Now that we’re in the ‘ber’ months of the year, some might think it’s time to move indoors for activities. But in our region, that was anything but true in September 1922.
Around Oneonta today, baseball at Damaschke Field ends around August 1, but games were still being played in the first weeks of September 100 years ago.
When the September 8 edition of The Oneonta Star was delivered, there was a headline on the local news page, “Your Presence Required.”
Readers learned, “Every Oneontan who loves baseball and appreciates the great performance the Bridwell Giants have put on the field this season, should be at the game today.” It was after Labor Day that year. “Paychecks are due for the final month of play, and the rainy weather associated with some canceled games leaves the association, in a good way, financially strapped as the final month draws to a close.
“Employers are asked to give whatever assistance they can to spare holidays after 4pm so they can see this game.”
Apparently everything worked out, as there was no follow up in the days to come. What also might have helped secure those needed funds was a special attraction at what was then Neahwa Park Field. Help came from outside the city limits.
In that same edition it was reported: “On Tuesday next week the last baseball game of the 1922 season to be played at Oneonta will be when the Unadilla Athletics and the Brooklyn Dodgers, with their regular roster , will be on hand to show fans what’s happening in baseball.
Unadilla fielded an outstanding team that season and defeated Oneonta days earlier at Neahwa Park to close out their regular seasons. It was more or less an exhibition game.
In the September 13 edition of The Star, came the report of an excellent contest, but no number of entrants. It was a 10-inning affair, and Brooklyn escaped a wild comeback from Unadilla, winning 9-7.
It may have been a bit late in the season for a picnic, but as The Star reported on Sept. 20, “Wilber’s Park Hut is complete, just needs a stove to get it ready. to be used immediately.” This is the large pavilion on the upper level of the park.
“The floor of the open and closed parts is cement. The kitchen is large, being of sufficient size for the preparation of meals for any picnic that one may wish to organize there. The sink is white porcelain, with a long, wide drainboard on the left, angled and grooved to allow water to drain into the sink. Tables have been built and placed in the building, but there are no benches yet. The water supplied comes from a spring a short distance up the hill.
September was traditionally New York’s Central Fair month, but after its conclusion, The Star of September 25 reported, “Oneonta may have attended its last fair, as the future of the Oneonta Union Agricultural Society is uncertain.” It is very likely that the shares held by the estate of the late George I. Wilber, which are considered a controlling interest, will be sold.
It was feared that the fairgrounds would be turned into new housing, which eventually happened, becoming the Belmont Circle area. However, the last fair was held in 1926.
At the end of September, The Star of September 27 reported: “Horse races, gun matches, a boxing match, 15 track and field events and a baseball game between the Oneonta police force and the Schenectady champion ‘cops’… are the main attractions for Police Pension Field Day tomorrow afternoon starting at 2pm at the Neahwa Park Sports Field. Members of State Police C Troop also attended and participated in events.
September 29 star readers learned, “A red letter day in the history of the Oneonta Police Department as well as in the annals of sports in the city was yesterday. The weather was perfect and the only unfortunate incident of the whole program was an accident in the half mile horse race in which Miss Helen Keenan and rider Bush fell with their horses but escaped uninjured more serious than minor cuts and bruises. Although no score was awarded, the Oneonta police won the baseball game.
Wednesday, our local life and times in September 1962.
Oneonta Town Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice a week. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area before 1950. His Wednesday columns deal with local history from 1950 and later.
If you have any comments or ideas for the column, write to him at The Daily Star or email him at [email protected] His website is www.oneontahistorian.com. His columns are available at www.thedailystar.com/opinion/columns/.