Photograph courtesy of the Digitalballparks Collection
We have to go way back in Southern Tier history to arrive at the birth of Johnson Field. So far back in fact that Johnson City wasn't Johnson City yet. It was called Lestershire NY, and it was home to the Binghamton Bingoes of the Class B NY State League. Binghamton is actually one of 3 large towns / small cities that co-exist together, mostly under the name of Binghamton, but known more to the locals as the "Triple-Cities". Lestershire which was very soon to become known as Johnson City and Endicott make up the other two "town cities" in this part of the Southern Tier. The league that ruled this part of the universe was known as the New York State League (even though half the teams it supported were from Eastern Pennsylvania) and began in 1899 (but had two other attempts at forming in 1885 and 1889). The league was sort of the precursor for two other leagues which would rise from the ashes of the NYSL... the NY Penn and the Eastern League (and many of these teams would wind up playing in the Triple-A International League as well). These included Amsterdam, Albany, Syracuse, Utica, Elmira, Troy, Reading, Harrisburg, Scranton and Wilkes Barre. The Bingoes were prominent throughout the league's entire history... from day 1899 until the league folded after the 1917 season. When Johnson Field was erected in 1913, the Bingoes moved 3 miles west to Lestershire from Binghamton, keeping their nickname intact. They were immediately comfortable in the huge new home which would house all Binghamton professional teams for the next 50 years. Featuring many future Major Leaguers and with the stability of their new home, the Binghamton Bingoes immediately shot to first place.