Billy Webb

Billy Webb

Billy Webb

As Russ Diethrick, Jamestown's "Mr. Baseball," once said, "Without Billy Webb, I doubt we would have had professional minor-league baseball in Jamestown."

Even though Billy Webb passed away back in 1935 at the young age of 47, his legacy continues to live on. Webb was born in 1888 in Homestead, Pa., and began playing baseball in various amateur and semi-professional teams in Ambler, Pa., Atlantic City, N.J. and Bridgeton Park, Pa. in 1908-09.

For the next three years, he played for the semi-pro team in the Jamestown/Celoron area as a third baseman and by 1914, was managing a team in Warren, Pa. in the Interstate professional league, composed of players from that league along with players from the Canadian, International and State leagues, then moved on to manage the Jamestown team in the same league in 1915. Also in 1915, Webb formed an independent semi-pro team known as "Billy Webb's Spiders."

The Spiders were a fixture at Celoron Park and were the area's premier semi-pro team in the area until Webb's death in 1935. The team took on numerous barnstorming teams over that span of time, including the Babe Ruth All-Stars, the Boston Braves, the Homestead Grays, the Pittsburgh Crawfords, the Cuban All-Stars, the Pittsburgh Colored All-Stars and the House of David.

Several former major players played for Webb during that time, including Hugh Bedient, Swat Erickson and Ray Caldwell, all members of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.

In 1930, Webb was a key organizer of the first illuminated night baseball game in Western New York and he continued to work tirelessly for the game he loved and because of his efforts, Jamestown was considered to be a prime choice for a team when the New York-Penn League was organized in 1939.

Freebrook Lanes ad

Webb was the assistant manager of the Freebrook Bowling Lanes in 1921 when this
newspaper ad ran.

But baseball wasn't the only sport Webb was involved in. He loved bowling and worked at the Floss Palace Bowling Alley on Cherry Street soon after he came to Jamestown and constructed an indoor batting cage there. He also was the assistant manager of the Freebrook Bowling Lanes from 1920 to 1932 and was the manager of the former Spring Street Alleys from 1933 until his death. He was also one of the founders of the Jamestown Bowling Association.

City Judge Allen E. Barger paid tribute to Webb following his death in 1935. "He was always devoted to cause of promoting the national pastime in Jamestown and throughout his life here, was a splendid influence for good."

Billy Webb was inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.

Billy Webb

This photo is from June 29, 1930. It shows Billy Webb's Spiders playing against Akron at Celoron Park.

Billy Webb

Player-manager Billy Webb is first on left. Note Celoron Park in background.

Billy Webb

Manager Billy Webb and his 1930 Spiders. Webb is fourth, Swat Erickson is sixth from left and Hugh Bedient last in first row. Joe Nagle is second from left in back row. Vince McNamara, fifth from left in back row, went on to become president of the NY-Penn League.

Billy Webb

Billy Webb 1910 - fourth from left in first row. Note the premiere baseball facility that was Celoron Park.

video courtesy Greg Peterson

video courtesy Greg Peterson

video courtesy Greg Peterson

Video Archive

The Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame has a collection of DVD's chronicling sports in Chautauqua County, the Hall of Fame inductees and interviews with sports personalities. They are available for viewing by visitors at the hall. See the complete list on our video archive page.

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Deppas Insurance
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Hall of Fame
Hugh BedientHugh Bedient
Walt BrownWalt Brown
Ray CaldwellRay Caldwell
Dave CriscioneDave Criscione
Howard EhmkeHoward Ehmke
Eric EricksonEric "Swat" Erickson
Nellie FoxNellie Fox
Les JamesLes James
Tommy LeachTommy Leach
Lory LodestroLory Lodestro
Dan LunettaDan Lunetta
Harry MartensonHarry Martenson
Ken MartinKen Martin
Joe MistrettaJoe Mistretta
Morris MistrettaMorris Mistretta
Al MuckAl Muck
Joe NagleJoe Nagle
John NewmanJohn Newman
Irv NorenIrv Noren
John O'NeilJohn O'Neil
Lyle ParkhurstLyle Parkhurst
Craig PaternitiCraig Paterniti
Leo SquinnLeo Squinn
Craig SwansonCraig Swanson
Billy WebbBilly Webb
Morris MistrettaTed Wyberanec


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