Photograph © Steven L.J. Russo
In 1951 the Cayugas changed their name to the Auburn Falcons. Then, everything fell apart. Cornwall and Geneva disbanded in late June with a terrible draw at the gates (4,800 for Cornwall). Auburn who had only drawn 13,800 by July 1st, found themselves unable to continue any longer and left with Watertown. By July 10th the Border League had was bankrupt and came to their final end. The Falcons had gone 26-26 in their shortened season. Auburn’s Bob Dill’s and his.397 batting average in 1946 would go down in Border League history as their best hitter ever. Nobody came to Falcon Park’s rescue and the ballpark would go dark for another 7 very long seasons. It wouldn’t be until 1958 when the NY-Penn League finally decided to give Falcon Park a chance. Why they had waited this long to sign up Falcon Park to their roster… over 30 years after the ballpark originally debuted, remains a mystery, but was signed up and took over the Jamestown franchise. They were now on solid ground and the constant roller coaster rides of the Can-Am League and the Border League were now over. Auburn was immediately signed a new affiliation… the New York Yankees. Immediately the team found some swagger in their step as a young 17 year old kid came to camp from Brooklyn thinking he was already a superstar before he ever swung the bat. His name was Joe Pepitone and in his first year of pro ball, he would bat .321 in a very 16 games. Pepitone would be promoted to Class C ball in 1959 and by 1963 he became an All-Star outfielder… the first ever produced by Falcon Park. (He would also become a legend for his notoriously bad decisions in life). Future Senators’ Bud Zipfel provided the electricity batting .271 with 21 HRs as the Auburn Yankees finished with a 67-58 record finishing in 4th. They had made the playoffs in their inaugural season in the NY-Penn League where they promptly lost in the 1st round.