Norwood has a history of baseball. This page gives a sampling of that history.

   As an indication that baseball was being played in early Norwood, Mulford & Betty's 1894 book said that "Norwood had a berth in the old Highland League a few years ago, and the Norwoods of 1893 ... created something of a stir in the world of amateur baseball players."

    Some of the earliest games of "base ball" in Norwood were played on any open field before development of the subdivisions reduced the number of places to play. Some of these places were the land behind Town Hall (now City Hall) and a field on the east side of Smith Road, near where Smith intersects Montgomery Road. The area was later developed as the Chevrolet/Fisher Body facility and more recently as Central Parke, a commercial/retail center.

   The site at Smith Road may have been named "Langdon Field" for one of the early land owners, J. G. Langdon, but was often just called "Norwood Park." The listing in the 1913-14 Williams' Norwood Directory is "Norwood Ball Park, Smith Road south of Montgomery Pike." The 1915 Williams Cincinnati & Hamilton County Directory also recorded the "Norwood Ball Park" as being located at Smith Road, south of Montgomery Pike.

   Both amateur and semi-pro teams played here and, on at least one occasion, a couple of Cincinnati Reds players used the field for practice while staying at the Sanker Inn. For more information, see the 1912 article about Gasper and Clark below. In 1916 and 1917, the Norwoods of the Interstate League won the National Baseball Federation's world semipro championship.

   When a third professional major league was started, a representative from the Sanker Inn tried to persuade the Federal League to give Norwood a franchise. If they had been successful, the team would have played at the Norwood Park and Norwood would have been a major league baseball town — at least for a short time, until the league failed; it existed from 1914-15, with teams in Chicago, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Brooklyn, Baltimore, Kansas City, Buffalo and Indianapolis/Newark.

   Some of the teams that were based in Norwood were: Norwood Inn Baseball Team, Bullock Electric Manufacturing Company's Baseball Team, Norwood Baseball Club, Norwood Nationals (maybe the 1916 and 1917 semi-pro world champion Norwoods), and, possibly, the (Norwood) Shamrocks.

   Other past or present Norwood baseball fields are:
  • Henderson Field at Montgomery Road and Madison Avenue (that section of Madison Avenue is gone, having been absorbed into Surrey Square — it would be between the main entrance to the shopping center and Monroe Avenue; the name probably was in reference to the adjacent Henderson Lithographing Company, which was later made a division of the Strobridge Lithographing Co.; this site was also the location of the Norwood Spring Festivals in the 1920s);
  • Allison School Field from Allison Street School grounds to Montgomery Road (the actual name for this ball field is not known);
  • Dorl Field (which appears to have taken the "Norwood Ball Park" name after the loss of the original on Smith Road - see 1932-33 Williams' Norwood Directory) between Beech, Robertson, Kenilworth and Linden Avenues;
  • Upper Millcrest in West Norwood;
  • Water Works Park at Harris Avenue in East Norwood and
  • Dacey's at the (northwest?) corner of Edwards Road and Williams Avenue (a Goldstar Chili restaurant and I-71 may occupy this site now).

— 1896 —


    The Norwood Inn Ball park, at end of Edwards road division of Madison Pike electric, can be had for week day games by addressing Manager, Base Ball Grounds, Hyde Park P.O. There will be a Sunday morning game next Sunday and the Lone Stars play the O'Bryonvilles in the afternoon."
   —Cincinnati Times-Star, Thursday, August 20, 1896; 3:3.

— 1899 —

    At the turn of the century, many of the Norwood base ball teams must not have belonged to leagues, since they often put requests and taunts in the newspapers for opponents. The semi-professional teams even signed players. For examples:

"Sporting News

    Manager Eddie Kolb of the Norwood Inn team is anxious to secure the services of Robert Garnier, pitcher for last year's Quincy team."
   —Cincinnati Times-Star, Saturday, April 8, 1899; 3:3.

"Sporting News

    The base ball nine of the Bullock Electric Manufacturing Company of East Norwood, are desirous to book games with shop teams in or out of the city. The shop and office teams played Saturday afternoon. The shop team won. Score 7 to 4.

   Manager "Eddie" Kolb of the Norwood Inn Base Ball team would like to hear from the Gyms, Bond Hills, Covington or Price Hills in regard to arranging games. Pedigo, who pitched for the Augusta (Ga.) team last year, has been signed by Kolb."
   —Cincinnati Times-Star, Tuesday, April 25, 1899; 3:3.

"Sporting News

    The refusal of the Bond Hill team to accept the challenge of Eddie Kolb's Norwood Inn team, comes with little surprise. The Norwood Inn team will in all probability open the season Sunday, May 7."
   —Cincinnati Times-Star, Saturday, April 29, 1899; 2:5.

— 1902 —

    "The Norwood Baseball Club has elected the following officers to serve during the season of 1903: President, E. W. Jewell; Vice-President, George E. Mills; Treasurer, Orrin N. Littell; Secretary and Manager, Llewellyn Evans; Assistant Secretary, W. C. Hattersley. The Board of Directors are composed of these officers and Judge Aaron McNeill and W. G. Betty."
   —Cincinnati Enquirer, Monday, November 3, 1902; 2:8.

Ages of the people named (based on other documents):
     E. W. Jewell, Sr. was 58.
     George E. Mills was 33.
     O. N. Littel was, or within less than a month of, 38.
     Llewellyn Evans may have been 21.
     William C. Hattersley was 40.
     Aaron McNeill was 58.
     W. G. Betty was a month from 43.

— 1909 —

There were at least a baseball player and a manager living in Norwood in 1909-10.

F. C. Bancroft, base ball manager, lived with his wife Anna M. at 3935 Spencer Avenue.
Frank C. (Francis Carter) Bancroft (b. May 9, 1846, Lancaster, MA; d. March 30, 1921, Cincinnati, Ohio)

Managing Career:
   1880 NL Worcester .482 5th place
   1881 NL Detroit .488 4th place
   1882 NL Detroit .506 6th place
   1883 NL Cleveland .567 4th place
   1884 NL Providence .750 1st place — also, won the 1st "World Series" that year
            (this was before our modern World Series)
   1885 NL Providence .482 4th place
   1887 AA Philadelphia .473 5th place
   1889 NL Indianpolis .368 7th place
   1902 NL Cincinnati .562 4th place

   Bancroft introduced baseball to Cuba in 1869 (1879?) when he took a touring team to the Caribbean. He won the unofficial "first World Series" with the Providence Grays in 1884. He spent 30 years as business manager for the Cincinnati Reds. He became the Reds interim manager July 11, 1902, when Bid McPhee resigned. Bancroft holds the record for the most teams managed — 7; all were in the National League, except Philadelphia, which was in the American Association.
—various sources

John H. Bierkortte, base ball player, resided at 1773 Lincoln Avenue. His name may have been spelled in some documents as Bierkoette and Bierkotte. At this time (1909-10), he played for the Jacksonville Jays and Augusta Tourists, two minor league teams in the South Atlantic League. Prior to playing for Jacksonville in 1907, he was on the Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League's Mattoon-Charleston and Vincennes Reds teams. It appears that he may have started his professional career in 1904 with Vincennes and ended in 1910 with Augusta.
Williams Norwood Directory - 1909-10.

— 1912 —

   (Pitcher Harry) Gasper returned to this city owing to the illness of his wife, while (Catcher Tom) Clark accompanied him. Both men will work out on Monday and Tuesday at the Norwood ball park. They will join the Red squad when it passes through this city en route to Columbus for a two-game series."

    Because the B.& O. tracks ran alongside the Norwood park, it is logical to assume that the Red's train would pass along its rails on the way from Chattanooga to Columbus for the next two games. Clark and Gasper probably caught the train at either the East Norwood station near Forest and Harris Avenues or the Norwood station at Station and Foraker Avenues – both within easy walking distance. The C. L. & N. R.R. tracks were also close to the field and they could have caught that train at either the East Norwood or Norwood Park stations, also.

Harry Gasper    Tom Clark

  The Reds' schedule had them practicing at Chattanooga on Monday and Tuesday (the same days that Gasper and Clark would be at Norwood) and playing at Columbus Wednesday and Thursday, and at Cincinnati against Boston on Friday, Saturday and Sunday."

   The Friday game was Opening Day, April 5, 1912 — the first-ever game at Redlands/Crosley Field. The Reds' officers mentioned in the article were: President Herrmann and Manager Hank O'Day.
The Commercial Tribune, Sunday, March 31, 1912.

             FORTH ON BALL FIELD
   Commercial Tribune and Associated
   Press Teams Will Hook Up
   Next Sunday Morning.
   The Commercial Tribune baseball team will play the Associated Press next Sunday morning at the Norwood ball park. Both teams are in the best shape and a good game is expected ..."
   —The Commercial Tribune, Sunday, March 31, 1912.

— 1914 —

   Ed Rohrer, manager of the Shamrocks and Norwoods, said Wednesday he had signed Chic Smith and Reggy Short. Rohrer claims he signed Short for Middletown, but has not decided where either will play."
   —The Cincinnati Post, Wednesday, January 28, 1914.

   Note: An Edward M. Rohrer, solicitor, was listed in the 1913-14 Williams' Norwood Directory as living at 2944 Elvin Avenue with wife Agnes C.

— 1916 —

Norwood baseball team will open its season Sunday against Lick Runs.  Mayor Engelhardt, of Norwood, Cliff Martin and others will make speeches."
   —The Cincinnati Post, Thursday, April 13, 1916; 7:8

   John Spinney's Minor Leaguers, including four former Federal Leaguers, Bartley, Badel, Chapman and Hannigan, will go to Norwood Park Sunday to meet the Norwood team.
   Frech or Franz, who downed Norwood last season, will be on the mound opposed to Hewitt."
   —The Cincinnati Post, Saturday, April 22, 1916; 6:7

   Note:Except for possibly Lore Verne Bader, who played for the Giants in 1912 and the Red Sox in 1917-18, and Harry Chapman, who played for the Chicago Cubs in 1912, Cincinnati Reds in 1913, the Federal League's St. Louis Terriers in 1914-15 and St. Louis Browns in 1916, information on the other men as Federal League players has not be found.

   "Dumont of the Norwood Nationals held the Carthage Lindens to one lone bingle. Dumont's performance was the more noteworthy because he also fanned 13 and did not give a pass.
   There were also several surprises: Norwood beat All Pros, 11 to 6, ..."
   —The Cincinnati Post, Monday, April 24, 1916; 6:7 (from a column by Ben Dahlman)

The Norwood World Champion Base Ball Team ?
(This may be the Norwood team that won the National Baseball Federation's semipro world championship in 1916 and 1917)

— 1918 —

"Norwood To Lose
  Title By Default
    Unless Semies Stir

   Cincinnati will not be represented in the National Baseball Federation semipro race this year unless semipros get busy.
   The Queen City the past two years has been represented in the N. B. F. thru the Interstate League, made up last year of 18 clubs.
   But so far this year no semipro organization has sought recognition from the Amateur Commission, and unless the semipros get together and organize, Cincinnati will be left out in the cold.
   The Amateur Commission, as the parent baseball body here, has the say as far as the National Baseball Federation is concerned. The commission, however, does not intend to run after the semipros.
   Lack of activity on the part of the semipros means the Norwoods, two-time world semipro champions will be out of the race. However, if they decide to organize and ask recognition of the Amateur Commission they must have at least four clubs lined up in accordance with the constitution of the N. B. F.
   The Amateur Commission Monday unanimously decided not to arrange for a Class AA amateurs, which would have lifted the bars to semipro teams who desired to play as amateurs, but wanted to charge admission to games.
   The commission agreed such rearrangement would not be fair to the little fellows and if adopted would cause considerable dissatisfaction in amateur ranks."
   —The Cincinnati Post, Tuesday, January 22, 1918; 2:1

"Seven Clubs Desire
  To Play In National
    Baseball Federation

   Cincinnati semipros will not permit their franchises in the National Baseball Federation to go by default. They want a place in the sun, and will meet in a few days to name a committee to call upon the Amateur Commission (...unreadable...) semipro committee be named to lead them.
   The committee probably will be headed by Rohrer, president of the Norwood Club.
   The Norwood team twice won the world semipro championship, and Norwood wants that club to remain in the N. B. F. and win a third championship.
   The announcement in The Post Tuesday that the Amateur Commission, which represents the N. B. F. here, would not make an effort to organize semipros, caused a stir among the semis.
   The commission apparently has decided to ignore the semipros, but the latter are awaiting a call for the distribution of surplus money from last year's Interstate Assocation. There remains a balance of $240, it is said.
   The semipros want to know why the Commission's committee has not called them together to arrange for the distribution of this coin. The Hamilton, Krebs, Tristates, Senates, Norwoods and Locklands have money coming from last year's race.
   At least seven teams want to play under the (...unreadable...) this season. They are the Hamilton Krebs, Tristates, Norwoods, Senates, Potters, Bellevues and L. B. Harrisons.
   "If the Amateur Commission insists we call, we will, but it would seem no more than fair that the Commission's Interstate League Committe call a meeting and distribute money left from last year's race," said a semipro manager."
   —The Cincinnati Post, Wednesday, January 23, 1918; 3:8