Governors’ Cup on Display at DBAP
With the Durham Bulls opening the International League Championship Series at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Tuesday, Sept 11, 2007, the International League has sent the Governors’ Cup to Durham to be displayed on the concourse for Games One and Two. The Cup will be making its first visit to Durham since the 2004 season when the Bulls had it on display to celebrate the 2003 championship.
The Governors’ Cup is one of the oldest trophies in all of professional sports. In 1933, Frank “Shag” Shaughnessy, General Manager of the League’s Montreal Royals, introduced a new playoff system to International League President Charles H. Knappe and the Governors’ Cup was born. Shaughnessy, who would ultimately serve as IL President from 1936 until 1960, was interested in developing a way for more than two clubs to share in the excitement of post-season play. His playoff format, devised to maintain the interest of fans and players alike during the Depression era, provided an opportunity for four teams to participate rather than only two. Several other leagues noticed the success of the “Shaughnessy Plan” and followed suit.
In response to the new playoff format, the Governors of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York and the Lieutenant Governors of the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario sponsored a trophy to be awarded annually to the winner of the International League playoffs. The trophy, created by the Supervisor of International League Umpires W.B. Carruth, was created out of solid silver and has been appraised at over $3,000.
In 1988, International League President Harold Cooper donated the trophy to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, where it is on permanent display. A new trophy of the same name was minted in its’ place and is presented annually to the winner of the Governors’ Cup Series. In 2007, the trophy resided at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio, home of the 2006 International League Champion Toledo Mud Hens. Durham had the Cup on display for the first time in 2003 after winning their first International League Championship the year before.
Thanks to DBBC’s Matt DeMargel for this capcom story & photo.