And Now You Know: Orange considered as home for a professional baseball team
Published 12:01 am Saturday, November 20, 2021
In May 1950, there were excellent prospects for Orange to become the home of a professional baseball team in the Gulf Coast League.
Southeast Texas already had two pro teams, the Exporters were in Beaumont and the Sea Hawks were based in Port Arthur. It was possible that Orange would be the home of a third team.
The Lufkin Angels were a Class C team in the Gulf Coast League and the owners had announced they were moving the team from Angelina County and had chosen Orange as a favorable location.
A representative of the owners of the Angels had recently been in Orange and had attempted to broker a deal to move the team to Orange. Local people interested in having the team relocate to Orange had done some favorable work and had received favorable responses.
Bringing the Angels to Orange would necessitate making a deal with the Orange Board of Education for the use of West End Park, at least for the remainder of the current season. There would be advantages for the school such as installing adequate lighting which would make night games possible for high school baseball, adding additional seating, more interest in baseball and better training for the high school team, and additional revenue for the school athletics program. The board was expected to give the proposal serious consideration as it was expected to be discussed at the next regular board meeting.
Representatives of the Lufkin club said they had the necessary lights so only a short time would be needed to get West End Park ready for night baseball.
The Gulf Coast League season was about one-fourth completed and if the Angels moved to Orange all the remaining home games would be played in West End Park.
The Lufkin club had not been too successful but was ahead of the Port Arthur Sea Hawks. The Angels were in fifth place with 11 wins and 20 losses. The Sea Hawks were in last place with 7 wins and 23 losses.
The reason for moving the Angels from Lufkin was poor attendance, the team officials stated.
Angels manager Carl Carter had hopes of strengthening the team as major league teams were beginning to send players down to the Class C teams.
The principal weakness of the Angels was the outfield where a complete change over seemed to be needed. The Angels also needed at least one more good pitcher. Making these changes would probably make the team a first-class contender overnight.
Orange had been invited to enter a team in the Gulf Coast League when it was formed in 1949, but at that time local financing was not sufficient to support a team in Orange.
Under the current proposal the city would be able to get a professional ball team to move to Orange with little or no local money invested in the deal.
For whatever reason, the Angels did not relocate to Orange, instead on July 15, 1950, the team moved to Leesville, Louisiana and became the Leesville Angels.
Leesville ended the season in fourth place with a record of 75 wins and 70 losses. The team did not return for the 1951 season.
The Gulf Coast League dissolved after only three years.
“And now you know.”