Over 100 years ago, there was professional baseball being played in New Brunswick. The New Brunswick – Maine League was a Class D circuit that existed in 1913, before folding on August 23. The NBML had operated as an amateur league in 1912, before turning professional. The NBML almost speared a Maritime professional baseball league that would have begun in 1914 before the idea was stalled. The league was made up of four clubs.
The Pets won the championship in 1912 (the league was amateur/un-affiliated). They would later beat the Halifax Standards for the Maritime championship. The Marathons also played a post-season series in 1912, beating the Lawrence Barristers, champions from the professional New England League, two games to none. The Barristers roster featured four one-time Major Leaguers on there roster. Not sure how many would have played in this series.
Saint John Marathons
St. Croix Downeasters (Calais, ME and St. Stephen, NB but ballpark was located in Calais)
Houlton, Maine played in the 1912 amateur season
The league’s first and only professional champion was the Pets who finished with a 41-24 record, 2.5 games up on Saint John.
Major Leaguers Who Played in the NBML:
Seven players from the NBML had played in the Major Leagues at some point in their careers, three of which went on to play MLB after their time here (highlighted in italics) and the others were former Major Leaguers who were on the backend of their careers. In addition to these players, Pets manager Bob Ganley also played in the Majors. All players are linked to their Major League profile at Baseball Reference.
- Frank Connaughton, SS/2B/C, Bangor, 1913 – Boston Beaneaters, 1894, 1906; New York Giants 1896
- Joe Dolan, 1B/2B/SS, Bangor, 1913 – Louisville Colonels, 1896-97; Philadelphia Phillies, 1899-1901; Philadelphia Athletics, 1901
- Casey Hageman, P, Saint John, 1912 – Boston Red Sox, 1911-12; St. Louis Cardinals, 1914; Chicago Cubs 1914
- Andy Harrington, P, Fredericton, 1913 – Cincinnati Reds, 1913
- Merwin Jacobson, OF, St. Croix, 1913 – New York Giants, 1915; Chicago Cubs, 1916; Brooklyn Robins, 1926-27
- Billy Lee, OF, St. Croix, 1913 – St. Louis Browns, 1915-16
- George Magoon, 3B/2B, Bangor, 1913 – Brooklyn Bridegrooms, 1898; Chicago Orphans, 1899; Cincinnati Reds, 1901-03; Chicago White Sox, 1903
After the league folded, pro ball has yet to return to Calais/St. Stephen, Fredericton or Saint John. In fact, no pro team has played out of the province of New Brunswick since. There was, however, an attempt to form a Maritime professional league starting in 1914. The league would have included Halifax, Moncton, New Glasgow, Saint John and Stellarton. The league collapsed before playing a game due to financial demands laid on Halifax and Saint John from the Moncton and New Glasgow clubs.
It is believed in some circles, had World War One not broken out, Maritime baseball would have been integrated with minor league baseball across North America. During the 1920s and 30s, there was a strict emphasis on amateur baseball in the Maritimes (with the exception of the 1937-39 Colliery League). This came from the desire to create a level playing field for the Maritime championship.