Remembering The Evangeline League: Harry Strohm
The Evangeline League was a minor league baseball league that ran in southern and central Louisiana from 1934-1957.
The league, which had it’s name taken from Evangeline, the epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, began as a 6-team class D league in 1934, and then expanded to 8 teams the next season, before shutting down for two seasons following the 1943 season due to World War II.
After resuming play in 1946, the Evangeline League remained a class D league, before being promoted to the class C level in 1949.
The league remained in operation until 1957, when two of the six remaining teams dropped out, suspending play that season with no champion being named.
The Evangeline League, which featured a betting scandal back in 1946, featured teams in cities such as Lafayette, Abbeville, Crowley, Opelousas, Rayne, Jeanerette, and Lake Charles.
Despite the stability of the league, the only franchise they lasted all 21 seasons was the Alexandria Aces, while New Iberia had a franchise every season, with the exception of the final one.
Because of the close proximity of the franchises, a number of heated rivalries developed, with crowds that would certainly quality as raucous, getting into it with umpires, players, managers, and one another.
It was an immensely popular league for over two decades, with some franchises actually outdrawing some Major League Baseball franchises, in terms of attendance.
All summer long we’ll be going back in time and look back at the Evangeline League, which was commonly referred to as the “Pepper Sauce League”, “Hot Sauce League”, or “Tabasco Circuit”.
Yesterday, we remembered Garth Mann
Today, Harry Strohm
Strohm, a right-handed hitting infielder, spent 13 seasons in the Evangeline League, between 1937-1949, serving as a player/manager in 10 of them, before handling strictly managing duties in three others.
A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Missouri, Strohm was a player/manager for the Opelousas Indians (1937-1938), Jeanerette Blues (1939), Port Arthur Tarpons (1941-1942), Abbeville Athletics (1946), New Iberia Cardinals (1947), Alexandria Aces (1947), and the Lafayette Bulls (1948-1949), while serving as a manger only for the Lafayette Bulls (1950) and the Alexandria Aces (1953-1954).
As a player, Strohm hit a .300 or better in six of his seasons in the Evangeline League, including a career-high .361 average in 1940, which led the league.
A career .309 hitter, Strohm played 23 season of minor league baseball, accumulating 3,486 hits, which ranks second in minor league history.
As a manager, Strohm guided the Opelousas Indians to an Evangeline League title in 1937.
Following his managing days, Strohm moved on to become a Major League Baseball scout for the Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City A's, Washington Senators, and Texas Rangers.
Strohm passed away in Lafayette, La. in 1975, at the age of 74.