Editors Note: This story originally ran on on November 12, 2004.
Its mills and ethnic immigrants produced the raw material for cars, bombs, skyscrapers -- just about any object that enabled the rise of the United States as a world power.
Jobs were plentiful, paychecks were fat, and crime was someone else's problem, save for the occasional mob-inspired car bombing that no one seemed to witness. The Youngstown he was born into in 1983 was an unfolding tragedy of historic proportions.
Baseball Commissioner Chandler exclaimed in surprise that our sandlot fields are better than the parks of many professional teams".
The team posted a 74-64 record, for third-place in the league in 1949.
The Scrappers started play in 1999, with players like Victor Martinez and C. But prior to that, the area, like most of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, was a hotbed for minor-league baseball.
century, Youngstown was home to a team in the Interstate League team called, variously, the Puddlers and Little Giants.
Beginning six years earlier with what locals came to call "Black Monday," virtually every steel mill along the river for 25 miles -- twenty-five miles -- shut down as the industry shifted production to overseas plants.
With breathtaking speed, the town shrunk from 170,000 residents to 80,000.
They lie in the toxic soil along the Mahoning River, a gentle, serpentine body of water that once gave life to a working-class vision of the American Dream.
For much of the past century, the smallish city of Youngstown was, remarkably, one of the steel capitals of the nation.
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