Photographs courtesy of Harrisburg Senators
The wooden ballpark known as Island Park had many incarnations and that is probably because it was flooded out so many times. We will show you the three incarnations of the stadium (that we know of) in this gallery. Harrisburg Pennsylvania’s beautiful and tranquil City Island, located in the middle of the Susquehanna River has always been known as a flood zone and all of the ballparks that have survived here (and not survived here) have had to be resilient in order to endure. Island Park’s professional history dates back to 1900 but 1907 is when the ballpark became part of the original Tri-State League with York and Reading and Lancaster, Trenton, Williamsport, Wilmington, Altoona and Johnstown. Every one of these towns and especially Harrisburg, would contribute mightily to the history of Minor League Baseball. The Tri-State League was a high-ranking Class B league and almost every player in the lineup was about to be, or previous was a player in the Major Leagues. Future Cincinnati Reds’ Billy Campbell became Harrisburg’s first 20 game winner under the new Minor League agreement as he put up a 21-8 record in 1907. Future Cincinnati Reds’ Fred Smith would do him one better in 1908 putting up a 25-11 record. The Senators record for both seasons was nearly identical at 79-47 in 1907 and 80-47 in 1908… both records were just good enough for 2nd place. Over the next 3 years, the Senators dropped to 6th and then 7th place in the standings despite Merle Whitney (9 3B, 10 HR, .309) becoming the first Senators player to reach the double-digit mark in HRs in 1909. Much of the fall had to do with Fred Smith who had set the record for wins with 25 in 1908 only to set the record for losses with a 9-21 record in 1909. Former Reds/Braves Gus Dorner came to the team in 1911 after reaching the 26 loss mark in the Major Leagues in a single season in 1906. The team changed its name temporarily to the Harrisburg Ponies, but it didn’t take and they were back to being the Harrisburg Senators before long. Finally in 1912, behind .324 hitting Charles Miller, 18-8 Edward O’Connor and 18-9 Joseph Myers, the Harrisburg Senators would go 75-37 on the season, capturing 1st place and their 1st Championship trophy for Island Park.