New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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1887 The N.O. The Pelicans make their professional debut


The Pelicans made their professional debut on April 17, 1887 as a member of
the Southern Association. In their first outing, the Pels defeated Mobile, 5-2,
then went on to win 75 games against 40 losses and win the pennant.

The “Golden Era” of the team ran from 1901 through 1938 when the Pelicans finished in the first division all but five times. During that period, 10 pennants flew above Heinemann Park.

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"Play ball" was a familiar refrain in
New Orleans for the major portion of the 20th century, when the old Pelicans
were a mainstay of the Crescent City's sporting life. Founded in 1887, the
Pelicans played in several leagues before joining the newly formed Southern
Association in 1901, and between then and 1943, New Orleans won 10 pennants.
Larry Gilbert, the first Orleanian to play in the major leagues and in the World
Series, guided the Pels to five pennants (1923, 1926, 1927, 1933 and 1934). The
Pelicans served as training ground for, at various times, the Cleveland Indians,
St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. By the 1950s,
however, television was bringing major league baseball into most homes, and
attendance at games started flagging. After the 1959 season, the original
Pelicans were gone.

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