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64. 1949 Stroudsburg Poconos
Record: 101-36
North Atlantic League

By Bill Weiss & Marshall Wright, Baseball Historians

Behind the efforts of their player/manager, a team from eastern Pennsylvania dominated the North Atlantic League in 1949. Not only did this manager lead his team to the best record in league history, he also led the league in one of its most important categories.

The town of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, located near the New Jersey border, first entered the world of professional baseball relatively late. In 1932, Stroudsburg’s first pro team, called the Poconos after the nearby Pocono Mountains, started play in the Class D Interstate League. With the Poconos in first place with a 19-7 record on June 20, the league disbanded. Victims of the depression, two of the six teams had folded earlier in the month.

Fourteen years later, Stroudsburg joined a new Class D operation. Called the North Atlantic League, the loop featured eight teams in the eastern Pennsylvania-New Jersey-New York region. In the 1946 season, the team, also called the Poconos, finished third with a 72-47 record. They were bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual champion Peekskill Highlanders, four games to two. In 1947, the team became a farm team of the Yankees but still dropped to sixth. Despite the mediocre showing, one of their hurlers, Joe Sebir, tossed a 10-0 no-hitter against Mahanoy City on June 19. The next season, with their affiliation gone and a new manager at the helm, the Poconos improved to 72-59. In 1949, this manager - Frank Radler - would lead the Poconos to the gold.

Radler, a 29-year-old right-hander whose home was in Stroudsburg, Pa., began his playing career in 1937 in the St. Louis Browns organization. In his only year in the high minors, 1945, he had a 6-23, 4.91 record for the Cardinals’ Rochester club in the International League. He started managing in 1948 and piloted the Poconos until 1950. In those three years, Radler won 53 and lost only 13. He led the league in ERA all three seasons (2.18, 1.59 and 1.81) and in wins in 1948 (20) and 1950 (21). In 1951, he managed the DeLand Red Hats to the Florida State League championship and had a 12-5, 1.94 record. After leading the Union City Greyhounds to the finals of the Kitty League playoffs in 1952, he left pro ball.

Aiding Radler in his 1949 quest was a new working agreement for the Poconos. Before the season, the team became associated with the Cleveland organization. Aided by the Indians, Stroudsburg breezed to the pennant with a spectacular 101-36, .737 record. The second place team, the Lebanon Chix, finished a distant 20.5 games behind. In the playoffs, the Poconos edged Mahanoy City, four games to three, before dispatching Peekskill, four games to two in the finals. The team led the league in several categories including: average (.297), runs (925), hits (1,403), triples (94) and home runs (63).

The Poconos were led by a stable of fine hitters, none better than outfielder John Rothenhausler (.377, 128 RBI) who finished second in both categories. Not far behind was first baseman Harry Warner (.347) who batted fourth in the league while bashing a circuit high 17 homers. Jim Finn (.334) and Stan Pawloski (.329) also finished as top-ten batters. Finn also led the league with 22 triples. In addition, six of the eight starting position players scored over 100 runs each. Of this hard-hitting group, only Pawloski made it to the majors, batting .125 in 1955 for Cleveland.

The 1949 Stroudsburg player who had the longest baseball career was Warner., then 20 years old. Warner, who was born and still resides in nearby Reeders, Pa., broke in with Stroudsburg in 1946. He was purchased by the Braves after the 1949 season and played in the Boston/Milwaukee and Washington organizations through 1959. He began his managerial career in 1960 and in the next 17 seasons led clubs in every classification in the Washington/Minnesota system. His 1971 Charlotte Hornets won the Southern League and Dixie Association titles and his 1975 Reno Silver Sox captured the California League pennant. Warner was a major league coach for Toronto from 1977-79 and was acting manager during Roy Hartsfield’s absence in 1978. Warner managed Syracuse for the Blue Jays in 1980, then was third base coach for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1981-82. He returned to the Twins organization in 1983, managing Visalia and winning the California League’s Southern Division title. From 1984 until his retirement in 1990, Warner scouted for Minnesota and San Diego. As a manager, his teams had a 1,381-1,226, .530 record.

From the hill, Stroudsburg was paced by two big pitching performances. Ed Varhely (20-2) finished with the most wins and best percentage (.909). Radler (12-2) won the other glamour award, finishing with the lowest ERA (1.59). Also contributing was Dale Melms (15-5) who garnered the second best ERA (1.81) and threw the most shutouts (7).

Seven Poconos made the North Atlantic League All-Star Team: Warner, Pawloski, SS Dom Della Rocca, Finn, Rothenhausler, Melms and Varhely.

In 1950, Radler led the Poconos to a second place finish with a record of 80-50. In the playoffs, Stroudsburg breezed in the first round to return to the finals. Facing Lebanon, the Poconos were trailing three games to two when the series was halted due to inclement weather. Shortly thereafter, the league went under, taking Stroudsburg with it. In the 50 years since, the town has not returned to pro ball.

Although Stroudsburg’s stay in baseball was not lengthy, its 1949 club was certainly noteworthy. In 100 years of minor league history, only three other full-season teams have been able to better the Poconos’ splendid .737 winning percentage.

1949 North Atlantic League Standings
TEAM W L PCT GB TEAM W L PCT GB
STROUDSBURG 101 36 .737 - CARBONDALE 63 76 .453 39.0
LEBANON 80 56 .588 20.5 BANGOR 59 75 .440 40.5
MAHANOY CITY 71 63 .530 28.5 HAZLETON 53 76 .411 44.0
PEEKSKILL 64 75 .460 38.0 NAZARETH 52 86 .377 49.5

1949 Stroudsburg Poconos batting statistics
BATTER POS GP AB R H BI 2B 3B HR BB SO SB BA
Harry Warner 1B 127 495 122 172 125 28 13 17 73 678 2 .347
Bill Leary 2B,3B,OF 127 542 108 164 55 26 5 2 46 59 16 .303
Dom Della Rocca SS 136 474 105 141 94 31 4 11 99 71 3 .297
Stan Pawloski 3B 87 307 46 101 64 17 7 4 30 42 10 .329
John Rothenhausler OF 137 515 112 194 128 23 20 13 64 31 10 .377
Jim Finn OF 127 497 118 166 104 30 22 15 53 65 9 .334
Don Sweda OF,2B 124 489 103 134 52 24 9 0 72 48 7 .274
Jack Stehlin C 75 235 30 54 33 9 2 0 41 15 0 .230
Vic Weiss (Nazareth) OF 49 184 32 62 31 11 5 4 24 23 7 .337
Arnold Stroecker C 37 124 20 34 22 5 1 0 10 16 2 .274
Gene Law P 34 68 13 14 5 0 2 0 12 15 0 .206
Bob Trout OF,1B 33 130 37 51 22 7 1 0 22 10 0 .392
Russ Schneider C 31 92 14 18 17 3 2 0 14 17 1 .196
Mike Coma P 31 71 10 .141
George Condrick P 31 66 10 23 4 3 0 0 4 8 0 .348
Frank Radler P 30 69 10 17 7 2 0 0 5 7 0 .246
Ed Barr 2B 29 113 12 27 13 5 0 1 6 18 1 .239
Ed Varhely P 29 70 13 .186
Robert Schultz (Nazareth) P 28 70 7 16 3 2 0 0 4 12 1 .229
Dale Melms P 26 65 12 .185
Richard Hasler OF,C 22 64 14 19 10 7 0 0 11 7 0 .297
Walter Allabaugh P 21 39 6 .154
Peter Kunec 2B 18 32 6 6 2 0 0 0 5 6 1 .188
Art Howells 2B 11 50 4 7 7 1 3 0 6 6 0 .140
LaRue Durn P 7 12 0 .000
Herman Lombardi 5 13 1 .077
Paul Mohler 4 11 3 .273
Joe Kropoewniski 1 3 1 .333
George Ernst 1 1 0 .000
Gene Bradley 1 0 0 ----
Totals 137 4723 925 1403 799 233 94 63 601 596 63 .297

1949 Stroudsburg Poconos pitching statistics
PITCHER W L PCT G GS CG SH SV IP H BB SO ERA
Ed Varhely 20 2 .909 29 14 4 177 138 61 140 2.24
Mike Coma 17 9 .654 31 19 2 187 183 65 130 3.37
Dale Melms 15 5 .750 24 17 7 164 119 36 101 1.81
Gene Law 13 7 .650 34 12 2 187 193 43 102 3.95
Robert Schultz (Nazareth) 13 13 .500 28 21 1 213 213 48 124 2.58
Frank Radler 12 2 .857 21 12 0 136 121 20 92 1.59
George Condrick 11 5 .688 24 12 2 148 125 62 88 2.98
Walter Allabaugh 8 3 .727 21 7 1 103 99 52 37 3.50
LaRue Durn 3 0 1.000 7 32 3.94
Bill Scholz 0 1 .000 2 15 4.20
Jim Mellinger 0 1 .000 2 9 8.00
Ted Cromleigh 0 0 ---- 1 2 4.50