PICO, the Parkesburg Iron Co. baseball team

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The Parkesburg Iron Co. baseball team
Baseball • Parkesburg

In the second decade of the 20th century, when baseball was becoming the national pastime, the Parkesburg Iron Co. baseball team (1917-21) took on all comers and developed into one of the great local teams of the era.

The man who established the ball club, popularly called the PICOs, was Horace A. Beale Jr., president of the Parkesburg Iron Co., which was one of the many businesses that sponsored company teams in those days.

Beale, a graduate of the Hill School and the University of Pennsylvania, took over the family business in 1900. At this time, the Iron Co. was a smooth-running operation, productively efficient and highly profitable. As a result, Beale turned his energies to the sporting life and he is most remembered for his baseball team.

Beale went beyond the bounds of Parkesburg to recruit the best possible players from the college and semiprofessional ranks for the team. They included established ballplayers like Joe Peploski, Fred Weise and Sid Agnew. Local baseball heroes included Ted Baldwin and Sal Reilly, both of West Chester, and Herb Steen of Coatesville.

Two Parkesburg residents, Jack Silknitter, who worked at the Iron Co., and John Miller were part of the 15-man roster. The team was managed by Si Pauxtis, a former University of Pennsylvania star.

During the five seasons, the PICOs had games against the Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, New York Giants, Philadelphia Athletics and Philadelphia Phillies that were attended by the thousands.

On Aug. 20, 1918, before what one newspaper account called the largest crowd to watch a game at PICO Field, the Detroit Tigers won, 4-0, in a morning game. Ty Cobb had a hit and a stolen base, scored two runs, and pitched two innings, according to a local newspaper’s report. In the afternoon of the same day, the PICOs lost, 2-1, to Connie Mack’s Athletics.

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