West Frankfort Cardinals
|West Frankfort Cardinals|
(1947 - 1950)
West Frankfort, Illinois
|Minor league affiliations|
|Major league affiliations|
The West Frankfort Cardinals were an American minor league baseball team based in West Frankfort, Illinois from 1947–1950, playing at Memorial Stadium. The Cardinals were an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals that played in the Illinois State League and Mississippi–Ohio Valley League. The two leagues were the predecessors to today's Midwest League. Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee Earl Weaver played for West Frankfort in 1948.
Led by local businessmen Pete Mondino, Charlie Jacobs and Tony Finazzo, the West Frankfort Baseball and Amusement Corporation (WFBAC) was formed. In short order, a stadium was built, an affiliate secured and team was formed for West Frankfort in 1947. Mondino had been a minor league player and the manager of the Paducah Indians before returning to his hometown. The 1947 West Frankfort Cardinals became an expansion team and charter members of the Class D Illinois State League. Mondino served as the team's General Manager.Later, the Cardinals played in the Mississippi–Ohio Valley League (1949–1950). The team finished 71–48 in 1950, but the franchise folded after the 1950 season and was not replaced.
The Cardinals played at Memorial Stadium (1947–1950). In 1947, owners of the new franchise purchased an 8.8 acre site, once used to store coal and dynamite from nearby mines, and construction began on the field and stadium, which opened for play on May 24, 1957. It is believed the stadium name came from those killed in the mines.
The park hosted the 1947 Illinois State League All-Star Game and the 1950 Mississippi–Ohio Valley League All-Star Game.
The Illinois State League All-Star Game was played on August 11, 1947. The game pitted the Belleville Stags against an All-Star selected roster. Belleville had the best first half record. The All-Stars defeated Belleville 5-1 in front of 2,134 fans.
On July 13, 1950, West Frankfort hosted the Mississippi–Ohio Valley League All-Star Game.
In 1951, the stadium hosted an exhibition game featuring local semi-pro team, the Orient Miners of the Southern Illinois Semi-Pro League played a barnstorming professional team at the park. Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Satchel Paige pitched for the barnstormers, who won 3–1. Ned Garver and future Hall of Famer Earl Weaver were also on the professional team.
Memorial Stadium went largely unused after the Cardinals left following the 1950 season. Eventually, the land was sold to the US Government and, in 1956, became the site of the National Guard Armory at 802 West Main Street.
Baseball Hall of Fame Alumni
- Earl Weaver (1948) Inducted, 1996
The team is the subject of the book: Season of Change: Baseball, Coal Mining, and a Small Town's Struggle to Beat the Odds (2011) by author Toby J. Brooks.
Team history and rare photos of Memorial Stadium: http://www.westfrankfortcardinals.com/
- The Team Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- "Baseball in West Frankfort". Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- "West Frankfort, Illinois Encyclopedia". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- "1950 West Frankfort Cardinals". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- "Baseball in West Frankfort, Illinois". Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- "Miners to honor W.F. Cardinals August 30". West Frankfort Daily American. August 8, 2008. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- "In Loving Memory of Memorial". Official website. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- "Illinois State League 1947". Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- "Game One". Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- Jim Muir; Dave Broy (October 16, 2012). "The Original Southern Illinois 'Miners'". Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- Toby Brooks. Season of Change: Baseball, Coal Mining, and a Small Town’s Struggle to Beat the Odds. Chaplain Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9847362-0-1.