Moline Plowboys

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Moline Plowboys
(27 Seasons)
Moline, Illinois
Previous Class C (1947-48)
Class B (1937–1941; 1919–1923; 1914-17;)
Class D (1924–1932)
Class A (1894)[1]
Minor league affiliations
Previous leagues
Central Association (1947-48)
Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League (1937–1941, 1914–1923)
Mississippi Valley League (1924–1932)[1]
Major league affiliations
Minor league titles
League titles 1915, 1921, 1937
Team data
Previous names
  • Moline A's (1947-48)
Previous parks
Browning Field

The Moline Plowboys were a minor league baseball team in Moline, Illinois that existed for 27 seasons between 1914 and 1948. From 1914 to 1923, they played in the Class B Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League (Three-I League); from 1924 to 1932, they played in the Class D Mississippi Valley League; and from 1937 to 1941, they again played in the Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League, before joining the Central Association in 1947-48. The Plowboys' ballpark from 1920 to 1948 was Browning Field.[2] Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Warren Giles, future President of the National League was President of the Plowboys Franchise from 1919–1922.[3]

Warren Giles, National League President, 1962

Early Quad City baseball history[edit]

Tracing back to 1879, Quad City professional baseball includes Minor League teams in Davenport, Moline and Rock Island. The 1879 Davenport Brown Stockings played one season in the Northwestern League and Rock Island began play in 1883. Moline began play in 1914. The Davenport team was the foundation of today's Quad City River Bandits, the surviving franchise of the three.[4]

Moline Franchise History[edit]

The Quad Cities area was able to support two teams, with the Davenport Blue Sox and the Rock Island Islanders. In July 1914, a third Quad City team was added, as the Danville Speakers relocated and the Moline Plowboys were established. The name "Plowboys" reflects the city of Moline's history as a leading center of plow production. Many residents of Moline worked for companies such as Deere, Moline Plow Company, and Minneapolis-Moline.

Moline's franchise would win Three-I Championships in 1915, 1921 and 1937. The Plowboys were an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers (1932), Chicago Cubs (1937–40) and Philadelphia A's (1947–48). Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Warren Giles, future President of the National League, was the team president of the Plowboys franchise from 1919–1922.[3] From 1920 to 1922, the Plowboys were managed by Earle Mack, son of Baseball Hall of Fame owner/manager Connie Mack.[5]

The ballparks[edit]

Initially, the Plowboys played at Athletic Park, located at 4th Avenue and 37th Street.[6][7]

The Plowboys' ballpark from 1920 to 1948 was Browning Field, located at 16th Street and 23rd Avenue. The 5,600 capacity park had dimensions (LF-CF-RF) of 550-440-377.[8] The first night game at the park was July 11, 1930.[7]

In an exhibition on April 12, 1920 the Plowboys defeated the Chicago White Sox 7-1 in the first "major-league" game played at Browning.[8]

The Chicago Cubs played an exhibition at Browning Field against their affiliate Plowboys on April 14, 1938.[9]

Babe Ruth appeared at Browning Field on June 26, 1940 as 2,600 witnessed the Plowboys exhibition game featuring Ruth. They also saw watch Ruth put on a batting practice exhibition.[7][10]

Notable alumni[edit]

Hall of Fame Alumni

Notable alumni

Eddie Waitkus

Year-by-year record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1914 20-33 8th Connie Walsh / William Neal none
1915 75-51 1st George Hughes League Champions
1916 59-76 5th George Hughes none
1917 27-38 6th Ned Pettigrew / Bob Tarleton season shortened to July 8
1919 40-81 6th George Hughes none
1920 69-70 4th Earle Mack none
1921 78-55 1st Earle Mack League Champions
1922 49-89 8th Earle Mack none
1923 45-91 8th Bobby Coltrin / Jim Shollenberger none
1924 59-65 5th Jim Shollenberger none
1925 73-52 2nd Jim Shollenberger none
1926 71-50 2nd Jim Shollenberger none
1927 63-55 5th Fritz Mollwitz none
1928 69-54 2nd Richard Manchester none
1929 63-63 4th Richard Manchester none
1930 63-62 4th Riley Parker none
1931 68-58 3rd Riley Parker none
1932 55-66 6th Ernie Lorbeer none
1937 74-41 2nd Mike Gazella League Champions
1938 67-59 3rd Mike Gazella lost league finals
1939 49-73 6th (t) Mike Gazella none
1940 46-78 7th Mike Gazella none
1941 43-82 8th Joe Mowry none

External References[edit]

Plowboys and Browning Field Photos: