Chesapeake Regnads – 1936-1942 & 1943-1950
Steve Lyon, GM
Franchise #15 & #2
Not-So-Brief: Franchise #15 has been
one of the less stable franchises in TCBA history. It is one of just two franchises
that played home games in Canada; Franchise #15 moved north of the border
Franchise #15 began TCBA
play as the EH’s from their home base in Newmarket,
Canada, under the guiding hand of Ed Hebscher,
who retained control until 1925. In 1926, Casey Lyman moved the team back
to the USA, setting up operations in Portsmouth as Pubdwellers
until 1935. With war looming, Lyman left TCBA Franchise #15 in the hands of
Steve Lyon, whose Franchise #15 Regnads lived
dangerously in the Chesapeake region from 1936 until 1942.
In 1943, Steve Lyon assumed
control of Franchise #2/Fortney, taking command from Don Mahley, who had
enlisted in the US Army following the 1937 season. Lyon moved the team
operations to his Chesapeake area, releasing his hold on the unstable
Franchise #15. Transferring the Regnads name to
the new franchise, Chesapeake supported a TCBA team until 1950. Lyon
retired from TCBA activities for 61 seasons before reappearing, rejuvenated
and ready for the race in 2012, at the head of Franchise #14, locating the
team in the Hereford
Meanwhile, Jim Beeman had
taken over the orphaned Franchise #15, moving the team to Covington in
1943, where the Buccs played until 1952. Casey Lyman, flush with cash from
two wars, repurchased the team and moved it back to Portsmouth until 1962.
With assassinations, Cuba crises, protests and a growing military
involvement in Southeast Asia, attendance began to drop, forcing Lyman to
sell his share of Franchise #15 to Ed Hebscher,
who immediately moved the team back to Canada for the 1963 season. After 42
years and much history, the team had returned back from whence it came.
But the tumultuous 1960’s
and 70’s would take its toll on Hebscher and his
EH’s. A labor strike by Canadian postal workers drove Newmarket
deep into debt, forcing the team’s sale and move to Jim Lafargue in
Norwood, MA. The Naturals lasted just two seasons before The Founder dumped
the franchise after the 1974 season. Things were so bad in the mid-70’s
that the franchise lay fallow for the entire 1975 season.
Bi-centennial zeal brought a
renewal of hope, as Bob Morrison bought the Franchise on the cheap and
played a season as the Grandview Stars. However, Morrison also ran the team
on the cheap and the lights went out after a single season. In 1977, Doug
Meyer’s furniture manufactory purchased the ailing franchise and moved it
to Northeast Connecticut. The Numen, as they were known, hung on from
1977-1983, before collapsing in a pile of sawdust. Once again, the
franchise was idle for a season (1984) before being claimed at a
foreclosure auction by Ron Wentzel. He moved the team to Midlothian, where
the Mariners played for four seasons (1985-1988). That ship sunk, with few
interested in what lay at the bottom of the pool. Combative Joe Shabot was always on the look-out for a bargain, so he
scooped up the Midlothian remnants and pretended to present a TCBA-worthy
product. All it took was three seasons for the seams to rip on that fabric.
A NY debt broker was all that was interested in the franchise at the time;
but even they gave up after two seasons.
Finally, in 1995, a savior arrived.
Another son of Connecticut, Michael Mancini brought back the stability that
had been so long missing from Franchise #15. Since 1994, Franchise #15 has
played to consistently packed crowds in Farmington, hauling in 8 division crowns and 2 league
championships through the 2017 season.