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 1954 season.

Today, the 1955 season.

The Evangeline League went back down, from 8 teams to 6, for the 1955 season, as the two Texas franchises, Port Arthur and Texas City, failed to return.

The Lafayette Oilers defeated the Alexandria Aces, four-games-to-two, in what tuned out to be the last finals series ever played in the league.

Lafayette was managed by Lou Klein, who spent five seasons in Major League baseball as an infielder, with the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, and Philadelphia Athletics.

The New Iberia Pelicans and Lafayette finished with the most wins (77) during the regular season, followed by Alexandria (74), the Baton Rouge Red Sticks (73), the Crowley Millers (65), and the Lake Charles Lakers (52).

Crowley's James Moore, a right-handed hitting outfielder in his fourth year in the league, was the league’s leading hitter in 1955, batting a .354, seven percentage points ahead of Alexandria's Williams Lynn, who won the batting crown the previous year.

Lynn accumulated 196 total hits, tops in the league.

Lafayette's Tom Nerad, in his first year of professional baseball, finished as the league leader in both home runs (26) and runs batted in (103).

New Iberia right-hander Terry Fox and Alexandria right-hander John Fuller tied for the most wins in the league (21), while Don Robinson of Baton Rouge paced the league in ERA. (1.56).

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

Lafayette led the league in attendance in attendance in 1955, drawing 57,082 fans.

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