Baseball in the Midlands
In 1892, Columbia fielded its first professional team, the Columbia Senators, in a very early version of the South Atlantic League. The team lasted just one season before the league folded. Columbia joined the the Southeastern League in 1896 but the team disbanded after the season. The Columbia Skyscrapers became a charter franchise in the newly formed Class-C South Atlantic League in 1904. The team became the Gamecocks the following season and remained so through the 1910 season. In 1911, the Comics was the moniker, but that was changed to the Columbia Comers in 1912. After sitting out the 1913 season, the Comers returned to the Sally League in 1914. In 1915 Jessie James went 15-5, and the Comers won the league title. The Comers dropped to second place in 1917 but were eligible for the playoffs. Columbia defeated Charleston in the title series to win its first South Atlantic League championship that year.
The Comers returned to Columbia after World War I in 1919 and began their third stint in Sally League with three successive league titles. In 1919 Walter Johnson batted a league-high .362, with 150 hits, as Columbia edged out Charlotte by one game. Columbia won its second league title in 1920 by a more comfortable seven-game margin over Greenville.
Larry Cheney led all pitchers with 183 strikeouts and Alva Nalley scored a league-high 92 runs. A young kid named Goose Goslin batted .317 in 90 games to help the 1919 cause. Cheney, whose big league career started with three appearances for the Cubs in 1911 and concluded after nine games with the Phillies in 1919, caught on with Columbia in the 1920 season.
Columbia ran away with the 1921 title as Charleston was left 11 and a half games behind. One man played a dominant role in Columbia’s 1921 title, Goose Goslin. Continuing to develop as a player, Goslin batted a league-high .390 while leading the Sally League with 124 runs scored, 214 hits, and 131 RBIs.
In 1922, the Comers cooled off to a third place finish. During the 1923 season, Columbia was forced to move to Gastonia, NC, where they finished the season.