Sandlot Baseball: Once Orchestrated from 713 Otis Place

713 Otis Place, 1937

In the 1930s, sandlot baseball was a thriving summer pastime in Washington. Most readers would equate it with today’s little league organizations.

The heart and soul of the Columbian Athletic League– consisting of 23 sandlot teams in 1936 — was at 713 Otis Place, for it was there that 18-year-old Joseph Cohen lived with his family. In that year Cohen was president, publicity director, manager, treasurer and errand boy for the Columbian League.

To have some idea of the scale of such a responsibility, the Columbian League was made up of almost 300 b0ys in 1936. Teams were divided into the Peewee (boys under 15), Insect (boys under 16), and Midget (age limit 18) circuits.

Joe Cohen, president of the Columbian League at the age of 18

Cohen’s impetus to become involved arose from an event in 1932 when he was 14. While playing on a Peewee team that won the championship of its league, the gentleman running the league failed to deliver the promised trophies to the victors.

During a 1936 interview, Cohen said of the event, “I saw my duty and I did it. I organized the Columbian League — and we’ve always given the rewards promised.”

During the 1935 season, Cohen operated a clearing house for the league that was the city’s only organization existing solely to schedule games for teams. In that capacity he secured Griffith Stadium for the championship playoff and lined it up for the 1936 season as well. His success in running the league, however, also meant that his phone was frequently ringing. By the end of the 1936 season, Cohen was considering hanging it all up and pursuing a career as a sports writer.


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2 Comments on “Sandlot Baseball: Once Orchestrated from 713 Otis Place”

  1. ~~~mh Says:

    Great [hi]story! Thx for sharing.

  2. […] 1, there would again be a league forming to serve the community. Older residents may recall that the District once had a very active youth baseball program in the mid-Twentieth […]

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