The sport of baseball has always played a role in the culture of Perkasie, from its early history of club teams to its role as the center of baseball making in the sport’s golden era. But a decade before the Hubbert family starting producing balls here for the major leagues in the 1920s, Perkasie had its biggest baseball day.
Baseball stars Coombs, Morgan, Bender and Oldring in the lost 1911 film, The Baseball Bug
On October 7, 1909, Perkasie’s town baseball team challenged the greatest team in Philadelphia sports history, Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics, to a game across from Menlo Park. The outcome was as predicted, but it is still an incredible story.
It’s hard for use to imagine how important baseball was in 1909 in America’s culture. Earlier in the year, the Athletics opened the first steel-and-concrete baseball stadium, the ultra-modern Shibe Park, in Philadelphia. Perkasie had a town baseball team in the 1880s and the Central News in 1887 had its own team, led by Charles Baum.
Perkasie took part in a strong regional baseball group, the North Penn League, and was coming off a good season. The Central News (and Borough residents) were outraged that three bad decisions by “Umpire Griffith” cost the team the pennant in an away game at Ambler. Its star player, South Perkasie’s Joe Eldridge, was the league’s best pitcher. For insurance, the team added the league’s best home run hitter, Jimmy Cressman, who played for Souderton’s club, for the Athletics game. Cressman was the only North Penn League player to hit a home run off a major league pitcher.