KOM League Class D Baseball

Current stories about the men who played minor league baseball in the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri league from 1946-52. Many went on to very long baseball careers while others were successes in other fields. This blog keeps up with them through what is called "The KOM League Flash Report."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas eve, eve

The KOM League

Flash Report


December 23, 2006


Try this blogspot sometime: http://komleagueone.blogspot.com/

This site contains the previous 28 Flash Reports along with some photos. If you access this site it will prompt Google.com to add it to their frequently visited sites and thus it will enable others, searching the web for long-lost news about their loved one, a chance to locate something on the KOM league that they would otherwise miss.

I think that I should shut down the Flash Reports for a while and say

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

I might add that this isn't a bad Flash Report, read it and see why!

A Christmas visit

On Friday December 22, Ed Rush and his son Keanan paid a visit to the KOM League
Hall of Fame and "loaned scrapbook repository." Ed's grandfather was the business manager back in the early days of Carthage, Mo. baseball. That being the Arkansas/Missouri league. Last summer Ed sent a scrapbook with some great photos of early Carthage Pirate clubs and some great newspaper clippings.

All the material was identifiable, even though not all the photos carried the names of the players. For future research he left behind one 8X10 glossy of a Carthage Pirate club that never appeared in the local paper and it mystifies me as to who some of the players were. Some of the players were were Pirate jerseys but had on civilian slacks. They were a "rag tag" looking bunch, at best. I'm going to do some more research and attempt to figure out who some of those guys were. My inclination is that the photo was taken in the early spring and most of the guys never made the 1940 club.

Anyway, this case proves it pays to advertise. I left a few of the KOM League newsletterd in a local barber shop. A patron picked one up and sent it to Ed Rush in Hickory, North Carolina where he is the administrator of a hospital. The newsletter announced the 2006 KOM League reunion and when Ed saw "KOM League" it rang a bell. His grandfather, George, who served as the Postmaster at the Post Office in Carthage for many years had kept an immaculate scrapbook. Ed dug it out and allowed me to look it over for six months. I had to inform Ed that his grandfather and former Carthage manager and player, Woody Fair, had a feud about every other day as to how the baseball club should be handled. I guess Rush won the argument for Fair finished the season at Winston Salem as a teammate of Harvey Haddix et. al.

No need to go into "gory" details, but George Rush wound up in his latter years as a resident of Fair Acres Nursing Home in the southern most part of Carthage. One day he was missing. A search was conducted and he was located at the C & W Cafe located on the town square. That was his favorite eating place along with every player who ever played for the Carthage baseball teams. It was also the place where a number of Carthage Cardinals were shocked one evening, in 1946, to see the famous movie actor, Clark Gable, enter to have a bite to eat with Carthage Press sportswriter, Fletcher Cupp. Yep, everything happened in Carthage, in those days. Well, after all it was THE CROSSROADS OF AMERICA--the intersection of highways 66 & 71.

More from Holloway's teammate

Hi John, don't know if you ever located Neil Holloway but we got a note
from his son saying Neil died last Aug. After KOM he returned to his
hometown of Crab Orchard, TN. and coached baseball and basketball. Said he
talked often of the KOM league. Hope you already know all this.

Jim and I are fine. Trust you and family are well and looking forward to
the holidays. Best Wishes. Marge Qualls

Ed note:

Jim Qualls was a teammate of Neil Holloway at Independence in 1950.

A consultant role for the Editor?


I have a favor to ask you for my granddaughter. My granddaughter Katie has visions of writing a book or some facsimile of one. She is an English major with minors in movies and theater. Katie has just finished an internship with the Sean Astin Productions (Hollywood).

She is intrigued with my stories of the old Negro league. I guess my stories of playing against some of the teams and especially facing Ole Satch on numerous occasions made somewhat of an impression on her. Also the hardships they endured with no chance of playing in the big leagues at that time.

After reading of your recent problems this may be bad timing. But with your permission could she e-mail you explaining her concepts and questions. Don Annen --'50 Carthage Cubs

Ed reply:

Merry Christmas to you, Katie and the rest of the family. Anything I can do to assist her I'll be happy to do. Sounds like she is already far beyond me being much help. Thanks for getting in touch. Katie can e-mail, write or call me at her convenience. John

A Major League Christmas

Have a peaceful, restful and merry Christmas! Granddaughter Shannon Merced is hosting our gang this year------and I'm only bringing the dressing and
pies!!! That's a first except when we have been away at Christmas (Puerto Rico and Cuba). The way I've been procrastinating this year, I probably wouldn't
have been able to cook and get it on the table by evening anyway! I hope I can get the pies made!!
Take care--It's time for me to get my beauty rest! Bill's already getting his!
Shalom, Shirley Virdon

Ed note:

The Virdons granddaughter married former Pittsburgh Pirate, Orlando Merced.

A note from the past!

I notice that you received a Christmas card from the Speakes (Bob and Joan). We were both members of the same Baptist church in Topeka many years ago and, if it is not against your policies, I would like to have their e-mail address.

Best to you and all your family.

Chuck Stevenson--Austin, Texas

Ed note:

Mr. Stevenson and Yours Truly worked together for many years with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. During most of that time he was my boss. So, when he asks for something, he gets it, if I can accommodate his request.

Speaking of Christmas cards here are more

I've shared the messages in Christmas cards over the past couple of Flash Reports for the purpose of letting you that some of your former teammates and acquaintances are still around and at least able to sign their name, affix a stamp and get it into the mail. For some that is a significant accomplishment and I appreciate their kindness in doing so.

Len Vandehey--Carthage '51--Best wishes to you and Noel for a great holiday season and a rewarding 2007. We continue to enjoy the best of two worlds with our Wisconsin summer and the 2nd summer in the Rio Grande Valley......Again, the best of everthing. Van and Kathy.

Don Potts--Former Rock Hill, SC batboy.

Paul Nichols--'48 Independence Yankees. Paul sent along a photo of him and his wife at the 1996 KOM League reunion in Pittsburg, Kansas. They were in his "newly created" Independence Yankee/KOM League universal uniforms. Paul's note read "Think of you often." I take that to mean all the KOM League friends as well.

Dick McCoy--They sent along a Christmas letter and I was pleased to see where Dick's 102 year-old mother sent along her greetings.

Wayne Benstead--"52 Blackwell Broncos. His card stated "Thanks for looking after all us old guys for another year, we like the attention. Keep it up if you can."

Ernie Chastain--"52 Iola Indians.

Alex Muirhead-'48 Ponca City . Alex mentioned that he hoped the icy blasts we received in the Midwest in recent days has let up. Fortunately, it has. But winter hasn't officially arrived as yet.

Betty Bumgarner--Wife of Jack Garner '46 Bartlesville. She had some kind words about Yours Truly's mother. The Garner's cared for her mother who lived to be 91. For those not familiar with some of the names, Betty is the sister-in-law of actor James Garner.

Jack Cooley--'49 Pittsburg. In his card Jack stated that he hoped to make the KOM League reunion in 2007. He is affiliated with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League.

Don Mitroff--'50 Chanute Athletics. His note said "Once again, thanks a million and congratulations for keeping the KOM alive! Mitroff resides in Anaheim, CA.

Joe Gilbert--'50 Iola. The long-time Hall of Fame coach in Oklahoma high school athletics sent along some clippings of the day by day activity of the 1950 Bartlesville Pirates. They are in the midst of a countdown to the American Legion World Series to be held in Bartlesville from August 24 to 28th, 2007. It appears the 1950 Bartlesville Pirate season is featured each day in the Bartlesville Examiner, leading up to that event. In the article, sent by Gilbert, the prominent names were Harry Neighbors, Dean Miller, Charles Sauvain and Don Hinchberger. The sad thing about that listing is that only one of those men are still with us, Dean Miller.

Jim West--"50 Chanute Athletics. For a few years West has been "missing." His Christmas card was addressed to "Mr. KOM and Noel."

Boyd Bartley--Ponca City 1947-52 sans 1951. The Bartleys card read "The reunion this past September was lots of fun!"

Ramona Long--Widow of Alvin N. Long '49 Independence.

Johnny Lafalier--Merlyn Mantle's brother-in-law.

Rev. Thomas J. Imfeld--'47 Independence & '50 Chanute. In handwriting Father Tom said he couldn't write so that I could read so he was sending a form letter. I read both quite easily. He seems to be doing well but is thinking about cutting back on bird hunting.

Bob Nichols--"48 & '49 Iola Indians. The Nichols live in Canton, Ohio.

Ralph Tielsch--"50 Iola. Tielsch sent along a lot of information in his card. His card note read "I see by the latest newsletters that the old KOMers are leaving us one after another. Nobody can hold back old age. I can't believe I'm 75. I just lost two of my siblings, in the last three months, to cancer. However, as long as you can keep the KOM Remembered going while a few of us are still alive, I'm happy to send my dues. (Enclosed) Thought you would get a kick out of this write-up. (It was a gathering of former Pittsburgh Pirates. Tielsch is shown in a photo with "the real" Frank Thomas.)

You will notice they moved me up a few classifications for special effects. (The article had Tielsch playing Triple A baseball in the KOM League.) I'm still hanging out with all the big leaguers thanks to my buddy, Dick Groat. We just had our Christmas Party at PNC Park. They all treat me great and most of the folks would never know my baseball highlight was the KOM League. Elroy Face, he of the 18 win --1 loss season, and I are very good friends and play a lot of golf together. Groat owns one of the best golf course in Western Pennsylvania, so we have a lot of our outings there. Pat and I are leaving for Florida after the holidays. We are so lucky to be able to be able to spend the winter there--our 12th." Best Wishes: Ralph and Pat Tielsch

Dan Dondero--'48 Chanute Giants. It scared me when I received this card for the return address had the name of Lucille Dondero on it. When that happens, 99% of the time that portends that the husband has passed away. I was pleased to open the card and see Danny's name thereon. Dondero is the former Chanute Athletic who "borrowed" the team uniform at the close of the 1948 season. In an act to clear his conscience he sent it to Yours Truly in the mid 1990's. He rationalized that I was now the "head" of the KOM League and if I was in possession of it then all would settle the matter. The Donderos still reside in Cortlandt Manor, NY.


Obituary sent from Bill Dunstone


I found this on the Yahoo Groups Minor Leagues site. You probably already have the info and put it in the Flash that I devour when I get them but the memory is not as good as it use to be so if you don't have this info, you do now. Bill Dunstone

December obituaries

Posted by: "ewash25" ejw2@comcast.net ewash25

Thu Dec 21, 2006 3:09 pm (PST)

I conducted a search of baseball player obituaries in the 'America's
Obituaries' part of NewsBank – GenealogyBank and found obituaries
for the following players --December 8

Alex Coleman – 1933 El Dorado (Dixie), 1933 Oklahoma City (Texas),
1934 Tulsa (Texas), 1936 Omaha (Western), 1939 Decatur (Three-I),
1939 Columbus (South Atlantic), 1940 New Orleans (Southern), 1940
Mobile (Southeastern) ,
1946 Chanute (Kansas-Oklahoma- Missouri)


The career of Coleman cited above somewhat from what was shared in the Flash Report earlier this month. This obituary is more accurate as far as Coleman's profession career is concerned. The Flash Report indicated where Alex was playing ball during the 1941-45 era. Basically he was playing industrial league baseball in Wichita, Kansas.


In case you old-time baseball fans missed it!

Cecil Travis; Washington Senators Legend

By Matt Schudel

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 22, 2006; Page B06

Cecil Travis, a sweet-swinging infielder with the Washington Senators in the 1930s and '40s, whose stellar career was interrupted by World War II, died Dec. 16 of congestive heart failure at his farm in Riverdale, Ga. He was 93 and was one of the oldest surviving former Senators.

For years, historians and former players have debated the merits of Mr. Travis's truncated career, which is one of the most tantalizing what-if stories in baseball history.

At his peak, he was one of the most dangerous hitters in the game, and his lifetime batting average of .314 is the third highest of any shortstop in history, trailing only those of Honus Wagner and Arky Vaughan.

Ted Williams, Bob Feller and other baseball greats have said Mr. Travis belongs in the National Baseball Hall of Fame despite a relatively brief career in which he played only nine full seasons. In 1993, Williams, the famed Boston Red Sox slugger, told The Washington Post: "Cecil Travis is one of the five best left-handed hitters I ever saw."

Mr. Travis joined the Senators as a 19-year-old rookie in 1933, replacing an injured Ossie Bluege at third base. Arriving by train just 30 minutes before the opening pitch, the lanky young Georgian had five hits in his first game and reached base six times. His five-hit debut remains a major league record, equaled only by Fred Clarke in 1894.

Led by player-manager Joe Cronin, the Senators reached the World Series in 1933 -- the last time a Washington team won the pennant -- but Mr. Travis was left off the Series roster. The next year, he won a starting job in the infield and hit .300 or better for eight of the next nine seasons. In those years, the Senators never finished higher than fourth.

After becoming the regular shortstop in 1937, Mr. Travis blossomed into one of the finest players in the league and was named to three all-star teams. He had his best year in 1941, the now-legendary final season before World War II, in which Williams batted .406 and Joe DiMaggio hit safely in 56 consecutive games.

Mr. Travis quietly had a season that was almost as good. His batting average of .359 was 2 percentage points better than DiMaggio's and was second only to Williams's. Mr. Travis led the major leagues with 218 hits, including 39 doubles and 19 triples. He had a 24-game hitting streak and struck out only 25 times the entire year.

On Christmas Eve 1941, when he was 28 and in his athletic prime, Mr. Travis received a summons to enlist in the Army. He missed almost all of the next four seasons. He was on active duty in Europe in the winter of 1944-45 when he suffered frostbite to two toes on his left foot.

He was discharged in time to play 15 games for the Senators in 1945, then returned to the lineup full time in 1946.

Before World War II, Mr. Travis had a career batting average of .327 and was clearly becoming the dominant shortstop in the American League, ahead of such future Hall of Famers as Luke Appling, Lou Boudreau and Phil Rizzuto.

Afterward, he was not the same player. He hit .252 in 1946, slumped to .216 the next year, then retired. The quickness and pop were gone from his smooth, left-handed swing, but he refused to make excuses.

The Flash Report revisits the newest controversial book


I don't know if you are aware that Peter Golenbock has written a book about Mickey Mantle called 7:The Mickey Mantle Novel. It is written "in Mickey's voice" and the premise is him telling, from the afterlife, about all of his sexual encounters. The book is referred to as an "inventive memoir" and it has been seen by some key people in the industry who have called the book "porn", "vile" as well as other things. Worse yet, Golenbock claims that these are stories that he heard from Mickey's teammates over the years! You can go to http://publishersweekly.com/article/CA6399499.html for that review from Publishers Weekly. The ironic thing is that this book is being published by the same publisher, Regan Books, that was going to publish the O.J. Simpson book "If I Did It". Regan Books is a subsidiary of Harper Collins. I contacted them and asked who I could write a complaint to and they gave me the email address of complaints@harpercollins.com. Please read the review from the link above and if you agree with me that this book should never get published, please pass the word to your readers. Maybe as a collective angered voice, we will be heard.
Best Regards, Randall Swearingen


And finally, the end of a great career for my buddy, Corky Simpson

http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/frontpage/36484.php (Pull this up to see his photo)
Published: 12.22.2006

Corky balances his box score one last time

It began 48 years ago in Carthage, Mo. It ends here today
Tucson Citizen
Adiós, adieu, happy trails, goodbye.
There. It didn't hurt a bit.
And while we're at it, auf wiedersehen and arrivederci. I would say the same to my friend Pete Tountas in Greek, except the free translation function on my computer would explode.
This is my final day at the Citizen. I'm retiring as a day-to-day sportswriter. Today my records tally. Hopefully, my box score balances.
It's been a great adventure, the past 32 years at the Citizen, 30 of them in the toy department. I am grateful to those who hired me and to those who let me hang around.
I am thankful to those who read my stuff.
But more than anyone else, I am indebted to the most wonderful person of all, my favorite figure in sports or any other category:
Marge, my wife.
My career began in a log cabin. . . . Well, not really. It began 48 years and 10 months ago in an old brick building in the beautiful little town of Carthage, Mo. I accepted the offer of E.L. Dale to take a sabbatical from college and become the sports editor of the Carthage Evening Press.
I would soon learn that I was also the fire department, police, highway patrol and building-permit editor.
My ambition was to make a little money and return to college. I did the former - I made very little money - but never got back to college.
I quickly fell head over heels in love with this business.
And to borrow from an old fishing buddy of mine, Herman Melville, who said of his whaling ship: "This is my Yale College, this is my Harvard . . ."
The newspaper craft is my alma mater.
From Jurassic-looking iron monsters spitting out lead and lines of type, through flat-bed and tubular presses. From clanky but dependable typewriters loaded with paper and carbon copies, to disdainful and temperamental computers.
From multiple editions and deadlines a day to the 24-hour online computer-news operation that never sleeps.
I've pretty much seen it all.
My contribution has been sports writing. The part most fun to write about is the human heart.
And with all due respect to the Internet-iPod-blogger generation, permit me to share the One Great Truth as I see it: Ink on newsprint is better than pixels on screens.
Try it some time.
I've borrowed already from Melville, so permit me to use the words of a couple of poets to put this departure in perspective.
First, my favorite, by Stephen Vincent Benét:
"Things will happen, news will break and time will pass away."
And finally, from George Meredith:
"The old hound wags his shaggy tail,
"And I knew what he would say:
"It's over the hills we'll be bound, old hound,
"Over the hills and away."
Thanks for everything. So long.


Did you notice that Kilroy, a feature on the header of long ago Flash Reports made his Christmas comeback appearance?
John G. Hall

John G. Hall

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Winding down 2006


Found another former KOM Leaguer

Sometime you have a feeling. What a statement, eh? Let me explain. I have come to believe that there can't be very many former KOM Leaguers that I can locate. This afternoon I had a call from former Ponca City Dodger and TV and movie actor Dick Tretter. He lives in Shady Cove, Oregon and calls quite frequently just to keep me from being bored. In a comment during our conversation he mentioned a statement in a recent KOM League Remembered newsletter. He said it said something to the effect that Yours Truly would look for former KOM Leaguers until he took his dying breath. Well, that might be a bit dramatic. However, I still retain a curiosity about those individuals who I've never located.

There isn't a former KOM League player who has not reached the three score and ten plateau (plus a couple of years.)

After my conversation with Tretter, and a bowl of spaghetti (the homemade variety), I was emboldened (or is that bored?) and I sat down at the computer and decided I'd find at least one former KOM Leaguer. One thing you can count on, if you possess a former player's Social Security number, that if they don't show up on the Death Index they are alive. (Elemental, Mr. Watson.)

I opened my database of names and saw Paul Conley Hensley of the 1951 Bartlesville Pirates. Fortunately, I found a few Paul C. Hensleys in the Public Records section of Ancestry.com. I started going through that list of names and located one with a birth date of 7/24/31. My records indicated his birthday was 7/29/31 and I figured it was worth a shot. In moments, the telephone was ringing in Charlotte, North Carolina at the home of a former banker and insurance executive. Of course, without telling you, it was the same gentleman who had played at Bartlesville for a brief time in 1951.

One of the first things he mentioned was a conversation he had recently with a friend about the KOM League. I inquired as to why the league had come up in that conversation and he related that it had to do with where Mickey Mantle started his pro career.

Hensley was a 6' 5" right hander who was born and raised in the coal fields of Appalachia, Virginia. He had served during the Korean War and got out early in '51 and reported to Brunswick, Georgia in the Georgia-Florida League. He recalled not getting along with his manager, Mickey O'Neill. Hensley was a huge Red Sox fan and expressed his displeasure with Joe McCarthy by the way he handled his starting assignment in the one-game playoff against Cleveland in 1948. Hensley recalled criticizing McCarthy for not going with a rested Mel Parnell or Ellis Kinder. Instead he started Danny Galehouse. Hensley was having this conversation in the earshot of manager O'Neill and O'Neill informed him that no rookie had any right to criticize one of the greatest managers in the game. To make a long story somewhat shorter, Hensley was out of Brunswick the next day and on his way to Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

By the time Hensley reached professional baseball he knew his arm was gone. He said that by the time he graduated from high school his arm was shot. Aside from Brunswick and Bartlesville he recalls a couple of other brief stops on the minor league trail, including Waco of the Big State league. I informed him I'd check on his career and let him know where he had been.

Hensley is one of the "rare" individuals actually to express their pleasure of being located. In a short time a KOM League "CARE" package will be headed to Charlotte, NC--almost in time for Christmas. By the way, he was not aware that his former teammate, Ronnie Kline, had passed away.

The Miami project

In the previous Flash Report it was mentioned that Jim Ellis of the Miami, Oklahoma News-Record is going to do a special feature on the 1947 KOM League pennant and playoff winners, the Miami Owls, in February A rather lengthy list of names was shared by Ellis and I filled in some first names. Bob Curley recalls a couple of other fellows who made the trek to Miami but didn't make the club. He wrote "John, 1947 I sent two friends to Miami, thinking they could make the ball club. They were Jack Landers an outfielder, and Archie (Bud) Noonan a pitcher. I think they both went back and forth between Miami and another class D Okla. team. They were both back here in God's country before the season started. Bob Curley

The Christmas card stack

Herb Heiserer--'50 Independence Yankees reads the Flash Reports carefully and noted that I hadn't mentioned his Christmas card. As it turns out he was the first person to send me a Christmas card and I had put it in the stack with the birthday cards I had received by virtue of getting a year older and a "heap" uglier in late November. Sorry I missed you on the first couple of listings, Herb.

Walter Babcock--'51 Carthage Cubs. He, who scolded many others for not sending cards, sent one and it arrived today. I haven't opened it as I want the bomb sniffing dogs to go over it first. But, thanks anyway, Walt.

Lilburn Smith--'48 Independence Yankees sent his card and subscription for another year of the KOM League Remembered. I love optimistic people.

Eugene Castiglione--'48-'49 Ponca City Dodgers along with wife, Sharon, sent greetings from Benld, Illinois.

Sam Dixon-Carthage, Chanute and Iola from '46-'51 send a card to both my wife and another to my mother. Thanks for that gesture, Sam.

Tom Tarascio-'47-'48 Miami and '49 Chanute sent greetings from Omaha, Nebr.

Bob Curley--'46 Chanute sent greetings and best wishes from Covington, KY

Ken Boehme--Iola '51 wrote "May the good Lord be with me throughout the year. Thanks for all your hard work." (The thing is, I retired in July and don't do anything, anymore.)

Cloyd Boyer--'46 Carthage Cardinals. Cloyd and Nadine's card read "Just want you to know that we enjoyed the reunion this year. Thank you for all the work you do getting it together." (The deep dark secret is that I get others to do all the work.)

Bill Virdon--'50 Independence. In the Virdons card it was noted that Bill will participate in the Pirate's Fantasy Camp in January and then stay around to help the Buccos in Spring Training. That will be his 57th spring training, according to Shirley who remarked "How time flies when you're having fun." Also, she noted the passing of Joan Wright who was the widow of former big leaguer, Mel Wright. Shirley said "She was my very first friend in baseball and I miss her so very much. The passing of friends reminds us that we are reaching the time in our life when we, too, must recognize and face mortality."

Shirley stated that in November she and Bill had been married 55 years. Bill claims its only been half that long since he was gone so much.

Joe Backers--Independence '47 sent a card postmarked Royal Oak , Michigan. His note read "Hope you received the package I sent to you months ago. I don't know if any of that information was of service to you." It was, and I had sent a letter of thanks that obviously didn't get to him.

Don Anderson--Carthage Cub playing manager from 1949-51. Don's card said that he wouldn't be able to make it to the reunion this year. Anderson had a tough year due to the death of his wife, Edith.

Bob Hamric--'48 Independence. The Hamric's card made it all the way from Austin, Texas.
If I've missed any of the Christmas card senders I'll catch up before long. And, to set the record straight with Mr. Babcock, I'm not sharing these to solicit more cards. Telephone calls and personal visits will work as well as a card.

Well, Christmas is closer than I imagined when I checked the calendar today. Maybe its time to cease sending Flash Reports until the holidays are over. Here's one thing you can take to the bank. Every store that uses the term "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" will open on December 26th with their "After Christmas Clearance Sales" rather than "After Holiday Clearance Sales." Check it out and see if it doesn't happen. This is Mr. Scrooge saying "Goodnight Mr. Calabash, wherever you are." I know you all think I got that wrong because Jimmy Durante used that "Mrs. Calabash" line to sign off his radio show. Hey, I believe in equal treatment.

John G. Hall

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The author

Labels: ,

Attempting to keep the news flowing

The KOM League
Flash Report
December 16, 2006

Ed note:

I’m giving it my best to attempt to get the blood flowing once more through the veins of the KOM League Flash Report. It isn’t easy. About every five minutes the telephone rings with some inquiry regarding my mother.

From this point I’m going to cease talking about her in this forum. When I admitted her to the nursing facility on Thursday I told the administrator that their per diem rate was high but they’d earn every penny of it, dealing with mother. Within five hours of her admission she had made me a prophet. She rang the help button three times in 15 minutes. That was the normal amount of times, 24/7, that she required some type of attention while she was at my home. The nursing staff, not having that kind of manpower, (woman-power) gave her a bed pan. That quickly became a missile as she wasn’t about to use it and hurled it across the room.

Former 1952 Ponca City Dodger passes away:

A response to a Christmas card sent to St. Paul, Minnesota evoked this reply. “Dear John: Please accept this for KOM expenses ($100). Russ passed away October 26--small cell lung cancer. Thanks, Pat Greenbush.”

Greenbush, Russell A. Loving Husband, Dad, Grandpa and GG Grandpa Age 75, passed away October 26, 2006 after a courageous battle with cancer. Preceded by parents
Kenneth & Rosalia; brothers Percy & Dallas; and son-in-law Keith "Skeeter" Schultz. He will by sadly missed by his wife of 53 years, Pat (Bray); children Kitty Jo Schultz, Connie (Tim) Koch, Russell II (Vickie), Kyle (Tonya); grandchildren Kelly, Kynde, Serena, Sean, Kim, John, Katina, Kenny, Keane; great grandchildren Kail, Kaya Rose, Kyleigh; brother Warren (Donna); and sisters-in-law Jeanne Bray & Kathy Greenbush. Funeral service at MUELLER-BIES FUNERAL HOME-ROSEVILLE, 2130 N. Dale at County Rd. B on Tuesday, October 31 at 11 AM. Interment Ft. Snelling National Cemetery. Visitation from 4-8 PM Monday and also from 10 AM Tuesday until time of service. MUELLER-BIES 651-487-2550

You can see a photo of Greenbush by going to the website: http://www.canoecountry.com/pioneer/
How things “just happen”

On December 15th the Christmas cards received had a trend. They came from: Max and Nellie Mantle--Mick’s first cousin; Charlie Weber--played second base alongside Mick at Independence in 1949; Ben Craig who played with Mick with the Baxter Springs Whiz Kids and Merlyn Mantle who you all know was the wife and mother to Mick’s four boys.

Late in the evening, on the same day, a call came from Crowley, Louisiana. It was the voice of Jim Belotti. When he played for the 1949 Independence Yankees he was known as Jim Bello. Belotti wanted me to send a copy of each of my books to an 89 year-old friend of his by the name of Mickey Rendine. He said that Rendine had worked as an equipment manager for both the New York Yankees and New York Jets prior to his retirement.

Christmas cards and notes received this season. (This is not a ploy to solicit more mail Actually, Christmas cards indicate to me that there are still some folks out there who are alive.)
Max and Nellie Mantle--Sorry you couldn’t make it to Spavinaw. (A reference to the October 20, 2006 dedication of a painting of Mickey Mantle celebrating his 75th birthday.)
Charles Weber--Looking forward to the next reunion. My health is good but my hip is still causing a problem.
Merlyn Mantle--Hope you have a great holiday.
Corky Simpson--(Leaving the newspaper business after a long career. Fortunately, our friendship endures.)
Ben Craig--Member of the Baxter Sprngs Whiz Kids. May our Lord be with you both in your caregivers role. Been there. Thanks for your dedication to those baseball lovers of yore as, one by one, they meet their Savior. God bless.
Andy Tkac--Bartlesville Oilers 1947
Lou Michels--1948 & 1950 Independence Yankees.
Harry Crandall--1950 Ponca City Dodgers. Have the best holiday season. Sounds like we will be seeing you in August.
Dan Dollison--Batboy-1949 Independence Yankees. Here’s my past due subscription. I enjoy reading all your literature and I appreciate what you are doing for your mother.
Marye Pollock--widow of former KOM Leaguer, Joe Pollock.
Patricia Hinchberger--Widow of Don Hinchberger of the 1950 Bartlesville Pirates. The KOM League Remembered newsletter was Don’s memorial and his widow continues to support it, generously.
Kenny Bennett--Member of the 1949 Independence Yankee pitching staff.
Pete Castiglione--Member of the 1940 Carthage Pirates and later a major leaguer. Have a great holiday and a New Year for your KOM League.
Joe Stanka--1950-51 Ponca City Dodgers. I won’t print what he wrote. Okay, I will. It said “It was great to see you this summer past. Still hoping for a visit from you.” Of course, his wife, Jean, signed it.
Hallie Mantle--She is the 93 year-old Mantle family historian and writes that she fell in her nursing home room a few weeks ago and broke her wrist and arm. Her older sister, Myrtle suffered a slight stroke earlier this year. They are in a nursing home at Linn, MO.
Pat Neighbors--Widow of Harry Neighbors, a member of the 1949-50 Bartlesville Pirates.
Patricia Greenbush--Widow of Russ Greenbush--Ponca City Dodgers 1952
Rex Simpson--Chanute 1947 and Pittsburg 1948.
Robert Passarella--Carthage 1949.
Vic Damon--Iola 1952.
Bill Bagwell--Independence 1948.
Russ Oxford--Carthage 1951.
Dale Hendricks--Ponca City 1947-48.
Al Solenberger--Bartlesville 1947-48-50-51. After a tough week his Christmas card comment was greatly appreciated. It read “I think often of the way you have enriched our lives.” Hopefully, sharing the news that each of you share with this publication does “brighten the corner where you are” just a bit.
Gale Wade-Ponca City 1947-48
Al Billingsly-Independence 1948
Dick Tretter--Ponca City 1949 and TV and movie actor thereafter. Tretter report a tough year with three nasty falls, pneumonia and vitreoretinal surgery on an eye. He is wishing for an uneventful 2007.
Lee Goodpasture- Independence 1947. He’s recently been found to have two tumors on the brain and one in the lung.
Robert Taylor--1948 Chanute Giants.
Bob Newbill--Independence Yankees 1949.
Willard “Billy” Johnson--Baxter Springs Whiz Kids
Doris Dodson--Widow of the late Stokes Richard Dodson of the 1947-48 Independence Yankees.
James Eriotes--Miami Owls 1948 and pinch hit for Sioux Falls in 2006 making him the oldest player to appear in a regular season professional game.
Bill Baurenfeind. Carthage Cubs 1951. He sent along some nice photos from that season and a subscription to the newsletter..
Loyd Wayne Simpson. Miami Eagles and Pittsburg Browns 1951. Simpson is a baseball card collector and sent along Topps cards for Ronnie Kline, Jim Pisoni and Lou Skizas. The Kline card was the 1967 card with the Minnesota Twins and the Skizas and Pisoni cards were both 1957 and each of those guys were with the Kansas City A’s.
Kline got tied up with some bad teams in his life. After going 18-4 at Bartlesville in 1951 he never had another winning season until 1964 when he went 10-7 with the Washington Senators. He had three straight winning seasons at Washington which was no easy task. (I wonder if some year Simpson will send along the 1952 Topps card of Mickey Mantle? Operations are standing by to accept that call.)
Rosie Baldrick--She was the daughter of the family who took care of all the Independence Yankee players by housing and feeding many at their Hilltop motel and restaurant.
Paul Hoffmeister--Carthage 1949-50. Mary Lou sent along a photo of a dozen members of the family
Don Keeter--Ponca City 1949-50-52. He noted that he sure missed his former teammate, Mike Witwicki at the holiday season.
Martha Weeks--Widow of 1946 Bartlesville Oiler, Paul Weeks.
Jean Wilson--Widow of Ed Wilson of the 1948 Miami Owls and 1952 Iola Indians.
Lee Dodson--1946 Chanute Owls. Dodson is ready to handle the registration
Janet Schwarze--She is the daughter of a fellow named Stan Musial. Anyone ever heard of him?
He went down but got up

Bill Clark, the former major league scout and KOM League “reject” took a tumble on the ice at a Sunday service recently. The good news is that he didn’t break anything. However, he’s been seen hobbling around Columbia, MO recently and has even considered letting his wife drive him up to the entrance of some of the venues he frequents while she then goes and parks the vehicle.
Oh boy mom and dad...more sleaze on the way!

Rod Nelson shared this after someone e-mailed him about the latest Mantle novel.
His comment to the person asking his opinion regarding the book was to read John Hall’s book on Mickey Mantle if they wanted the “real poop.” Anyway, there is more trash coming to a bookstore near you.

Judith Regan is at it again. Fresh off the controversy of the canceled If I Did It by O.J. Simpson, Regan Books is planning to publish yet another title featuring an American sports icon—and again the public might not stand for it. 7: The Mickey Mantle Novel, described by its author, Peter Golenbock, as an "inventive memoir" and by others who have seen the galley as something tantamount to pornography, is likely to evoke charges of bad taste and questionable ethics when it is published in March in a 60,000-copy first printing. It may even occasion claims of libel, according to publishing lawyers.
Two media insiders who have read the galley, each of whom asked not to be identified by name, used words like "porn," "debased," "exploitative" and "vile" to describe the book's contents. One of them said the book left him "speechless." (Click here to read exceprts from the book.)
In the novel, Golenbock, author of dozens of sports titles, tells Mantle's story in the first person—"in Mickey's own words," as he said by telephone to PW, "so that readers will get a better idea of who Mickey was."

It is the authenticity of those words, however, and the raunchy stories and inflammatory jokes they tell, that will be at issue. Mantle, considered one of the top three or four players of all time, retired in 1968. His prodigious athletic talents and legendary social carousing were all part of his mystique. He died of cancer in 1995, but by then had charmed fans with his candid self-criticism and mordant wit. Bob Costas spoke for a generation of baseball fans in the eulogy he delivered at Mantle's funeral: "There was greatness in him, but vulnerability, too. He was our guy."
In an "author's note" in the galley of 7, Golenbock refers to his book as "inventive memoir," and says his publisher calls it "reality fiction." Asked why he didn't just write a straight biography, Golenbock said, "Every time I sat down to outline it, I knew that all of the stories that were told to me over the years were not documentable, and it concerned me, especially after what happened with Jim Frey. My choice then became to write a biography and leave these stories out—but that wouldn't be Mickey Mantle. It really didn't leave me any other choice."
Golenbock said he cadged many of his Mantle stories from ex-teammates like Jim Bouton, Whitey Ford, Hank Bauer and Joe Pepitone. Ex-Yankee player and manager Billy Martin, who figures prominently in the novel, both on the field and in the bedroom, was a friend of the author. "Since I was close with Billy, I had a very good relationship with [Mantle]. He figured anyone who could work with Billy is somebody he could trust." Yankee great Yogi Berra, when asked what he knew about the Golenbock book, said through a spokesman, "I won't dignify it with a comment."
Fans of Mantle may wonder how trustworthy Golenbock is when they read some the salacious episodes related in Mickey's voice, which range from long descriptions of oral sex, a sexual conquest of Marilyn Monroe, and an offhand accusation that the late Billy Martin was a rapist, all interspersed with jokes set off from the text that are sure to offend everybody from minorities to the handicapped. possibly put click through the excerpts here
On the legal question, experts agree that "the dead cannot be libeled," as Jeremy Pomeroy, v-p/associate general counsel with Reed Business Information [PW's corporate parent], put it. Another lawyer familiar with manuscript vetting, agreed: "The rule of thumb is, don't worry about what you say unless something you say has direct effect on the reputation of people living." The Mantle family, however, which oversees the Mantle estate and manages licensing projects, might stand to incur financial damage if Mantle's reputation is irreparably sullied. Danny Mantle, Mickey's son, is thanked in the book, though Golenbock is unclear on whether Mantle has approved the final product. "I actually sent him an early draft," Golenbock told PW, "which doesn't mean anything. Whether he knows or doesn't know doesn't make any difference."
Normally, said one lawyer, a book clearly labeled as fiction puts an enormous burden on a plaintiff in the cause of libel. But "reality fiction," he said, "makes for a gray area—somewhere north of Scarlett O'Hara and south of a docudrama. It does push it closer to something that a publisher would want to vet as if it is a nonfiction book."
Doug Glad, Golenbock's editor at Regan, did not respond to PW's inquiries.
Sure to be among the most controversial scenes in the book is Mantle's alleged affair with Marilyn Monroe behind husband Joe DiMaggio's back. When asked if this was strictly fiction, Golenbock said, "It was based on one sentence that Billy said to me. One sentence. It was something like, 'When Mickey and I were in San Francisco one day, Mickey and Marilyn got together.' Something like that. That was the sentence. A very intriguing sentence."
A former baseball executive with intimate knowledge of the Yankees told PW flatly that the Mickey-Marilyn liaison "never happened."
As it happens, HarperCollins expects to publish a full-scale biography of Mantle in 2009, to be written by Jane Leavy, author of the bestselling Koufax. The book's editor, David Hirshey, calls Leavy's book "a serious, journalistic account of Mantle's life, and this won't affect it one bit." Interestingly, Hirshey had not seen the Regan Books galley, despite their shared corporate address.
Publishing endured three prominent scandals this year—James Frey, Kaavya Viswanathan and the aborted O.J. hypothetical tell-all. By March, when 7 is set to publish, Judith Regan may well again be in the news, pushing the envelope as to what the American public will accept as viable storytelling. Costas noted in his eulogy, "We didn't just root for [Mickey], we felt for him." Time will tell how the public feels about Golenbock's, and Regan's, handling of their "guy.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The death of former KOM Leaguer--Alex Coleman

A Brief KOM League
Flash Report
December 15, 2006


I haven't been keeping up with my duties on the Flash Report and other tasks of late. Yesterday another episode with my mother took place. We moved her to a nursing home near Springfield, Missouri so that she could receive the kind of treatment required for her severe spinal and back pain. She will receive assistance through Hospice in order to make her more comfortable.

My wife and I followed an ambulance sent from St. Johns Hospital in Springfield down the two-lane and then four lane Interstate yesterday afternoon. We made the 186 mile one-way trip, went through the admissions process, grabbed a bite to eat at the world famous "Lamberts Throwed Roll" cafe and zoomed up the highway back home and hit the sack at 9:50 p.m. At 9:55 my wife was sound asleep and I was wondering why I couldn't.

At the same time as we were chasing the ambulance down I-44, just a "few" miles further west, on that same road, the former oldest living member of the KOM League was being laid to rest. The following is the obituary on a fellow who caught for teams such as the Wichita Boeing Bombers during the WW II era and when the KOM League was founded followed Frank "Goldie" Howard over to Chanute to be a member of the first KOM League pennant winning team.

Alex Coleman

Alex Coleman (93) went home to be with the Lord on Friday December 8, 2006. He joins his beloved wife, Mildred, who awaited him in Glory. Alex was born February 13, 1913 in Ada, Oklahoma to Charles Boyd and Emma Jane Coleman. He attended Classen High School, played minor league baseball, was a Mason and was an active member of Crown Heights Baptist Church for over 60 years. As a firefighter, Chief Coleman was loved and respected by his men for the many years he served on the Oklahoma City Fire Department. He married the love of his life, Mildred, in 1933 and they spent 72 years together. Alex was a caring husband and father and exceptional grandfather and great-grandfather. He is survived by two sons, Len and his wife, Nancy, in New Jersey and Gib and his wife, Tina, in Minnesota and a nephew Jimmy and his wife, Nora, in Moore, Oklahoma and many other loving relatives. His love permeated his family of 7 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by an infant son, 'Peewee' Merle Alex, six brothers and sisters and his wife, Mildred. Memorial contributions can be made to Crown Heights Baptist Church, 4802 N. Western, Oklahoma City, OK 73118 in the name of Alex Coleman. Funeral service will be Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006 at 10:00 AM at Baggerley Memorial Chapel, 13313 N. Kelley, Oklahoma City (405) 755-1111. The family will receive friends from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. Wednesday, December 13th at the funeral home.

Click on this URL for the Daily Oklahoman and you'll see a more current photo of Alex Coleman. If you'd like to see how he looked in 1946 as a 33-year old KOM League rookie, you can purchase either Majoring in The Minors or KOM League Remembered and see for yourself. That is an awful crass way of promoting books, isn't it? Actually, some folks are ordering books for Christmas. If you would like one of the aforementioned books or Mickey Mantle Before the Glory you can order them in the next couple of days to receive them by Christmas. One is on its way today to Sacramento, California. Alex Muirhead cared enough of his son Jim, to send the very best. Son Jim will be getting, Mickey Mantle Before the Glory.
http://www.legacy.com/oklahoman/Obituaries.asp?Page=SearchResults --

By the way, thanks to all who have sent Christmas cards and to those who have re-subscribed to the KOM League Remembered newsletter. In some shape, form or fashion there will be another newsletter coming out after the first of the year. It will not be in the newspaper format as it has in the past decade since I got dropped from that publisher for reasons far beyond my ability to comply.

John G. Hall

Saturday, December 09, 2006

More KOM League news

The KOM League

Flash Report


December 09, 2006


The reason for this Flash Report

John, I haven't received any e-mails from you lately. I hope all is well. Ed Hoke--Troy, OH

Ed comment:

You have to be careful in life not to dwell on your own concerns. Over the past few weeks the routine around the KOM League Hall of Fame and Huge Snow Pile has been redirected due to the moving of my mother to reside at the HOF and HSP. Things have gone downhill for her since her arrival and my wife and I are coping.

A little has been shared in the Flash Reports about mother but not many of the details. Anyone who has ever provided care for their mother, father or any other aged person can write their own encyclopedia on the experience. Some of the comments found in this report reflect what others have shared regarding making the life of their loved one a little more tolerable, in their final days.

There is another chapter to most stories, such as the one the Hall's are experiencing, and that is greed. Within any family there is always one person who, in their quest to grab everything of temporal value, makes things tough for everyone else. I must say our family didn't escape that scourge. I will not share the details of our experience. Suffice to say, the "scoundrel" in our family is so far down the "food chain" that I never expected (he/she/it) would be the cause of so much hardship being brought to bear on those whose only interest was in helping mother. Of course, in the long run, it hurts mother more than anyone else. If you believe in the adage that "Time wounds all heels" the person who has wronged the rest of our family will have a lot of suffering to do before (he or she) leaves this world. When that person gets to the Great Hereafter (he/she) can explain (his/her) motives. I'm sure God is waiting for the explanation.

Today the sun is shining. Yesterday was one of the worst days in many years for the person my wife and I are providing health care. The only salvation to the whole ordeal is that the person for whom it was being provided doesn't recall a single incident of what transpired.

Coming off the last 60 hours with three hours of sleep I trust this report is somewhat coherent. If it fails in that regard be aware that the KOM League Flash Report still flickers.
Finally, an obituary for Eldon Yung

Unfortunately, I was unable, as editor of the KOM League Flash, to attend the funeral of my friend Eldon Yung. The day of his funeral was the same day I packed and moved my mother from Springfield, Missouri. Thanks to my "older brother," Bob Newbill, I'm able to share the obituary that was handed out at Yung's funeral.

J. Eldon Yung, 75, of Warrensburg, MO died Monday, November 20, 2006 at Country Club Care Center in Warrensburg.

He was born Tuesday, February 17, 1931 in Guide Rock, NE the son of John Yung and Gold Rouse Yung.

Mr. Yung graduated from Guide Rock High School in May of 1949. From 1949 to 1951 he played minor league professional baseball for Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri (KOM) Baseball League. *

He received a Bachelor of Arts in Education in 1958 and a Masters of Arts in Education from Nebraska State Teachers College, Kearney: Doctor of Education from the University of Missouri at Columbia in 1965.

On March 9, 1951 he married Darlene Opal Payne in Guide Rock. She preceded him in death on May 11, 2005.

He served in the United States Air Force from 1952 to 1955 with overseas service in Japan.

From 1959 to 1961 he taught Junior High Industrial Arts in Omaha, NE. He was Superintendent of Schools in Holstein, NE from 1961 to 1963.

Mr. Yung was a Professor at Central Missouri State University in Industrial Technology retiring in 1991. He was chair of the Department of Graphics from 1969 to 1977. He served six years on the Warrensburg R-VI Board of Education from 1971 to 1977; serving both as President and Vice-President.

Mr. Yung was on the Board of Directors for Phi Delta Kappa, District Representative of West Central Missouri Genealogical Society and Publications Coordinator; member of the Sons of the American Revolution-Martin Warren Chapter, Warrensburg, Missouri Society of the S. A. R., Warrensburg Wheels Car Club, Lincoln and Continental Owners Club, member of the First United Methodist Church and it Aldersgate Sunday School class.

Survivors include a daughter, Ronda Yung, Springfield, MO; a son Larry Yung and wife Cheryl, Warrensburg: five grandchildren, three great grandchildren, two sisters and a brother. He was preceded in death by two brothers.

* Ed note: Actually, he only played for the Miami Eagles of the KOM League for a couple of weeks in 1950.

Comments received regarding the December 7 Flash Report photo.

John, Your church picture is beautiful. Thank you so much. We are not sending cards this year either. Know you are very busy taking care of your mother. We all seem to go thru this. It is a part of life. Enjoy her while you can. You talk of sitting up with her, I bet she sat up with you all night many times, are we correct? Someday, you will be glad you took such compassionate care of her., know she deserves it. She must have been a very special mother to raise such a fine man. As I recall, she did it by herself as your father died young. My father died when I was about 6 or 7 and I know what my mother had to go thru to raise us. Have a wonderful Merry, Merry Christmas. Dick Getter

You should start producing calendars. Wonderful photo John.

Take real good care of your mom, share with her Bruce Orser

The snow / fence / white house shot looks just like the sainted grandmother's place in Ottawa (Kansas) during one of those 40's snows.

NG-Arlington, Texas

Sort of says it all in a quiet, pastoral setting!! Very nice pic John. I knew your mom was moving in with you but did I miss a FR or some other news that she might have had a "slip" in her health? I hope not but your comments lead me to think otherwise. She will be in my thoughts and prayers as you and I have conversed many times via email about MOTHERS, God's precious personna!!!!!

God Bless!!--Casey Casebolt, Sam Dixon's Pest!!

We have missed your news, but understand how busy you are. Being a caretaker is stressful and time consuming for everyone. Hopefully, things will ease a bit soon.
Tell Janet (Stan Musial's daughter) that the Virdons wish her Dad a Happy
Birthday also. He and Lil were always special to us, too.
Take care of yourselves----Caretakers need TLC, too!!!
Blessings, Shirley & Bill Virdon--Springfield, MO

John, First of all, my hopes that your mom will be okay. My best to you and all your family during this difficult time.


A fan recalls Red Dial

On a baseball note, I saw the reference in the newsletter to Red Dial. I think I told you this story before but in the late summer/very early fall of 1957, a young couple moved into an upstairs apartment next to the apartment my mother, brother and I were living in. It turned out that the young man was Carroll "Red" Dial and he showed me his incredible scrapbook and told me stories of his ball playing days, which had just ended that summer. A completely baseball crazy kid and Red was a real treat to know. Later, when I saw his record, particularly that 5-year run in the West Texas/New Mexico league where he won well over 20 games each year, I was even more impressed with him.

Anyway, talk to you later and my get well wishes for your mom. Jerry Hogan

Hi John --

What a nice picture, with an old-fashioned flavor, and Christmas in the crisp wint'ry air !


John, I just shared the news of Lee Goodpasture with Dad (Bob Newbill--'49 Independence Yankees). Also, they still have the obituary from Eldon Yung and Dad will just put it in the mail to you. I guess that is why we all communicate what we know and need. I am on my way to give a friend her birthday present and share a cup of tea. Then it is back home with many things to do. I will be in Chicago on Friday and a day away from school is so much work. Take care and say hello to Noel.

Cindy Newbill

Hi John, Sorry to hear your mother is not doing well. I am sure you are doing all that you can for her. You are blessed that you have had her this long. You said the news about her was not good, but who knows what is down the line for her. It is in the Lords hands. We will keep her in our prayers.

The pics were lovely. We had about 7-8 inches here at the lake (Grand Lake of the Cherokees in Oklahoma.) Take care, Bobbie Crampton.

Thanks for the beautiful picture of the church. I am now using it as my screen saver.
Merrie christmas to you and your family.

Betty Giragosian-Glen Allen, Virginia

You have reminded me why I love the south. The snow is beautiful but too cold for me. Thanks for sharing. Bruce in Monticello, Florida

John, it is nice to hear that the flowers brought such great joy. When I read your letter it made me think that I have never saw or read one of your letters where it looked like you needed some help and this is all I could think of. Besides you made my day, if you look at the KOM Flash report (12/05/06) take notice I came before Stan Musial and that will never happen again.

Dale Hendricks--Bremerton, Washington

Great job, John! I got cold just looking at these !!!!

Jeff Simpson


Photos from the past

The reason for my email is I am trying to find pictures of my grandfather, Jim Cooke, when he played for the Miami Blues (1946). My grandmother, Theresa Cooke, told me that you still might have some pictures of my grandfather. If you could please get back with me that would be great.

Thank you,

Bobby Cooke

To contact me:

email- bcbaseball20@sbcglobal.net

Ed reply:

Bobby, I have some copies of some photos of his time with the Miami club and some of him during his Army days with a former Yankee shortstop by the name of Phil Rizzuto.

Right now I'm in the midst of a major problem caring for my 92-year old mother and I don't have the time to search for those photos. However, if you'll remind me of this request from time to time I get to it as soon as possible.


Sympathy for residents of eastern Missouri

Beautiful pic! But give me that fresh cut green grass. We were without power for 3 days and some in this area (St. Louis) are still without. God Bless them and a Merry Christmas to all of you KOM League veterans. You played baseball the way it was supposed to be played. Joe Turek, Jr. (Joe Turek Sr. played for the Bartlesville Oilers in 1947)


Letter from Frank Winkler & Photos from Billy Bauernfeind

Things have a of "coming together." For a very long time I searched for Frank Winkler of the 1951 Pittsburg, Kansas Browns. Just recently we made contact and he has written a couple of interesting letters. In a letter, received this week, he was reciting the names of some of those he recalled playing against in the KOM League. In the same day's mail was a Christmas card, subscription check and some original photos from Bill Bauernfeind of the 1951 Carthage Cubs. It just so happened that Winkler recalled the name of only one Carthage player and it was George Beck (sorry Babcock). In the set of photographs, sent by Bauernfeind, is a photo of Beck holding a large thermos on one arm and a lunch pail in the other hand. It made it appear he was heading off for a hard day's work.

Here is the latest letter from Frank Winkler. If you played in the KOM League in 1951 pay close attention to see if you merited "honorable mention."

Dear John:

I appreciated the pen and memorabilia. The pen is used all the time and every time I write with it I see the KOM League insignia and it brings back memories.

I have been unable to find out any information regarding Joe Carolan. The Detroit News Obituaries have no record of his death. ...I think Joe was 19 at the time we played in Pittsburg.

Now about baseball memories. Ponca City had George Scherger as manager and he played second base. Bob Dolan was the shortstop. Denison played the outfield, Joe Stanka was a pitcher. They also had a pitcher named Gene Hines who could throw as hard as Gosney, but never played because he was so wild. At Bartlesville Tedd Gullic was the manager, Ron Kline was a pitcher, Brandy Davis was an outfielder who could really run. At Carthage the only ones I remember were George Beck 1st base and Don Biebel, catcher. Miami had Tom Warren as manager. He was a sheriff under indictment. Pete New was a left handed pitcher. Iola, Kansas was in the league but I can't remember any names.

I think you might find this interesting. What a small world it is. In 1955 while playing for the Detroit Police Department we traveled to Fort Wayne, Indiana to play this team. While I was walking to the dugout I heard someone call out "Hey Frank." I turned and guess who it was? Tommy Skole our 3rd baseman in Pittsburg was a 3rd baseman for the Fort Wayne Police Department. We exchanged some small talk and played the game. I don't remember who won. We probably each think we did. That was the last time I ever encountered any former team members. We are a few days from December, so I will sish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Until next time I remain hopeful we will be around to write again next year. Stay in good health.

Sincerely yours,

Frank Winkler

P. S. I thought of something just after I finished the letter. The 3rd baseman for Iola was a fellow from New York named Vito Valenzano. After the season I went to New York and stayed with Herb Fleischer and his parent in the Bronx. I thought Detroit was big, New York is unbelievable. To show what a small world it is, one evening Herb and I were walking on Broadway. In 1951 it was safe to walk the streets at any time day or night. Who do you think we ran into? It was Vito Valenzano who played for Iola. I thought you would find that interesting. Until the next time, Keep Healthy, anxious to hear from you again.

Ed note:

This is a note sent to Winkler in response to his letter.

Dear Frank:

It was great hearing from you again. I always love to hear from fellows who have some memories of the league. In another of those "small world" scenarios I had a Christmas card today from Niles, Michigan. It was from Bill Bauernfeind who pitched for Carthage in 1951. Guess who was in one of the photos? George Beck. Beck had a thermos bottle and a lunch pail and was acting like he was off for a day at the factory. Beck still resides in Dover, Delaware.

I'll try to respond to your letter, point by point: I can understand why you can find Carolan's obit. I have searched all death indexes around the United States and can't come up with anything either. There is a possibility he is still alive.

George Scherger: He is still living in North Carolina and was for many years the first base coach for Sparky Anderson at Cincinnati.

Joe Stanka: Big Joe resides in Fulshear, Texas and I hear from him by e-mail on a very regular basis. He made it to the White Sox before going to Japan and starring for the Nankai Hawks.

Bobby Dolan and Jack Denison have both died. Dolan died a number of years ago and Denison died this year in Bakersfield. He sent me the gold ring that team got from the Dodgers for winning the 1951 pennant. It is special.

Gene Hines was from Omaha. He died a couple of years ago. He indeed was wild. Brandy Davis was one of the nicest guys I ever knew and his death really affected a lot of us.

I hear from Don Biebel fairly often. He now lives in California.

Tommy Warren was sentenced to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary during the 1951 season and started serving his sentence at the end of the season. He played for the prison team in 1952. When he got out he played another couple of seasons and then gave up the game. He died at a very young age. Pete New is still living in Chanute, Kansas where he was the mayor for a number of years. Pete's health isn't good. He and Warren used to get into it. Pete popped off at Warren one night in Miami after a game and Warren decked him and Pete's prize was a black eye.

Tom Skole, who you mentioned seeing at Ft. Wayne is still around. He is living in the Atlanta area.

Vito Valenzano still lives in Connecticut where he coached baseball at the college level for many years.

I was never able to find Herb Fleischer. If you have any idea where he might currently reside it would be appreciated. I suspect he's still in that area if he's living.

I have gotten behind in my KOM League duties. I have moved my 92-year old mother in to live with us and she is all time consuming.

There will be a KOM League newsletter coming out shortly after Christmas. There will be a story in there about you. So, look for it on your newsstand. That's a joke. The only way you'll see it is when I send you a copy.

With so much going on I've forgotten all that I sent you last time. However, if there is anything you want let me know. I'm enclosing the rosters from all the teams in 1951 to look over. If any of the names jog your memory, let me know.

Have a great holiday and thanks again for staying in touch. John Hall


For the "limited few"

A handful of readers follow the exploits of the "Wrestling Pescaglias." They are the three grandsons of Yours Truly. Tony is a red-shirt freshman at the University of Missouri and had a very successful weekend last week at Cedar Rapids, Iowa going against some of the best competition at the NCAA level from across the country.

Kyle Christopher (K. C) and Vince are wrestling at the high school level this year. K. C. is the defending state champion at 125 pounds and both he and Vince are undefeated in seven bouts this new season. No one has even come close to going one two-minute period with K. C. . In bouts this season his opponents have lasted 16, 21, 38, 42, 40, 41, and 16 seconds respectively. He has another bout this afternoon at a duals competition in Jefferson City. The teams come from Illinois and the majors schools from the metropolitan and rural schools from around the State of Missouri.

A number of wrestlers have already gone up or down in weight in order to avoid K. C. Before long he is going to encounter stalling mechanisms by his opponents in order just to remain in a match. He's a good wrestler but an even better student. Gosh, I wish his maternal grandpa had wound up with some of his many talents.

Late afternoon update: Stop the presses. K. C. suffered a stunning "loss." It took him 1 minute and 2 seconds to pin his latest opponent. He had his opponent in the cradle position from the start but it took him that long to get the pin.

Even later: K. C. and Vince Pescaglia are now 9-0 after winning another match at Jefferson City this afternoon.. K. C. got back in the groove with a pin in 24 seconds of the first period and Vince won by a pin in 2 minutes and 46 seconds. Whew!! I'm exhausted waiting on the results of those contests.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

First Flash Report in December

The KOM League
Flash Report
for 12/05/06*
* This report is sent as a blind carbon copy to 565 addresses. If you are a recipient of this report and don't care to be, let me know and I'll take your name from the distribution list. If you know of anyone who would like to be added to the mailing list please advise.

Ed comment:
There hasn't been any activity with regard to these Flash Reports in some time. I had an inquiry from Dale Hendricks of Bremerton, Washington (1947-48 Ponca City Dodgers) as to why the lack of news. It was explained that with the condition of my mother most things had taken a back seat to her needs. A few hours later a knock came at the front door and the floral delivery man was pretty upset that I hadn't shoveled the front sidewalk and front porch. Regardless he delivered a very beautiful vase of flowers for my mother, wife and Yours Truly.
The note with the flowers read "Hope this bring a little joy--Dale Hendricks." It brought a bit more than that. The thoughtfulness brought a few tears.
This edition of the Flash Report is being prepared during the "mother watch." My wife and I trade nights keeping an eye on my mother and its my turn to stay awake until the sun rises. Earlier this evening I drove to Jefferson City, Missouri to watch two of my grandsons wrestle. Both Vince and K. C. Pescaglia won rather easily. K. C. who won a state championship last year seems destined to challenge for that crown once more. In his typical fashion he dispatched his opponent in 21 seconds of the first period.
When I arrived home around 10 p. m. my wife was frantically waving for me to get into the house ASAP. She said someone was on the telephone with bad news. It was indeed bad. Lee Goodpasture, one of our KOM League alums and who never misses a reunion, called to let me know he had been taken to the emergency room nine days ago. As a result of a CAT scan they found two tumors on the brain and one on his lung. He will be undergoing both radiation and chemotherapy for those problems. As is the case with most of the guys who get in touch, when major problems are diagnosed, he is very philosophical and is worried more about getting his affairs in order, for his family's sake, than anything else.
There seems to be a trend that when the former KOM Leaguers (also Western Association players) go into the hospital they have surgeons who are baseball fans. Recently, Carl Lombardi of the 1950 Joplin Miners had multiple bypass surgery and he requested a copy of "Mickey Mantle Before the Glory" for his surgeon. Goodpasture continued the trend by asking me to send along a copy of that book to his surgeon. I have plenty of the Mantle books available. But if it takes one of my friends getting sick and then presenting a book to their surgeon I'd just as soon see the cessation of book sales.
If you are not a follower of the KOM League, I'll put Goodpasture in perspective for you. He and a little high school teammate were the top pitchers on the team. Goodpasture was the better of the two in high school and the Yankees chose him and the Cardinals took his buddy. His buddy is Joe Presko who made it to the major with the Cardinals et. al. They are still close friends.
Following the death of Eldon Yung I expected to find an obituary in the media at Warrensburg, Missouri. All I ever located was the following in the Central Missouri State University news. I guess my write up in the last Flash Report will have to suffice as the obituary for the readers of this publication.
J. Eldon Yung
Nov 22, 2006, 14:45

WARRENSBURG. Mo. - J. Eldon Yung, 75, of Warrensburg died this Monday November 20, 2006 at Country Club Care Center in Warrensburg.

Funeral services for Yung will be 10 a.m. Friday November 24, 2006 at First United Methodist Church in Warrensburg with burial in the Sunset Hill Cemetery.

Memorial Contributions suggested to Phi Delta Kappa Education Foundation.


Winter storm photos

You certainly shovel snow well! Your pictures do bring back memories of winters in Indianapolis, IN when I was much younger and our kids were still thrilled with the idea of snow days. I'm afraid I'm too old to be thrilled with cold weather. Probably too lazy as well!

Your e-mail just reinforces how fortunate I am to be where I am, fairly healthy and financially secure. I have definitely been blessed for some obscure reason.

Your photos came through just fine and really appreciate you sending them. I try to explain to folks here how we came to know each other. It is just another amazing experience.

Thanks for sharing your life and experiences and, I don't know if I ever thanked you for the Mickey Mantle books. They're awesome. Thanks you so very much.

Gotta go, stay tough and stay in touch,

Dan O. in sunny California

Stan Musial's birthday! (From 11/21/06)

From all of us to Stan Musial

I will deliver the birthday wish from you all to my dad. At 86, he is doing fine, but like a lot of you, he does have some health issues because he slid into third too many times. Now, he wishes he had hit more home runs. Janet Schwarze--daughter of Stan

Ed reply:

I was looking at his home run totals, by year, yesterday. He was still able to hit 12 in his final year. Long after he retired I had a recurring dream that he was still playing but no matter how hard he tried he could never hit a home run. That was always so disappointing to me.

Janet's reply:

I think he would have a more elevated status in the baseball world, if he had also been a home run hitter. Isn't there a 500 home run club that he just missed? If he hadn't spent a year in the Navy during WWII, he might have made it, but the greatest generation had so much character and care about their America and the world that all of them did something for that war. He would not have missed doing his part either.

Ed reply:

Your dad's career wasn't diminished by missing the 500 club. Many of the guys who hit 500 did nothing else. Your dad accomplishments aren't a bit diminished in the minds of our generation who saw him and admired him for baseball and other things. Guys like Sosa, McGwire, Bonds, Palmiero and the rest can't hold a candle to your dad, in any respect.

And you are right, your dad did serve his country as part of the greatest generation and then after the war he had the appendicitis that slowed him down in 1947.

By the way, I told mom it was Stan Musial's birthday also. She looked up and said, "Well, he didn't send me a card." I told her she hadn't sent him one either. I think between her periods of forgetfulness she had a spark of humor.

Janet's reply:

Tell your mom that Stan's daughter wishes her a very Happy Birthday! To tell you the truth and a secret about dad...he really does not like to celebrate his birthday. Now that I am a bit older, I also have the same sentiment!

Ed reply:

Your dad fits right in with my way of thinking. I'll have one in six more days and all the family has been instructed to forget it.

Ed observation:

Had that screen not have been in front of the right field pavilion at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, Stan Musial would have hit 500 homers, easily. He was a line drive hitter and the ball had to clear the roof of that pavilion and got out on to Grand Avenue, to be a home run.

Bob Curley's health update

John, just thought I'd pass my good news on to you, cause I appreciate everyone's good wishes and prayers. The Dr. scoped me (esophagus) and everything is clear. No cancer or infection any where .So he proceeded to take my unused feeding tube out. Now I just have to get back to feeling like I did before this thing hit me. Isn't that great? Talk about a happy and thankful guy. I thank you for your good wishes, and your prayers. That sure goes for all the KOMers too. Bob Curley--Covington, KY and member of the 1946 Chanute, Kansas Owls.

What is being said in Christmas Cards.

Don Keeter and Mike Witwicki were Ponca City Dodger teammates in 1949-50. In Keeter's card he said "I sure miss my buddy, Mike at the holidays.


Herb Heiserer, Independence Yankees '50, sent greetings and mentioned that he was looking forward to August 2007 and another KOM League reunion.

In the same vein, Lee Dodson, Chanute '46 sent his pledge to do anything he could to ensure that we had another reunion in 2007. Dodson has kept the reunions solvent by handling the registration fees for each of the events.

Internet paid off

I'm not kidding myself, the posting of these Flash Reports on the blogspot is basically a waste of time. However, once the reports get into cyberspace they seem to be there forever.

Last night I received a telephone call from Don Carpenter in El Paso, Texas. He had come across one of the early Flash Reports (circa. 1998) where Carroll P. "Red" Dial had been mentioned. Dial was one of the top hurlers in KOM League history and went on to carve a pretty good niche in the West Texas-New Mexico (WTNM) league. Dial won 22 games at Bartlesville in the KOM league and later won 28 in the WTNM.

Carpenter said that his "major leaguers" were guys like Red Dial and the highlight of his life was when his father invited Dial to dinner one evening. What impressed Carpenter that his hero, Dial, didn't even own a car and his father had to transport him to and from the dinner engagement.

A promise was made to Mr. Carpenter to mention him in a Flash Report and to see if anyone recalls playing with and against Dial in the WTNM. I told him scores of former KOM Leaguers would remember the Bartlesville righthander.


The Chiseler--Bob Speake

I did want to mention that Bob Speake--Carthage '49 had a nice article written about him in the Topeka Capital Journal of November 5, 2006. It featured his gift as a word carver. His handicraft almost rivals his baseball skills of earlier days. Lee Dodson sent me a copy of that edition and I suspect Speake has a few copies laying around just praying someone will request a copy. If you work it just right he might even sell you one of his masterpieces. He didn't authorize this commerical, I just threw that in as a public service.

Speake claims he saves all of these reports and the KOM League newsletter, so this is a test to see if he reads this one.