As part of the celebration of baseball at
Mount St. Mary's, the Mount & Gettysburg College donned old-style uniforms
for a game on Sept. 29. Gettysburg College was the first team the Mount played
(10/4) They thought they were the
best baseball team ever, but no team is truly unbeatable even if they are the
“From 1896-1898 the players in Blue and
White were virtually unbeatable,” Frank Zarnowski wrote in A Century of Sports
at the Mount.
Though baseball had been played at the
Mount for generation, the 1898 team thought they had mastered the game as they
defeated other college teams, town clubs and even semi-professional teams. The
team’s secret weapon was Edward Kenna.
“For three seasons Kenna pitched and won
virtually every game,” Zarnowski wrote. “He also batted better than .500 for
his college career.”
Kenna would eventually go on to be the
first Mount player to play professional baseball. He played for the
Philadelphia Athletics in 1902.
But in 1898, “Edward Kenna, C’1898, and
his teammates were so confident of their abilities that they even challenged
the Washington Nationals of the National League (who later became the Senators)
to a game,” reported Mount Magazine.
That’s when the unstoppable team was
stopped in a big way on April 22, 1998. The Nationals defeated them 16-1. It
was a stunning defeat, but the Mount baseball games continued and still
continue to draw in the crowds.
Although the Mount is celebrating 125
years of intercollegiate baseball this year, baseball has been play at the
college for at least 138 years.
“After the Civil War, interclass and
interhouse baseball contests were a major recreation attraction,” Zarnowski
wrote. “The earliest reference to these contests dates to May of 1869 when the
Stonewalls pasted the Xanthas 38-29. High scores were the order of the day
since pitching rules required the hurler to place the pitch, underhanded, where
the batter wanted it.”
The first baseball field was developed
after the Civil War about 150 yards east of Sheridan Hall, according to
By 1872, the Mount began playing outside
teams and in 1883 a Baseball Association was formed on campus to arrange the
schedules for intercollegiate play. Helped along by Kenna’s powerhouse team,
the Mount won 75-80 percent of its games in the 1800’s. And winning teams
attracted the fans.
“By the end of the 19th century, baseball
was the sport on campus,” reported Mount Magazine. “Crowds for home games
ranged from 500 to almost 1,000 fans.”
Echo Field opened on April 17, 1902. However, the Mount lost its first game
there to Penn State.
While the Mount launched more than a few
major league careers. The most famous may have been Babe Ruth. In 1911, the
Mount played a St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. Campus legend has it that
a professional baseball scout discovered George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. during
the game. Whether or not that is true, the legendary baseball player visited
the campus many times during his 22-year professional baseball career.
Interest in baseball waned somewhat in the
1930’s and 1940’s, yet the college continued to field solid teams.
In 1989, the Mount moved to NCAA Division
I and became a member of the Northeast Conference.
“With the step up in competition, Mount
baseball struggled until recent years,” wrote Mount Magazine. “It’s now
This year, the Mount opened the E.T. Straw
Family Stadium, which was a $400,000 renovation to the existing facility.
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