NYPL commissioners makes it official, the era of professional baseball in Batavia has ended
In 1939, the New York-Penn League (NY-P League) was founded in Batavia, NY (formerly known as the Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York (PONY) League), and has been the oldest, continuously operated CLASS A league in professional baseball.
As one of the founding members of the League, the Batavia club has proudly provided affordable, family entertainment for the Batavia community and Western New York for decades.
Unfortunately, Major league Baseball has announced it will no longer continue to offer Major League Baseball club affiliations to Batavia and most of the other clubs in the New York-Penn League.
The result of Major League Baseball’s action means the end of professional baseball in Batavia.
Major League Baseball’s announcement was part of other sweeping changes being made to the player development structure of the Minor Leagues, which includes the elimination of the Rookie classification and the NY-P League’s Class A – Short Season classification of professional baseball.
In sum, Major League Baseball believes these classifications are no longer needed for developing its players.
NY-P League President, Ben Hayes, recently stated, “The elimination of this historic League as part of Major League Baseball’s player development system is truly heartbreaking for the NY-P League’s fans, communities, club employees, and club owners.
"Sadly, most of the NY-P League’s clubs played their final professional baseball games in 2019, and neither they nor their fans knew at the time that it would be their last professional baseball season.
"The elimination of these classifications of professional baseball by Major League Baseball will result in thousands of players, who would have had an opportunity to develop and compete to play in the Major Leagues, will no longer get the chance to live their dream.
"I’ve been working with Batavia Interim City Manager, Rachael Tabelski, over the past several months to ensure the Batavia community will continue to enjoy the play of live baseball at historic Dwyer Stadium.”
During its professional baseball history, the Batavia club enjoyed four NY-P League championships, and Batavia’s fans saw numerous players who went on to have exceptional Major League careers, including Steve Blass, Doc Ellis, Cito Gaston, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and many others.
In 1961, the Batavia club made history when the Pittsburg Pirates named Gene Baker as the Batavia club’s manager, making him the first African American to manage a professional baseball club.
Prior to the 2008 season, the club was operated by Genesee County Baseball Club, a nonprofit community-based organization. From 2008-2017, the club was operated by the Rochester Red Wings, and in 2018 and 2019 by a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NY-P League.
In 2019, the Batavia club won the Pickney Division championship and competed for the NY-P League championship, increased its attendance by 42 percent, and won an award for the best natural turf field in the NY-P League.