The Evangeline League was a minor league baseball league that ran in southern and central Louisiana from 1934-1957.

The league, which had it’s name taken from Evangeline, the epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, began as a 6-team class D league in 1934, and then expanded to 8 teams the next season, before shutting down for two seasons following the 1943 season due to World War II.

After resuming play in 1946, the Evangeline League remained a class D league, before being promoted to the class C level in 1949.

The league remained in operation until 1957, when two of the six remaining teams dropped out, suspending play that season with no champion being named.

The Evangeline League, which featured a betting scandal back in 1946, featured teams in cities such as Lafayette, Abbeville, Crowley, Opelousas, Rayne, Jeanerette, and Lake Charles.

Despite the stability of the league, the only franchise they lasted all 21 seasons was the Alexandria Aces, while New Iberia had a franchise every season, with the exception of the final one.

Because of the close proximity of the franchises, a number of heated rivalries developed, with crowds that would certainly quality as raucous, getting into it with umpires, players, managers, and one another.

It was an immensely popular league for over two decades, with some franchises actually outdrawing some Major League Baseball franchises, in terms of attendance.

All summer long we’ll be going back in time and look back at the Evangeline League, which was commonly referred to as the “Pepper Sauce League”, “Hot Sauce League”, or “Tabasco Circuit”.

Yesterday, we took a look back at the 1951 season.

Today, the 1952 season.

The Evangeline League had a change for for the 1952 season, as the Abbeville Athletics returned, following a one year absence, replacing the Hammond Berries.

The Crowley Millers defeated the Baton Rouge Red Sticks, four-games-to-none, in the finals, marking the first league title for Crowley, while Baton Rouge appeared in the finals for a third-consecutive year.

Crowley finished with the most wins (81) during the regular season, followed by Baton Rouge (76), the Thibodaux Giants (75), the Lafayette Bulls (74), the New Iberia Pelicans (72), the Abbeville Athletics (62), the Alexandria Aces (59), and the Houma Indians (58).

Alexandria's William Lynn, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound left-handed hitting outfielder in his third year in the league, was the league’s leading hitter in 1952, batting a .385, while compiling a league-high 209 hits.

Lynn accumulated 52 doubles in the process, along with four triples and 12 home runs.

Crowley's Conklyn Meriwether, a 33-year old veteran, blasted the most home runs in the league (33), while Lafayette's Fred DeSousa paced the league in runs batted in (130).

Crowley right-hander Hugh Blanton led the league in wins (21), while New Iberia's Marv Holleman paced the league in ERA. (2.46).

Crowley defeated Lafayette in the first round of the playoffs, while Baton Rouge eliminated Thibodaux, as the two teams advanced to the finals.

Crowley led the league in attendance in attendance in 1952, drawing 110,814 fans.

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