The Brandywine Baseball Club

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The Brandywine Baseball Club
Baseball • West Chester

Around 1860 a group of players from West Chester began playing under the Brandywine name. In 1865, under the leadership of Civil War veteran and West Chester photographer Thomas W. Taylor and William B. Waddell, Esq., the Brandywine AA was formally organized. Waddell was appointed president and Taylor would serve 20 years as player, team captain, and /or chief executive. Tom Taylor is thought to have played second base for over 18 years without missing a game.

Some early local players included Nimrod Strickland, Ed Bateman, George Mercer, “Fatty” Wilson, George Mellor, Capt. R. T. Cornwell, Dr. H. C. Wood, Hoopes Matlack, Pierce Hoopes, Thomas Smith, T. C. Hogue, and “Squirrelly” Worrall.

One of Brandywine’s first games was a 31-8 loss to Excelsior of Westtown on November 18, 1865. Some early teams included Oxford, the Alerts and Eureka clubs from Coatesville, and Intrepid of Phoenixville.

Many towns and villages formed teams as baseball grew in the pre-1900 era; however, none would surpass the Brandywine Club. They played some of the best teams in the Philadelphia area and attracted quality players from throughout the county and beyond. Some think the 1886 team managed by W. P. Mercer was the best. They went undefeated including victories over “Chester, Camden, Harrowgate, Young America and all strong teams in and around Philadelphia.”

Many young players started or stopped in West Chester on their way to a professional career. Among them, starting in 1870, were Joe Battin, “Doc” Bushong, Bill McCloskey, “Sadie” McMahon, Mike Grady, “Bud” Sharpe, “Chappie Charles, and finally in 1910, a 16-year-old pitcher named Herb Pennock.

After not fielding teams from 1905 through 1909, plus 1921 and ’22, Brandywine AA, the greatest semi-pro team in Chester County history, played and won its last game, a 3-2 victory over Quarryville on September 10, 1923. Brandywine set the standard for Chester County teams to emulate.

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