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Posted on: October 11, 2021

Unveiling and Dedication of the Ludington Mariners Exhibit

The Mason County Sports Hall of Fame, in collaboration with the Mason County Historical Society, is pleased to announce the unveiling and dedication of the Ludington Mariners exhibit that will be celebrated on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, at 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm at the Ludington City Municipal building located at 400 S. Harrison St., Ludington MI.  The exhibit entitled “The Ludington Mariners & The 100th Anniversary of their 1921 Championship Season”.  The event will feature the unveiling of the exhibit, and a feature presentation by Dr. Bill Anderson, former Director of Michigan Department of History, Arts, & Libraries, and noted historian.  Anderson is an award winning author of many Detroit Tiger books, and also:  “The Ludington Mariners—Minor League Baseball in A Maritime Community”.  A welcome will be given by Ludington City Manager, Mitch Foster, and short remarks by Rebecca Barringer, Director of MCHS, and Vic Burwell, President MCSHF, will precede Anderson’s presentation.  The unveiling and refreshments will follow.  The Community is welcome to attend, and there is NO ADMISSION fee.

NEW LUDINGTON MARINERS EXHIBIT

The Ludington Mariners played their inaugural game on May 24, 1912 as a member of the Michigan State League with teams representing cities in northwest Michigan the likes of Cadillac, Manistee and Traverse City in the lowest tier of minor league professional baseball.  

Eight years later and after lower-level minor leagues were eliminated by the manpower demands of World War I, Ludington’s professional team re-emerged in a class B league, the second highest level in minor league baseball competing against much larger city teams in Muskegon, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.

In the intervening years, professional baseball in Ludington began to attract more experienced managerial candidates who wanted to lead their teams.  George Mullin, five times a twenty-game winner, the most in Detroit Tiger history, applied for the manager’s position but Ludington had already hired its skipper.  In 1922, the local club signed Ambrose McConnell as its manager who had played for the Chicago White Sox alongside then future Hall of Famers Cy Young and Tris Speaker. 

The same increasing respect was evidenced by the higher quality of players Ludington attracted, exemplified when Ty Cobb, then player-manager of the Tigers, sent future major league pitcher Eddie Wells to the Mariners for development.

This was an era of minor league baseball before major league teams had minor league farm systems and all of the clubs were locally owned.  They managed to financially survive when they developed players who were purchased by the big-league teams. Five Mariner alumni actually played Major League Baseball.

The team’s crowning season occurred in 1921, when they won the Central League by an impressive margin and played a post-season championship series against a team from Ontario Canada and sold four fine players to MLB franchises.


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