Dec. 6, 1919 – Pastime Athletic Club & Bathing Park Organized

Organized among the athletic boosters of Follansbee, the Pastime Athletic Club formed for the purpose of creating a baseball team and field facilities on the river bottom behind the present day James Funeral Home and the city firehouse.   The headquarters for the Pastime club were first located on the second floor of the Tony Leon building on upper Main Street. Business Manager, William Lake, had the responsibility for scheduling events and managing the park that reached its greatest popularity in the early 1920s.  (See The Golden Age of Pastime Park -Timeline 1922).

The enormous interest in the Pastime A.C. baseball team was illustrated by the 1920 series with the Weirton Steel team.  In the first game, the Herald Star estimated the attendance to be 5,000 at the Weirton Steelers field. Follansbee sent fully 2,000 rooters.  Four special street cars ran straight through to Weirton and returned immediately after the game.  Other rooters were loaded onto trucks and in automobiles. One group of fans known as “Bope’s Goat Getters” was led by Sam Baker of Follansbee.  They occupied the first base line and were easily identified by their red and white skull caps. The Moose lodge was the largest delegation attending with their ribbons bearing the letters “Moose Boosters.”   Over a hundred Pastime Club busters were also on hand.  The crowd was the biggest recorded in any ballpark in the upper Ohio valley so far that year.   The city of Weirton had 15 policemen on hand to keep the peace.

The first game of the series went poorly for Follansbee. Weirton’s explosive 6th inning with nine runs assured them victory. The Weirton Steel team won handily 13 to 1. The follow-up game was played at the new Pastime Park in Follansbee.   The biggest crowd of the year was registered as the enthusiasm for both teams was high. The city Chief of Police and the County Deputy Sheriff mustered a dozen more deputies to keep order. One fan was put in lock-up as arguments near the Weirton bench developed into fist fights. The game was close throughout with the Pastime Club coming back in the seventh and ninth innings before losing 9 to 7, giving Weirton the series.

The Pastime A. C. lineup included:  W. Ratcliffe (MF), Stockum (RF), Crum (RF & LF)), Hamilton (LF & P), Munn (1B & P),  R. Ratcliffe (SS), Wilcox (C & MF), Bounds (3B), McGannon (MF), Welch (C),  Stoops(RF),  and Grimm (P). As indicated some players were rotated into different positions during the game.

  • Steubenville Herald Star, “Pastime Athletic Club Organized,” December 12, p. 3.
  • Steubenville Herald Star, “Follansbee Cheer Squads Organize for Weirton Game,” August 14, 1920, p. 11.
  • Steubenville Herald Star, “Weirton Steel Club Swamps Pastimes …..,” August 16, 1920, p. 8.