Lewis Smith Carr (1872-1954) was one of the greatest Cayuga County athletes of all time. He excelled in football and baseball and was a long-time baseball coach at Syracuse University, but is best remembered in the Moravia area as the father of youth baseball.

A native of Union Springs, Lew was a star player in high school football and baseball, along with four equally talented brothers. He later played baseball for several town teams, including the legendary Moravia team that played on the Keeler Avenue diamond.

Moravian's team of 1899,
Amateur Champions of
Central New York. Lew Carr
is in the 2nd row from front,
2nd from the left.
While attending Hobart College, Lew captained and played shortstop for the Moravia baseball club during the 1898 and 1899 seasons. In 1899, the “Moravias” won the amateur championship of Central New York. That team’s crowning achievement was their victory by 3 to 0 over the Syracuse Stars of the New York State League. The Moravias played a total of 112 games and won 79 for a .700 average.

Lew played on Syracuse University’s football and baseball teams in 1900 while attending law school. After one year, he interrupted his law studies to join the Troy Trojans, a professional baseball team. Scouts for the Pittsburgh Pirates took immediate notice of his talent and recruited him to play shortstop alongside a third baseman by the name of Hans “Honus” Wagner.

Unfortunately, Lew’s career as a Pirate came to an abrupt end when a hard pitched ball hit and seriously injured him. (Despite initial complaints from many of the fans, Wagner took over Lew’s position and went on to become perhaps the greatest shortstop of all time.) Lew played with the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team from 1902-1906, then returned to Syracuse where he played with the Stars while completing his law degree.

Lew Carr in his
early semi-pro days
(Frontenac Historical
Society and Museum)
Syracuse University hired Lew as its baseball coach in 1910 where he remained for 35 seasons. In his honor, SU renamed its baseball stadium Lew Carr Field in 1952. He was later inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. After the university terminated its baseball program in 1972, part of Lew Carr Field became Coyne Stadium, the home of SU Lacrosse. Lew Carr married Jessie Brown of Moravia in 1912. After his retirement from SU in 1945, Lew and Jessie moved to a home at 25 Church Street, Moravia.

A young boy approached Lew one day, asking if he would teach some of the kids how to play baseball. Lew agreed to help and shortly afterwards “Carr’s Cubs” was organized. Besides teaching the boys the game, Lew helped them raise funds to buy equipment and helped build an organization that earned the support of many businesses and residents. In 1954, the Moravia team formally joined the Little League program.

Carr's Cubs, 1946
Coach Carr was named as Moravia’s Little League commissioner and was active up until his death on June 15, 1954, at age 81, only a few weeks into the baseball season. The Moravia Little League team won 15 of 18 games that first year, earning the Championship of Southern Cayuga County. Many of the players from the 1954 team continued the winning tradition with the town’s first Babe Ruth League team in 1955 and enjoyed later success as high school players.

Update 7/19/2013 - Article about Lew Carr Field in the Syracuse Post-Standard by Sean Kirst.