From the Northport Nine to the Big Leagues


Welcome, Spring
The crack of the bat can be heard once again with the start of baseball season in our area! Northport and East Northport have a long tradition of organized baseball leagues, dating back to around 1907.
Judge Richard Hawkins moved into Northport from Ronkonkoma where he and his family had been famous as the Hawkins Nine- once in Northport he formed the Northport Nine. The team got uniforms and began its first year of ball in fields across from the train station. 

Northport's baseball grounds, 1910
Growing Crowds

As the summer progressed, the Northport Nine were successful in beating a number of teams, including a clash against Cold Spring Harbor- won on the strength of good pitching by a fellow named Eberspeacher.
The next week, two of Richard Hawkins' brothers helped drive in the winning run against Port Jefferson. By mid-summer, the ball games were playing to crowds of over 500 spectators.

Northport High School Baseball team, 1932: Rear: Wittingfeld, Carrick, Freudenberg, Miller, Conklin, Morris, Smith, Tiffany, Henschel; Middle: Laffman, Nolan, Kessler, Cooper, Kast, A. Dickerman; Front: Windus, Tiffany, Robb
The Little World Series

In the 1930s, people looked to baseball for entertainment during the Great Depression. Two ball teams at this time, the East Northport Holy Nine and the Northport Athletic Club formed an intense rivalry within the Suffolk County League.

In 1933, they were pitted against each other in the “Little World Series.” Northport initially pulled ahead, but East Northport gave them a run for their money. In the end Northport Athletic Club became champions.

Northport Athletic Club, League Champions, 1933
Dodger Drafts

In the 1940s, the Invaders, a team that played both baseball and basketball, competed for Northport in the Suffolk County league, led by Bill Ketcham. Ketcham was a star athlete in Northport High School who played for the Invaders after WWII. A great pitcher and home-run hitter, he was drafted by the Dodgers and in 1949 played for their minor league team. His friend, Bob Chipman, who graduated from Northport High School in 1938, was also drafted to the Dodgers and played in the majors from 1941-1951. Bob’s sister Ruth, later married Bill Ketcham.

Our Own Bobby Wine

Another Northporter who made it to the major leagues was Bobby Wine. Wine was a short-stop, who began his career in 1960 with the Phillies, and was then traded to the expansion team, the Expos in 1969, playing there until 1972.

Bobby has the distinction of being the final out in Sandy Koufax’s no-hitter against the Phillies on June 4, 1964. Wine also has the honor, along with first baseman Bob Bailey, of executing the first triple play in Expos’ history on June 25, 1969.

To round out his career, Bobby and the Expos were facing a double-hitter against the Giants on April 26, 1970. The Expos had lost the first game 11-1, but Bobby helped them win the second game by catching Willie Mays off the bag with the hidden ball trick!

The Photo Collection

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