MEMORIES OF PERKASIE
Perkasie Junior Legion Baseball
Image from the Perkasie Historical Society Collection
Last year, a photograph of a Perkasie Junior Legion Baseball team was used in our museum sports display. Unfortunately, the back of the photo was not labeled with the year of the team. It was labeled with some of the players names, one of whom was Harold “Hal” Swartley.
Hal Swartley, who went on to become a Pennridge teacher and coach, identified the team as being from the 1945 era. Perkasie had very good Junior Legion teams during those times. In 1945 they played Coplay in the Southeastern Pennsylvania playoffs. Coplay had a dominant left-handed pitcher named Curt Simmons. The Perkasie team was eliminated from the playoffs after losing two games to Coplay. Later, Coplay would become the Pennsylvania Legion Champions and Curt Simmons would go on to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The games were played at the Second Street Playground field. Hal Swartley noted that the grandstands had been constructed during the depression as part of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project They were painted green just as they are today.
Dave Mann, another member of the 1945 team narrowed the photo date to 1944. Many members of the 1944 team played again in 1945. Dave also remembers the first Coplay game when Curt Simmons held Perkasie to a single hit by Chuck Strouse. He also recalled that after the games, the Legion would treat the players to dinner at the Mayflower or American House Restaurants.
Perkasie would draw players from Sell-Perk and Hilltown High Schools for the team. Perkasie Junior Legion would play teams from Lansdale, Quakertown and Doylestown.
Thanks to Hal Swartley and Dave Mann for the information and for identifying the team photo.
Rick Doll 2020
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