A popular past time in pre-World War I Washington was baseball. Still, to call the sport popular is misleading. There was probably not a neighborhood or section of the city that wasn’t caught up in the game. Numerous amateur leagues sprang up across the area — such as the Sunday School League, the Railroad League, the Marquette League, and the Suburban League to name a few.
The District Suburban League organized sometime in mid-1908 with only four teams: Brightwood, Woodburn, Park View, and Petworth. The schedule for that season ran from September 1-24. The 1908 season was successful enough that it formally organized the following year and considered expanding from four teams to either six or eight teams. The four leading contenders for inclusion were Mouth Pleasant, Silver Springs, Takoma, and Rockville.
The Park View baseball diamond was likely located on this site, once part of Schuetzen Park
When the 1909 opening day began on May 3, the decision had been to only expand to six teams. Added to the original four teams were those from Takoma and the Reed Athletic Club. The season opener was between Park View and Brightwood at Park View’s diamond located at Georgia Avenue and Kenyon. In looking at real estate atlases of the period, the ball field would have to had been located on the east side of Georgia Avenue between Kenyon and Irving.
Southeast corner of Kenyon and Georgia Avenue today
The pairing of Park View and Brightwood for the opening of the season proved portentous, as both teams battled it out for the league Pennant that year. When Brightwood beat Park View with a score of 6 to 1 on July 27, 1909, the umpire had to be escorted off the field and taken to the police station for safety from the incensed crowd that threatened to mob the official.
The Park View nine ultimately prevailed, winning the Pennant in August in a game that reportedly drew a crowd of 1,200. The final score was 1 to 2 with all runs occurring in the first inning. To finish out the 1909 season the leading teams from eight popular leagues played off for the titles in two sections, A and B. Park View bested the Aggies (of the Independence league) 5 to 1 in Section B winning the trophy as a result. The other teams in Section B that year were A. S. and T. Co. of the Bankers League and the Station of the Railroad Y.M.C.A. league.
The Petworth Team, from the Washington Herald, Aug. 19, 1909
Oddly, Park View did not field a team in the 1910 season, though Silver Spring and Mount Pleasant did join the league. Mount Pleasant’s participation was short lived, however, as the 1911 roster of teams showed a return of Park View, included Petworth, Woodburn, Brookland, Silver Spring, and added Takoma.
The Petworth club was a mainstay throughout the league’s existence, and it was actually the loss of the Petworth ball field at Grant Circle and Upshur that caused the Suburgan League to collapse in April 1914.
The Brightwood Nine, from the Washington Herald, June 6, 1909
“Amateurs will open season tomorrow; prospects are bright in every league.” The Washington Post, May 2, 1909, S2.
“Enter Suburban League.” The Washington Post, June 28, 1910, 9.
“Page will pilot Suburban League.” The Washington Times, August 30, 1908, 2.
“Parkview cops the pennant.” The Washington Herald, August 18, 1909, 8.
“Pennant to Parkview.” The Washington Post, August 18, 1909, 9.
“Riot at ball game.” The Washington Post, July 28, 1909, 9.
“Suburban League Active.” The Washington Post, February 5, 1909, 8.
“Suburban League Circuit now definitely completed.” The Washington Post, March 25, 1911, 9.
“Suburban League to disband — two others may not reorganize.” The Washington Post, April 19, 1914, SP3.