History of Placer-Nevada League

By Chris Georgis

The Placer-Nevada Baseball League was founded by Allen “Scoop” Thurman of Colfax in 1923. “Scoop” as he was affectionately called was the Editor of the Colfax Record newspaper. The first officers elected to oversee the league were Tom Griffith of Grass Valley, President and “Scoop” Thurman of Colfax, Secretary. The following six teams composed the league: Lincoln, Roseville, Colfax, Auburn-Newcastle, Grass Valley North Star Mine and Grass Valley Empire Mine.

The Auburn-Newcastle team won the championship in 1923. A number of teams from various places entered the league, but for various reasons dropped out. However, the league was active until its demise in 1968. Teams winning championships were as follows:

Auburn-Newcastle 1923, Roseville Tigers 1924, Loomis 1925, Lincoln Potters 1926, Grass Valley Miners 1927, Auburn Cubs 1928 and 1929, Roseville Red Men 1930, Roseville PFE 1931, Auburn Cubs 1932, Roseville Red Men 1930, Roseville PFE 1931, Auburn Cubs 1932, Roseville Red Men 1933 and 1934, Placerville Outlaws 1935, Folsom 1936 Auburn Cubs 1937, Folsom 1938, Auburn Cubs 1939 and 1940, Lincoln Potters 1941. No championships during the war years 1942-45, but some teams remained active. Following the war these teams won the league title: Wolf & Royer out of Roseville 1946 and 1947, Placerville Bartletts 1948, Roseville Wolf & Royer 1949, Lincoln Potters 1950-52, Roseville Happy Hour 1953, Lincoln Potters 1954, Roseville Happy Hour 1955, Lincoln Potters 1956 and 1957, Chico Colts 1958, Marysville Twins 1959, Auburn Cubs 1960, Placerville Bartletts 1961-65, Marysville Giants 1966, Yuba Sutter Twins 1967 and Auburn Cubs 1968. Roseville teams won 10 championships, followed by Auburn with 9, Lincoln with 8 and Placerville with 7.

The first night game was played in Roseville in 1941. Most games were played on Sunday. Many games drew between 500-1200 fans. Passing the hat was a method used to obtain funds to offset the cost of umpires and equipment. Later programs were sold and advertisements were drawn on outfield fences. Players would leave their gloves in the outfield for opponents to use if they didn’t have any. You had a choice. Louisville Sluggers and Adirondacks were the bats used. Often we would use nails and tape on broken bats for reuse. Gloves were small as compared to today’s large ones. No helmets or gloves or other protective devices were known or available in those days. Uniforms were made of wool and became awfully hot during those summer days. Many players went on to play professional ball at one level or the other. Some major league players finished their playing in the Placer-Nevada League.

One other item of note: In 1951 the Japanese Americans of Penryn, JACL, entered the league after coming home from internment camps or from being in our Armed Forces. They played in the league until 1957. Many of their players went on to play with other teams in the league.

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