Madison had a Baseball Team

Unknown until just recently, it looks like the Madison area was home to a professional baseball team – the Atwood Ducks, a AAA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. Apparently, they played in an old ballpark that was in the triangle area where Atwood, Winnebago and 2nd Street come together.

Sports sections of a long since defunct newspaper featuring box scores of the team’s games were found in a vault under the demolished home of Gladys Reiner, a woman that we recently learned was the area’s unofficial biographer. Demolition teams literally stumbled upon the makeshift time capsule while clearing the rubble from the future site of a new 26 unit upscale apartment building at 906 Williamson street.

So, were the AAA Atwood Ducks a good team? I’m afraid not. After playing just 12 games in 1919, their inaugural season, the Ducks were disbanded. Not only did they fail to win a single game, but apparently they never scored a single run.

The Ducks were disbanded without warning after the team owner, Albin C Mallard, a wealthy manufacturing tycoon, lost everything when his duck whirligig plant burned down in May of that year. Apparently the team arrived at the ball park to get ready for a home game against their divisional rivals, the Toledo Mud Hens, to find the equipment lockers empty and a note on the locker room door that read:

“Sorry guys, tried to make it work. Flew south for the summer.” – A.M.

Apparently there was one player on the team with real major league talent.  Hap Felsch played a bit with the White Sox before being sent down to the minors.  After the Ducks’ demise, Felsch was called back up to rejoin the White Sox, who went on to win the American League Pennant that year, just to lose to Cincinnati in the World Series amid some kind of scandal.

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