of Class B level Interstate League.[1][2] The Diggers were preceded in minor league play by the 1906 "Marion" team that played a partial season in the Class B level Interstate Association[3][4] and the 1906 and 1907 Marion Moguls of the Class C level Ohio-Pennsylvania League.[5][4]

After Marion did not host a minor league team in 1907, the 1908 Marion "Diggers" were charter members of the reformed, six-team, Class D level Ohio State League.[6] The Lancaster Lanks, Lima Cigarmakers, Mansfield Pioneers, Newark Newks and Springfield Reapers teams joined Marion in beginning Ohio State League play on April 23, 1908.[7][4]

In their first season of play, the Diggers finished third in the six–team Ohio State League.[6] The Diggers ended their initial Ohio State League season with a record of 78–71, playing the season under manager Charley O'Day. The Diggers finished 14.0 games behind the place first place Lancaster Lanks in the final regular season standings, as the league held no playoffs.[8][4] Marion's Hughie Tate won the league batting title, hitting .320 and also led the Ohio State League with 169 total hits.[4]

The Marion Diggers continued play in the 1909 Ohio State League. The Diggers placed second in the standings with a 71–59 record, playing the season under managers Charley O'Day and Joe Lewis.[9] Marion finished 8.5 games behind the first place Lima Cigarmakers in the final standings.[10][4] The Diggers had three league leaders in 1909, as Red Farrell won the league batting title, hitting .321 and Joe Stanley led the league with 142 total hits. Diggers' pitcher Ed Zmich won 21 games to lead the league.[4]

The Diggers placed third in 1910, as the franchise continued play in the six-team Ohio state League. The Diggers finished third in the standings, with a record of 80-58.[11] Marion finished the season 6.0 games behind the first place Portsmouth Cobblers in the six-team league final standings. Joe Lewis returned as the Marion manager.[12][4] Pitcher Ted Goulait of Marion led the league with 21 wins.[4]

Warren G. Harding ownership edit

Future President of the United States, a local politician and business owner at the time, Warren G. Harding became a part owner of the Marion Diggers before the 1911 season. A Marion native, Harding owned the Marion Star Newspaper at the time and became a team owner of the local team in his hometown. Harding admired Wilbur Cooper, who played for Marion in 1911. Cooper and Harding remained friends as Cooper became a major league player and Harding was elected as President.[13][14]

(2022) Warren G. Harding Presidential Center. Marion, Ohio.

In 1911, an expanded Ohio State League added two teams and Diggers placed second in the eight-team league.[15] Marion ended the season with an 80-59 record, playing a third season under returning manager Joe Lewis.[16] The Diggers finished 4.0 games behind the first place Springfield Reapers in the final standings.[4][17]

In their final season of play, the 1912 Marion Diggers relocated during the season, as the Ohio State League returned to a six–team league.[18] On July 11, 1912, the league took over the Marion franchise and moved it to Ironton, Ohio on July 15, with a 32-44 record. Playing as the Ironton Orphans, the team ended the season with an overall record of 65–72, finishing 24.5 games behind the first place Portsmouth Cobblers. Fred Johnston, Fred Odwell and Bill Johnstone managed the team.[19][20][4] Waldo Jackley of Marion/Ironton won the batting title, leading the league with a .357 batting average and also hit 11 home runs, tops in the Ohio State League. Sandy Burk the league with a 21-10 record.[4]

Marion, Ohio next hosted a minor league team in 1915, when the Marion Senators played the season as members of the Class D level Buckeye League.[21][4] In 1937, the Marion Presidents rejoined the Ohio State League and the Marion franchise played thorough the 1951 season.[22][4][23]

The ballpark edit

The Marion Diggers hosted minor league home games at Webb Park. The ballpark had a capacity of 800.[22][24]

Timeline edit

Year(s) # Yrs. Team Level League Ballpark
1908-1912 5 Marion Diggers Class D Ohio State League Webb Park

Year-by-year records edit

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs / Notes
1908 78–71 3rd Charley O'Day No playoffs held
1909 71–59 3rd Charley O'Day / Joe Lewis No playoffs held
1910 80–58 3rd Joe Lewis No playoffs held
1911 80–59 2nd Joe Lewis No playoffs held
1912 65–72 4th Fred Johnston / Fred Odwell
Bill Johnstone
Marion (32-44) moved to Ironton July 15.

Notable alumni edit

See also edit

Marion Diggers players

References edit

  1. ^ "1900 Youngstown Little Giants/Marion Glass Blowers Statistics".
  2. ^ "1900 Interstate League".
  3. ^ "1906 Saginaw/Marion (OH) minor league baseball Roster on".
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Johnson, Lloyd; Wolff, Miles, eds. (2007). The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (Third ed.). Baseball America. ISBN 978-1932391176.
  5. ^ "1907 Marion Moguls Statistics".
  6. ^ a b "1908 Ohio State League".
  7. ^ "1912 Ohio State League (OSL) minor league baseball on".
  8. ^ "1908 Marion Diggers minor league baseball Roster on".
  9. ^ "1909 Marion Diggers minor league baseball Roster on".
  10. ^ "1909 Ohio State League".
  11. ^ "1910 Marion Diggers minor league baseball Roster on".
  12. ^ "1910 Ohio State League".
  13. ^ "The president who owned a minor league baseball team". 29 October 2021.
  14. ^ "Biography | Wilbur Cooper".
  15. ^ "1911 Marion Diggers Statistics".
  16. ^ "1911 Marion Diggers minor league baseball Roster on".
  17. ^ "1911 Ohio State League".
  18. ^ "1912 Ohio State League".
  19. ^ "1912 Marion Orphans/Ironton Diggers Statistics".
  20. ^ "1912 Marion Diggers/Ironton Orphans minor league baseball Roster on".
  21. ^ "1915 Marion Senators minor league baseball Roster on".
  22. ^ a b "Marion, Ohio sports teams on".
  23. ^ "Marion, Ohio Encyclopedia".
  24. ^ "Webb Park in Marion, OH minor league baseball history and teams on".

External links edit