Skip to main content
jump to navigation
The Official Site of Minor League Baseball
Below is an advertisement.

New Orleans Baseball History

New Orleans Baseball History

Compiled by Arthur O. Schott, The Official Louisiana Baseball Historian

1870 The Cincinnati Red Stockings play five games in New Orleans (April 25-30), continuing their undefeated streak before losing to the Brooklyn Athletics, 8-7, on June 14, 1870.

1887 New Orleans Pelicans join the two-year-old Southern League and capture the pennant in their first season. The Pelicans play at Sportsman's Park, what is now City Park Avenue near the Expressway.

1888-1889 Pelicans complete the '80s by winning their second pennant.

1901 Southern League re-organizes as the Southern Association. Abner Powell becomes the first Pelican manager of the century. The 1901 Pelicans finish fourth. They play at Athletic Park, which was then at the corner of Tulane Avenue between South Carrollton and South Pierce.

1902-1905 Pelicans finish last in 1903 and hire Charley Frank as their new manager, and he steers the club for 10 years. The Pelicans' first pennant of the 1900's comes in 1905, despite having to play many of their scheduled home games on the road as New Orleans is quarantined due to a yellow fever epidemic. Frank and the Pelicans still win the pennant with an 84-45 record.

1908-1913 In 1908 the Pelicans move to a new location, bound by South Carrollton, Palmyra, Banks and Scott. A contest is conducted to name the new site. "Pelican Park" wins out over scores of other entries. For the next seven years, the new stadium witnesses many historic events, such as Theo Breitenstein's no-hitter in 1909, Joe Jackson's memorable season in 1910, in which he leads all league batters with a .354 average, and back-to-back pennant winners in 1910 and 1911.

1914-1922 Johnny Dobbs becomes the new Pelicans manager in 1914. After the 1914 season, the park is moved from Carrollton and Banks to Carrollton and Tulane avenues, where it is renamed Heinemann Park after the club's owner, A.J. Heinemann. In their first season in Heinemann Park, the Pelicans win their third pennant. They add another pennant in 1918. The only unassisted triple play in Southern Association history comes on August 8, 1916, when Pelican second baseman Cotton Knaupp turns it against Chattanooga. The 1918 season is curtailed because of World War I, the only year in which the league fails to complete its schedule. In 1921, the Pelicans present the greatest all-time Pelicans batter in the person of "Ike" Boon, who finishes with a lofty .389 average.

1923-1932 In 1923, Larry Gilbert, who had orignally joined the club as an outfielder in 1917, takes over for Johnny Dobbs as manager of the Pelicans. Gilbert brings a pennant to New Orleans in his first season as manager and New Orleans participates in its first Dixie Series. The Pelicans lose the series to Fort Worth of the Texas League. The seasons of 1926-27 are banner ones for Gilbert and the Pelicans. They capture consecutive pennants, but are defeated in their bid for the Dixie championship. "Country" Davis brings the batting title to New Orleans with an average of .376 in 1932. After four more years as manager, Gilbert moves to the front office. Jake Atz becomes the field boss for one season in 1932.

1933-1938 Gilbert returns as manager, and not only wins consecutive pennants in 1933 and 1934, but defeats San Antonio and Galveston for the Dixie Series titles as well. In 1936, New Orleans plays its first night game at Heninemann Park on May 15, losing to Atlanta, 5-11, in front of 11,000 fans. Gilbert moves on to manage the Nashville Vols after the 1938 season. It turns out to be Nashville's gain and New Orleans' loss. The Pelicans never win another championship after 1934. In 1938, the ballpark is changed from "Heinemann Park" to Pelican Park.

1939-1942 Following Gilbert's 15 years as manager, there begins a parade of field leaders, beginning with Roger Peckinpaugh in 1939 through Mel Parnell in 1959. Peckinpaugh is quickly followed by Hal Anderson, Ray Blades and Pat Ankenman. By this time, World War II is sweeping the nation of its baseball talent.

1943-1945 The war forces rapid change of personnel as players are called into service. In 1943, New Orleans wins the second half of a split season, but loses to Nashville in the playoff, four games to one, as Larry Gilbert defeats his old club.

1946-1957 During this era, the Pelicans have several major league affiliates, including the Red Sox and the Pirates. Just after the war in 1947, New Orleans has one of its finest teams. The Pelicans lose out in their bid for the pennant by one half-game to the Mobile Bears. Al Flair sets a record for Pelican hitters with 24 home runs, including a shot over the distant center-field fence at Pelican Stadium. Danny Murtaugh is manager for three seasons (1952-54, bringing the club into the playoffs against the Atlanta Crackers, who claim the title, four games to two. Through the affiliation with the Pirates, New Orleans sees many of its players advance to the majors, including Johnny Power, Gene and George Freese, Bob Skinner, Danny Kravitz and Murtaugh, who goes on to manage the Pirates.

1958-1959 Following the 1957 season, Pelican Stadium is demolished and a hotel is erected on the site. Pelican Stadium had served as home of the Pelicans for 43 years. The Pelicans move to City Park Stadium for their last two seasons of existence in the Southern Association. Mel Parnell serves as the last manager.

1977 After a drought of 17 years without organized professional baseball, New Orleans becomes a member of the American Association. Playing at the Superdome, the Pelicans finish last in the Western Division (57-79, .419) under the leadership of Lance Nichols. Ironically, Denver leads the league in attendance with 288,167. New Orleans is second in attendance with 217,957.

1993 The New Orleans Zephrys begin a new tradition in the Crescent City.