Baseball Beginnings, Baseball Rosters, Cincinnati Reds
These stories originally appeared in "The Daily Advertiser's History of Acadiana by Jim Bradshaw: Beginning Traditions," published May 26, 1998.
Baseball began in 1903
Organized baseball was apparently played at SLII as early as 1903, in conjunction with the first Field Day there, and in pickup games with other clubs from the area. But it was probably not until 1911 that SLII teams began playing a regular schedule.
In the USL Archives, there is a letter dated Feb. 23, 1905, from Leo M. Favrot, principal of Leesville Graded School, in which he tells SLII President Edwin L. Stephen that his school will take part in that year's Field Day events.
“We (are thinking) of taking part in the whole thing, all the athletics, the oratorical contest, and if you are anxious to have us wipe up the earth with you on the diamond, (we) will do that, too," Favrot wrote.
His letter continued, “Speaking of baseball, if you will pardon my presumption, I really think it would be wise not to crowd things, or to have too much on the program. Do you not think that track events, base-ball, and basket-ball will be too much for one day? I don't mean to butt in, but merely suggest that because I think fewer sports will really be preferred. As I recall last year's baseball game, for instance, it had to be called before the nine innings had been played; and a good many of us did not get to see the basket-ball game, because we were arranging or judging the relay race."
There is also an archival copy of a letter dated March 8, 1905, from the manager of the SLII Base Ball [sic] Team, J.W.S. Lillibridge, to Mr. Avit Gremillion of Marksville.
“... We will be pleased to play you a series of games of base ball on Mar. 24th and Mar. 25th," the letter says. “In regard to expenses, will offer you a cash guaranty of $30 and entertainment for eleven men while in Lafayette. This we feel sure will cover all necessary expenses. I would suggest that you make application for a special railroad rate. All of your players must of course be bone fida [sic] members of the High School.
“You can drive to Eola on Mar. 24th and take the train which leaves at 8:53 A.M. and arrives in Lafayette 11: 00 A.M. Play one game that afternoon. Stay over night [sic]. Play another game the next forenoon. You can leave Lafayette at 2:25 P.M. and arrive in Eola at 4:35.
“We will expect to play in Marksville, under the same conditions, later in the season."
A handwritten ledger in the files of longtime basketball coach and athletic director J.C. (Dutch) Reinhardt, shows that an SLII team played seven games in 1911, five of them against Louisiana College. These teams tied twice, 6-6 in 12 innings on April 17, and 3-3 on April 18. They played three times in May, with SLII winning two of the three games, 16-6 and 5-2, before losing the final game of the season 6-4. The other two scheduled games were against either high schools or pickup teams from Milton and Ebenezer. SLII beat Milton 11-2 and beat Ebenezer 15-2.
The 1913 team boasted in a handbill advertising a two-game series with Loyola, “We have one of the best college teams in Louisiana. This is the best team that ever represented SLII on the diamond."
At the time that flyer was printed, the team had lost twice to LSU (4-3 and 8-4), but had beaten Loyola once already (1-0), jumped on Louisiana College (18-2 and 12-4), beat St. Charles College (5-3), and beat Louisiana Normal twice (8-4 and 12-1).
Some of the players from the 1913 team returned in 1914, and helped achieve the Institute's first-ever athletic victory against LSU. The Vermilion newspaper of May 11, 1914 reported:
“Southwestern handed Louisiana State University a decisive defeat last Monday morning ... in a spirited game of baseball to the tune of 10-0. Both teams had just returned from a week's trip and were somewhat fatigued from the work, but Southwestern limbered up and played the LSU boys to their feet, defeating them for the first time in the history of this Institution."
Early Baseball Rosters
Early rosters and records of the university's sports teams can be compiled from a handwritten ledger book and other notes in the files of coach and athletic director J.C. (Dutch) Reinhardt now in the USL Archives. These are the rosters of the early baseball teams as reflected in those files. In some of the early rosters, it is unclear whether they are complete or contain only the names of lettermen.
1911: W. Peck (Captain), R.J. Coley, Sam Brown, M. Bercegeay, Leonce Broussard, Sidney Thibodaux, Fred Curley, Ignace Himel, Walter Williams, Claude Boudreaux.
1912: Fred Curley (Captain), W. Anders, Faston Guerriniere, G. Galdo, M. Bercegeay, A. Piott, S. Aleman (sic), T. Himel, W. Peck, G. Mouton.
1913: S. Aleman (Captain), C. Bergeron, C. Boudreaux, G. Mouton, C. Tanner, D. Verot, G. Galdo, W. Billeaud, J. Baez, R. Lowrey, H. Siadous, W. Williams, E. Joffrion.
1914: C. Bergeron (Captain), S. Aleman (Manager), R. Pregeast, J. Drouet, E. Joffrion, C. Grouchy, Alcee Dupuis, W. Billeaud, O. Piott, D. Verot, R. Lowrey, H. Siadous, H. Gawcheaux (sic).
1915: Robert Lowrey (Captain), Slattery Aleman (Manager), Clarence Bergeron, Russell Prejeant (sic), Jos. Drouet, Cyril Grouchy, Walter Billeaud, Alcee Dupuis, Lee Verret, Henry Siadous, Floyd Hawkins.
1916: G. Grouch (Captain) W. Billeaud, G. Courville, J. Drouet, F. Hawkins, R. Helmere, H. Lacour, H. Pitre, H. Siadous, G. Stromer, C.I. Thompson, E.A. LeBlanc.
1917: F. Hawkins (Captain), W. Billeaud, G. Courville, R. Helmer, B. Landry, J. Lewis, S. Mason, F. Storey, C.F. Thompson, B. Tankel, L.J. Vines, W. Von Schollar (Manager)
1918: G. Courville (Captain), C.F. Thompson (Captain), F.G. Hawkins, M. Henry, H. Rickey, A. Villien, F.M. Carson, L. Vines, R. LeBlanc, J. Suire, K. Thompson, r. Bourque, T. Lougarre (Manager).
1919: B.M. Landry (Captain), W. Pellerin, M. Henry, F. Menuet, H. Smith, F. M. Carson, J.W. Lewis Jr., R. LeBlanc, J.S. Labbe, J.D. Suire, H.B. Rickey, (No name or initial) Gabbert, H. Bourgeois (Manager)
1920: J.D. Suire (Captain), George Sudduth, F. Menuet, J. Carson, P.D. Meaux, E. Carriere, W. Gabbert, S. Labbe, H.B. Rickey, R. Steiner, R. Hereford (Manager).
1921: G. Sudduth, F. Menuet, Carl Perkins, F.M. Carson, R. Steiner, H. Lemmon, D. Lyons, H. Rickey, W. Ruger, K. Thompson, C. Lovell, S. Pelletier, L. Bourque (Manager).
1922: George Sudduth (Captain), Harold Beridon, J.R. Covington, Wallace Dugas, H.E. Lemmon, Dewey Lyons, Cecil Lovell, George Mahoney, Carl Perkins, Edwin Richardson, Wagner Ruger, Robert Steiner, Adam Tassin.
1923: E. Adams, H. Beridon, R. Cambre, J.R. Covington, W. Dugas, F. Hawkins, F. Minuet, L. Mantabbano (sic), C. Perkins, E. Richardson, W.A. Ruger, R. Steiner, G. Sudduth.
1924: W.J. Dugas (Captain), Earl Adams (Captain Elect), A.M. Bujard, R. J. Cambre, Jemy Ducrest, M. Henry, H.E. Lemmon, W.A. Ruger, R. Steiner, G.W. Sudduth, R. R. Tabor.
1925: E.G. Adams (Captain), A.M. Bujard, C.K. Cagle, R.J., Cambre, J.S. Ducrest, W.J. Dugas, A.O. Landry, W.A. Ruger, L. Siadous, R. Steiner, C.J. Theriot, L.N. Montalbano.
1926: R. Steiner (Captain), A.M. Bujard, C.K. Cagle, R.J. Cambre, W.A. Ruger, L. Siadous, L. Montalbano, Earl Adams, D. Paby, L.E. Stafford Jr., Emory Adams, R. Tabor, Curley Willis, E. Landry, W. Sanders.
1927: David Foley (Captain), Emory Adams, Norman Colgin, Jules Deshotels, Charles Hebert, James Holloway, Carroll McCall, William J. Banders, Edward Terrell, Clifton Theriot, E.C. Thomas, Ralph Tabor, Cuoley (sic) Willis.
1928-1938: SLI dropped baseball for these 10 years, mainly for financial reasons.
1939: Glynn Abel, H.G. Abercrombie, Willard Barnhill, Earl Berry, Earl Bourque, Patrick D'Auria, Felix DeJean, Raymond Didier, Lucien Governale, Alfred Hoffman, Ned Lewis, Andrus Martinez, Joseph Rodgers.
1940: Harold Abercrombie, Willard Barnhill, Earl Berry, Earl Bourque, Richard Breen, Patrick D'Auria, Felix DeJean, Lucien Governale, Ernest Hicks, Joseph LaBauve, Gaston LeBlanc, Ned Lewis, Herbert O'Rand.
1941: Richard Breen, Wilson Broussard, Clyde Didier, Sanders Foreman, Ernest Hicks, Joseph LaBauve, Gaston LeBlanc, Lee Martin, Albert Steigman, Burnil Taylor, George Voitier, Robert Voitier, Marshall Williams.
1942: Allen Boudreaux, Richard Breen, George Brown, Clyde Didier, Dean Fields, Sanders Foreman, Ernest Hicks, Joe LaBauve, Charles Richard, Albert Steigman, Robert Voitier.
1943-1944: SLI did not field a team during these war years.
1945: J.S. Caldeira, W.A. Fergerson, R.J. Garsand, W.H. Gruenirger, L.R., Hess, P.L., Kelly, V.L. Kaplin (sic), E.C. Leathers, J.F. Lendzian, A.N. Mayeaux, D.L. McFatter, D.A. Palazzi, M.F. Popover, W.A. Quinn, W.S. Quinn.
SLII took on Cincinnati Reds
The barnstorming Cincinnati Reds baseball team came through Lafayette, probably in 1915, playing an exhibition against the Institute nine.
An undated and unidentified newspaper clipping tells the story. It is in a scrapbook kept by Dr. Edwin L. Stephens, alongside other material dated that year.
This is what the clipping says:
* * * *
“A large crowd was present on the Institute campus to see the game of ball between the Cincinnati Reds and the Institute team. Many people from a distance and from the parish came in to take in the game.
The day was pretty cold but not enough to interfere with the game. The score resulted 13 to 1. Considering the odds the boys were up against, this was fine. The Reds, of course, are ball players. The way they handled the ball, (and) quick ... evidence of competence showed they were right up to the job.
The Institute boys were weak on batting and especially so in the last half of the game, when left-handed Fittery began shooting in his swift curves. The boys' strong point was their good capable playing and Walter Billeaud, short stop, made a feature catch that brought him a round of applause.
Altogether, the game was very interesting and was strong enough on the part of the boys to really make the Reds show something of their metal (sic) and give an idea of what it takes to make a national player.
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