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Waco Tigers

Waco Tigers
Minor league affiliations
ClassClass B (1892)
Class C (1897)
Class D (1902–1903)
Class C (1905)
LeagueTexas League (1892, 1897, 1902–1903, 1905)
Major league affiliations
Minor league titles
League titles (0)None
Conference titles 1
Wild card berths (1)1903
Team data
NameWaco Tigers (1892, 1897, 1902)
Waco Steers (1903)
Waco Tigers 1905
BallparkPadgitt Park
Katy Park (1905)

The Waco Tigers were a minor league baseball team based in Waco, Texas. Between 1892 and 1905, the Tigers played in four non–consecutive seasons as members of the Texas League, with three of the seasons being partial seasons of play. The Waco Tigers hosted home minor league games at Padgitt Park until 1905, when the Tigers began play at Katy Park. The Tigers were succeeded by the 1906 Waco Navigators, who continued Waco's membership in the Texas League through 1919.


In 1889 and 1890, the Tigers were preceded in minor league play by the Waco "Babies," who played both seasons as members of the independent Texas League.[1][2]

The 1892 Waco "Tigers" rejoined the Texas League, which had evolved to become a Class B level league. Waco joined the league during the season.[3] Waco joined the league on July 23, 1892 with the San Antonio Missions, with those two teams replacing the Dallas Hams and Fort Worth Panthers, who had folded on July 7, 1892. Waco ended their season with a record of 15–18, playing the season under manager Pat Flaherty. No playoffs were held after the Houston Mudcats won both half-season standings. Waco had the third best winning percentage in the league.[4][5] The Texas League did not return to play in 1893.[6]

The Waco Tigers returned to minor league play in the 1897 season when the "Sherman–Denison Students" team of the Texas League relocated to Waco during the season.[7] On July 15, 1897, the Students moved to Waco with a 44–41 record. After compiling a 19–16 record while based in Waco, The Sherman–Denison/Waco Tigers team ended the 1897 season with an overall record of 63–57. The team was managed by Pete Weckbecker, Pearce Chiles and Joe Dowie.[8] The team placed second in the eight–team Class C level league standings, finishing 8.5 games behind the first place Galveston Sand Crabs.[9] In 1898, the Texas League reduced to six teams, without a Waco team.[10]

After a three year absence from the Texas League, the Waco Tigers rejoined the Class D level league for the 1902 season, folding before its completion. On July 8, 1902, Waco folded with a record of 26–36. Emmett Rogers was the Tigers' manager.[11][12][6]

The 1903 Texas League began play without a Waco team, but Waco resumed play during the season. On June 26, 1903, the Paris Parasites moved to Waco, where the team finished the season as the Waco Steers. Paris had a record of 32–20 at the time of the move to Waco. The team finished with an overall record of 52–56, placing fifth in the overall regular standings and losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Dallas Giants.[13][14][6] Waco did not filed a franchise in the 1904 Texas League, as the team resumed play in Paris.[15][6]

Waco played their final season as the "Tigers" in the 1905 Class C level Texas League.[16] The 1905 team was owned by Henry Fabian and the Tigers began play at Katy Park, designed by Fabian.[17] The Waco Tigers ended the 1905 season with a 65–65 record, placing fourth in the final standings. Don Curtis and Mike O'Connor served as managers, as Waco finished 5.5 games behind the first place Fort Worth Panthers.[18] Waco's Scott Ragsdale won the league batting title, hitting .292 and teammate Stan Stovall led the league with five home runs.[6] Fabian battled with Sunday laws in Waco. After being arrested three times for scheduling games at Katy Park on Sundays, Fabian took the matter to court and won at the state level. After the 1905 season, he sold the Waco team to a local businessman.[17]

Waco continued play in the 1906 Texas League, becoming the Waco Navigators.[19] The Navigators played continuously in the league through 1919.[20][6]

The ballparks

A post card of the Cotton Palace grounds from the Baylor University Texas Collection

The Waco Tigers and Steers played home minor league games at Padgitt Park through the 1904 season.[21] The park was founded in the 1880's.[22] The park was later purchased from owner and namesake Tom Padgitt and became known as the Cotton Palace.[23][24]

In 1905 the Tigers began play at Katy Park.[25] Designed by Waco owner and player Henry Fabian, the ballpark opened in time to host a presidential visit by Teddy Roosevelt on April 6, 1905.[17] Used through the 1960's, when it was torn down, the ballpark was located at the corner of Eighth Street & Webster Avenue in Waco.[26]

In April 1929, the New York Yankees with Babe Ruth played an exhibition game at the Katy Park against the Waco Cubs.[26]

On May 5, 1930, the first night baseball game in Texas took place at Katy Park. The game was between the Negro leagues' Kansas City Monarchs and the Waco Black Cardinals, a local team. The teams utilized the Monarchs' portable light system.[27][28] The Monarchs won the game, beating Waco by the score of 8–0.[29]

After the original ballpark was razed in the 1960s, it became a parking lot.[26] In 2020, the former ballpark site became a part of the "Magnolia Market at the Silos" renovation and the site was returned to a small ballpark.[30] Today, the new ballpark at the site is called "Katy Ballpark at the Silos."[31]


Year(s) # Yrs. Team Level League Ballpark
1892 2 Waco Tigers Class B Texas League Padgitt Park
1897 1 Class C
1902 1 Class D
1903 1 Waco Steers
1905 1 Waco Tigers Class C Katy Park

Year–by–year records

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs/Notes
1892 15–18 3rd Pat Flaherty Joined league July 23
1897 63–57 2nd Pete Weckbecker / Pearce Chiles
Joe Dowie
Sherman–Denison (44–41) moved to Waco July 15
No playoffs held
1902 26–36 NA Emmett Rogers Team folded July 8
1903 52–56 5th Ted Sullivan / Frank Coyle Paris (32–20) moved to Waco June 26
Lost in 1st round
1905 65–65 4th Don Curtis / Mike O'Connor No playoffs held


Notable alumni

See also

List of Texas League stadiums


  1. ^ "1889 Waco Babies/Texans Statistics".
  2. ^ "1890 Waco Babies Statistics".
  3. ^ "1892 Waco Tigers Statistics".
  4. ^ "1892 Waco Central City minor league baseball Roster on".
  5. ^ "1892 Texas League".
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Johnson, Lloyd; Wolff, Miles, eds. (2007). The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (Third ed.). Baseball America. ISBN 978-1932391176.
  7. ^ "1897 Denison-Sherman Twins/Waco Tigers Statistics".
  8. ^ "1897 Sherman-Denison/Waco Tigers minor league baseball Roster on".
  9. ^ "1897 Texas Association (TA) Minor League Baseball Standings on".
  10. ^ "1898 Texas League".
  11. ^ "1902 Waco Tigers minor league baseball Roster on".
  12. ^ "1902 Waco Tigers Statistics".
  13. ^ "1903 Paris/Waco Steers minor league baseball Statistics on".
  14. ^ "1903 Paris Parasites/Waco Steers Statistics".
  15. ^ "1904 Paris Parasites/Ardmore Territorians Statistics".
  16. ^ "1905 Waco Tigers Statistics".
  17. ^ a b c "Katy Park". Waco History.
  18. ^ "1905 South Texas League (STL) Minor League Baseball Standings on".
  19. ^ "1906 Waco Navigators Statistics".
  20. ^ "Waco, Texas Encyclopedia".
  21. ^ "Padgitt Park in Waco, TX minor league baseball history and teams on".
  22. ^ "TSHA | Cotton Palace".
  23. ^ Conger, Roger (June 12, 2010). ""Cotton Palace"". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  24. ^ "Tom Padgitt Inc. | Business in American History".
  25. ^ "Katy Park in Waco, TX minor league baseball history and teams on".
  26. ^ a b c Sawyer, Amanda; Wenger, Regina. "Katy Park". Waco History.
  27. ^ "Forgotten Faces of Baseball: The Negro Leagues in Central Texas". February 5, 2021.
  28. ^ Wenger, Regina. "Black Baseball in Waco". Waco History.
  29. ^
  30. ^ Burke, Anabel. "Magnolia Market at the Silos". Waco History.
  31. ^ "The Story Behind Katy Ballpark at the Silos".

External links

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