The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Monday, May 14, 2007


In April, Mayor Tutunjian wrote San Francisco Giants owner Peter Magowan in an attempt to lure the San Francisco Giants back to Troy, NY for a few exhibition games.

"It is a well-known story around the city that when the National League urged Troy to drop out of baseball because of financial reasons, it bestowed upon the city the following respect: That the resignation of the... Troy B.B. Association are hereby accepted, and that the names of said clubs be placed on the roll of honorary League membership. That Troy B.B. Association team, the Haymakers, became the San Francisco Giants," Tutunjian said in his letter.

According to The Record, the Mayor said: "After the National League left Troy after the 1872 season, it promised to make the city an honorary league member and host four exhibition games a year." (May 9, p.7).

This is an intriguing idea, and in the hands of someone who a) knew what they were talking about and b)wasn't motivated by cheap political stunts, it might go somewhere (realistically, even in the hands of a competent person, the idea will go nowhere).

Mayor, we wish you had spoken to us before writing letters and issuing press releases.

If you write to Peter Magowan and/or Bud Selig you may want to know something about baseball history, the history of Mr. Magowan's team and the history of Troy's team.

Magowan owns the San Francisco Giants. As everyone knows, the Giant franchise moved from New York City to California in 1958. In NYC, the franchise was originally nicknamed the Gothams. The Giants franchise has no connection to the Troy Haymakers. None, zero, zilch, nada! The Haymakers played in the National Association for two years (1871-1872), not in the National League. There was no B.B. Association.

The Troy Trojans were an entry in the National League from 1879-1882. When the Trojans folded, several players were signed by the Gothams. You see, New York and Philadelphia were booted from the National League for a few years for not playing by the rules. Since the league couldn't exist for long without teams in two of the largest cities, New York City was granted a franchise in 1883. The two men granted the franchise also owned the New York Metropolitans, an American Association entry. Since the Trojans had folded, New York grabbed a few of the better players from the Trojans. That's the extent of the connection. The Trojans did not move to New York. It was not the same franchise and there was no overlapping ownership interest between the two teams.

The Troy Haymakers do have several claims to fame, one of which may have been of interest to Bud Selig. Professional baseball has become dominated by Latin American players. The Troy Haymakers employed Esteban Bellen, the first (or at least one of the first) Latin American player ever to play professional ball in the United States.

The other claim to fame may not be a selling point.

In 1869 Red Stockings toured the nation, playing games in New York, Boston, Washington, Cleveland, Chicago, and as far west as San Francisco. They played the best local teams they could find and annihilated them all, ending up with a record of 56 wins and one tie. The tie resulted when the Troy Haymakers walked off the field in the sixth inning with the scored tied 17-17 so that gamblers who had laid money on the Troy team could avoid paying off.

Of course, this is all wishful thinking. No professional baseball team is playing exhibition games in Troy, during the Spring. They are not coming here in October, while the World Series is under way. That leaves the regular season, where there's simply no time for a team to travel to Troy or Worcester or Hartford and play an exhibition game or two.

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