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 1956 season.

Today, the 1957 season, the final year in league history.

The Evangeline League went back down, from 8 teams to 6, for the final season, with the Monroe and New Iberia franchises failing to return.

The league was not stable in 1957, as Lafayette and Baton Rouge disbanded in June.

Also, as was the case in 1956, the playoffs were cancelled, due to a lack of interest.

The Alexandria Aces finished with the most wins (68) during the regular season, followed by the Crowley Millers (63), the Thibodaux Senators (45), the Lake Charles Giants (43), the Lafayette Oilers (36), and the  Baton Rouge Rebels (24).

Crowley's Claude Horn, a left-handed hitting outfielder in his first year in the league, was the league’s leading hitter in 1957, batting a .349, five percentage points ahead of Joseph McElroy of Lake Charles.

McElroy also accumulated a league-high 141 total hits and 92 runs driven in, both of which led the league.

Red Irby of Lake Charles finished as the league leader in home runs (26).

Alexandria right-hander Robert Riesener had the most wins in the league, finishing a perfect 20-0, while also pacing the league with a 2.16 ERA.

Alexandria led the league in attendance in attendance in 1957, drawing 52,937 fans.

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