The York White Roses was the name of a minor league baseball team based in the city of York, Pennsylvania, US, that existed between 1894 and 1969.

York White Roses
Minor league affiliations
Previous classesSingle-A (1884–1969)
Major league affiliations
Previous teams
Minor league titles
League titles 2 (1925), (1969)
Team data
Previous names
  • York Pirates (1968–1969)
  • York White Roses (1884–1899)
Previous parks
Bob Hoffman Stadium



Early years


The York White Roses began as members of the short-lived Keystone Association in 1884. The league disbanded after only 20 games. The White Roses transferred to the Eastern League after the Harrisburg Olympics folded.[1] The team remained in the Eastern League until the 1893 season when York joined the Pennsylvania State League.

Turn of the 20th century


York joined the Tri-State League as the York Penn Parks in 1904. York defeated Williamsport before 3,500 fans at the Phillies' ball park in Philadelphia for the new league's first championship.[2]

The name was quickly changed back to White Roses for the 1905 season. The 1906 season was full of controversy when the rival Lancaster Maroons changed their name to the Red Roses. George Heckert, White Roses manager, publicly denounced Lancaster's team and predicted that Lancaster would end the season in last place after it unveiled new jerseys and a new name days before the season opener against York.[3] Yorkers viewed the change as a copycat maneuver since York had called itself the White Roses since 1884.[4] The Red Roses went on to win the first game, 9–4, and an even heavier rivalry began.[5] Some sources indicate that the rival teams were named for the opposing factions in England's Wars of the Roses.

In 1907, the York franchise was moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, and became the Reading Pretzels for the 1908 season. In 1908 a York team played as members of the Pennsylvania-New Jersey League. The White Roses returned to York for the 1909 season. They made another move in 1914 when rival Lancaster Red Roses moved to Atlantic City. After a bad start to the season in York, the White Roses moved to Lancaster and became the Red Roses for the second half of the 1914 season. The franchise remained in Lancaster until The Tri State league broke up at the end of the 1914 season.

New era of White Roses


York is one of the six original teams of the New York–Pennsylvania League, joining for the inaugural season in 1923. The White Roses quickly became one of the powerhouse franchises in the League and won their first league championship on September 25, 1925, defeating the Williamsport Grays 5–3, in 11 innings in the fourth and final game of a best-of-five series. York first baseman Del Bissonette homered in the bottom of the 11th to clinch the title.[4]

The White Roses were unaffiliated until the 1933 season when they became part of the Brooklyn Dodgers minor league system. Financial hardships due to the Great Depression caused this version of the White Roses to fold after the 1933 season. The team came out of the dark in 1936 when the Harrisburg Senators were forced to relocate after the 1935 season. The stay in York was brief, as the franchise moved mid-season, becoming the Trenton Senators on July 2, 1936.

The White Roses joined the Interstate League in 1943, spending most of their seasons in this league (1943–1952) as an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates until 1950. From 1953 to 1955, the White Roses were members of the Piedmont League, affiliated with the St. Louis Browns from 1952 to 1953 and the Baltimore Orioles from 1954 to 1955. Hall of Fame player Brooks Robinson played his first professional season for the 1955 White Roses. [6]

The White Roses re-joined the Eastern League, affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, in the 1958 season and played there until the end of the 1959 season. The York White Roses returned in 1962 as a member of the Eastern League, as the Johnstown Red Sox moved to York. The Boston Red Sox affiliation lasted only that season. They were affiliated with the Washington Senators from 1963 to 1967.

York Pirates

Team logo as the York Pirates in the late 1960s

In 1968, the team was renamed as the York Pirates, affiliated once again with Pittsburgh. Sunday, April 21, 1968, marked a historic event in York baseball history when the York Pirates and Reading Phillies played the first outdoor game on artificial turf at York's Memorial Stadium. York lost 5–3 but the 6,248 audience was also the largest crowd in York's minor-league history.

The 1969 season was the last season of York minor-league baseball in the 20th century. After many dismal seasons in the 1960s the York Pirates made it to the Finals against the Pittsfield Red Sox. Pittsfield won the first game of the series 7–4 but the remaining games of the Championship were rained out and York was named champions (York was in first place in the league that season).



The White Roses had numerous ballparks during the first half of the 20th century.[4] In 1947, York moved its minor-league team from Memorial Field in West York, Pennsylvania, to Memorial Stadium in York. York's minor-league clubs continued to play at Veterans Memorial Stadium/Bob Hoffman Stadium until the York Pirates folded at the end of the 1969 season.

Notable alumni


Hall of Fame alumni


Other notable alumni


Year-by-year records


Keystone Association (1884)

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Notes
1884 10–10 2nd Frank Burnham none Keystone Association disbanded June 7

Eastern League (1884)

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Notes
10–21 5th John Murphy none York replaced the disbanded Harrisburg team July 18

Pennsylvania State League (1893)

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Notes
1893 51–55 6th William Stevens / Bill Sharsig

Tri-State League (1909–1914)

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Notes
1909 41–73 8th Frank Reisling / William Poole none
1910 37–74 8th Louis Simmel / Jacob Weitzel / Curt Weigand none
1911 50–58 6th Curt Weigand none
1912 45–65 7th John Manning none
1913 59–52 4th George Heckert none
1914 16–37 George Heckert / Eddie Hooper York moved to Lancaster (10–46) July 8

New York–Penn League (1923–1933, 1936)

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Notes
1923 73–51 2nd Rube Dessau none
1924 80–48 2nd Rube Dessau none
1925 77–55 1st (t) Rube Dessau League Champs
1926 79–57 2nd Rube Dessau none
1927 79–58 3rd Rube Dessau / Johnny Tillman none
1928 65–72 5th Win Clark none
1929 71–66 4th Jack Bentley none
1930 66–73 6th Jack Bentley none
1931 73–67 5th Jack Bentley / Frank Uzmann none
1932 72–66 3rd Russ Wrightstone / Rube Dessau none
1933 59–78 8th Rube Dessau none
1936 24–45 Dutch Dorman / Walter Smallwood York moved to Trenton (16–54) July 2

Interstate League (1943–1952)

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Notes
1943 73–66 4th Bunny Griffiths Lost League Finals
1944 69–68 3rd Bunny Griffiths Lost in 1st round
1945 49–90 6th Bunny Griffiths
1946 68–70 5th Boom-Boom Beck
1947 67–70 5th Edward Turchin
1948 77–62 3rd Frank Oceak Lost League Finals
1949 66–72 6th Frank Oceak
1950 65–73 6th Frank Oceak
1951 51–88 7th Joe Bowman / Edward Waleski / Eugene Crumling
1952 74–62 3rd Jim Crandall Lost in 1st round

Piedmont League (1953–1955)

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Notes
1953 59–70 5th Mark Christman / Bill Enos / George Hausmann
1954 72–67 3rd George Staller Lost in 1st round
1955 64–65 3rd George Staller Lost in 1st round

Eastern League (1958–1969)

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Notes
1958 68–61 3rd Joe Schultz Lost in 1st round
1959 59–81 6th Mike Ryba / Ed Lyons
1963 63–77 5th Danny O'Connell / Johnny Schaive none
1964 55–85 6th Jim Lemon none
1965 67–72 3rd Billy Klaus none
1966 62–77 6th Billy Klaus none
1967 43–95 8th Billy Klaus / George Case
1968 58–82 5th Joe Morgan
1969 89–50 1st Joe Morgan * League Champs
  • *1969– Playoffs Rained out, York Pirates named Eastern League Champions

See also



  1. ^ Nineteenth Century Baseball: Year-By-Year Statistics for the Major League Teams, 1871 Through 1900 (ISBN 0-7864-0181-8)
  2. ^ "Penn Park Wins the $1000 Game, Defeating Williamsport Easily By The Score Of 8 To 2". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. October 11, 1904. p. 10.
  3. ^ 1906–1914: A Rose by Any Other Name Archived February 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c York-area baseball through the years – The York Daily Record
  5. ^ "The York and Lancaster Rivalry". Lancaster County Historical Society. Archived from the original on April 15, 2007. Retrieved May 6, 2006.
  6. ^ "Brooks Robinson Minor Leagues Statistics & History".