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 1953 season.

Today, the 1954 season.

The Evangeline League added to more franchises for the 1954, with the Port Arthur Sea Hawks joining the fold, as well as the Lake Charles Lakers, as the league grew back to eight teams.

In addition, the Thibodaux franchise changed its name to the Pilots, and moved to Texas City in June of that year, while Lafayette switched from Bulls to Oilers, and New Iberia, who switched their nickname annually it seemed, switched back to the Pelicans from the Cardinals.

New Iberia defeated the Crowley Millers, four-games-to-three, in the finals, marking the first title for New Iberia.

The Pelicans were managed by William Adams, who guided the Thibodaux Giants to the league crown just one year earlier.

New Iberia finished with the most wins (85) during the regular season, followed by Port Arthur (83), the Crowley Millers (77), the Lake Charles Lakers (67), the Baton Rouge Red Sticks (66), the Alexandria Aces (65), the Thibodaux/Texas City Pilots (61), and Lafayette (55).

Thibodaux/Texas City's Bill Dossey, a right-handed hitting catcher, was the league’s leading hitter in 1954, batting a .410, becoming only the second player in Evangeline League history to hit a .400.

Alexandria's William Lynn, who won the batting title in 1952, accumulated 211 hits, tops in the league, including a league-high 48 doubles.

New Iberia's Remy LeBlanc led the league in homers for the first time since 1951, bashing 42, 15 more than Port Arthur's Tex Sanner, who topped the league with 141 runs batted in.

Port Arthur right-hander Fidel Alvarez led the league in wins (24), while Alexandria's John Laliberte paced the league in ERA. (2.99).

New Iberia defeated Lake Charles in the first round of the playoffs, while Crowley eliminated Port Arthur, as the two teams advanced to the finals.

New Iberia led the league in attendance for a second-consecutive season, drawing 87,350 fans, marking the first time since 1941 that no team in the league drew 100,000 fans.

More From 103.3 The GOAT