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, September 30, 2006

The KOM League
Flash Report
for
September 29, 2006

Editorial comment:

Thanks to a merciful schedule maker the Major League baseball season is about to wind down. For most teams its "Wait till next year." After
seeing the prospects for some of the "has been" clubs I don't think the eternal optimism is going to help much. We in the Midwest have
been treated to a horrible Kansas City club all season and the St. Louis "Phillies" for the better (worse) part of the last half of the 2006 season.

In search of a reason to publish these Flash Reports I think I have another excuse for so doing. These reports help the die-hard baseball fan
take their minds off the dismal performance of their team. Last evening I took my grandsons out for supper. The youngest wanted me to come
over and watch the Cardinal/Brewers game on their new digital flat-screen TV. I told him there would be two "flats" in the game, the screen and
the Cardinals. With his youthful optimism he assured me the Cardinals would straighten out and fly right. Yep, they flew right, right into a buzz saw.

This evening after school he came by the house and in a somber tone said "Grandpa, you were right." So, I'll share this report with him and others
like him. These are the "real" baseball stories that have stood the test of time.


Critique of the last Flash Report

The following e-mail you are about to attempt to read is true. Well, at least it is the truth as the writer of the thing perceives the truth to be.

I'm always a bit skeptical of anyone who doesn't type in both upper and lower case. To me it shows that the writer is either very forceful in his
remarks or is too lazy to manipulate the shift key. In other words the guy could be deemed, "shiftless."

So, without further ado here are some comments from a guy who lives in a state where the Governor is Romney and the two Senators are
Kerry and Kennedy. That will identify the state in which the writer of the following e-mail is now "serving his time."

 JOHN,YOU PUT SOME COMMENTS FROM SOME OF YOUR READERS IN YOUR LAST HOT
FLASH THAT I DISAGREE WITH. FOR INSTANCE: CAL HRABOS- HE HAS THE GALL TO SAY
HE IS SPEAKING FOR ALL OF US AND I NEVER GAVE HIM PERMISSION TO SPEAK FOR
ME.

DON POTTS DOESN'T EVEN KNOW ANY OF US AND YET HE CLAIMS WE ARE ALL
AGING. I THINK YOU (JOHN HALL) SHOULD SHOW A LITTLE RESTRAIN IN PUTTING
THESE TYPES OF COMMENTS IN YOUR HOT FLASHES "FLASH REPORT".

BOB MALLON WANTS TO BRING HIS CHILDREN TO A REUNION. I THINK YOU
SHOULD ADVISE HIM OF THAT "X-RATED" SHOW THAT HOWARD HUNT PUT ON. HELL, IT
EVEN MADE ME BLUSH ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS.

HOWARD HUNT SAID THE REUNION WAS "GREAT," BUT HE DIDN'T HAVE TO SIT IN
THE AUDIENCE AND LISTEN TO THE TRASH HE THOUGHT WAS FUNNY. I HOPE YOU NEVER
ASK HIM TO PERFORM LIKE THAT AGAIN. HE IS AS UNCOUTH AS YOU CAN GET. HE USED
TO BE A FRIEND.

DAN OLMSTEAD WASN'T EVEN A PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE AND HE MADE THE
COMMENT THAT THE WRITING OF BILL CLARK BROUGHT A TEAR TO HIS EYE. WELL,
WHERE THE HELL ELSE DID HE THINK HE WOULD GET IT.

JUDY BOSELO FROM CANTON, OHIO, HAD SOME INSIGNIFICANT THINGS TO SAY
ALSO. THE ONLY GOOD THING SHE HAD TO SAY TO ME AT THE REUNION WAS, THAT
CANTON HAD A GREAT MAYOR IN THE EARLY 60'S NAMED BABCOCK. I COULDN'T BRING
MYSELF TO ADMIT TO HER THAT IT WAS MY FATHER. HE WAS THE MOST CORRUPT MAYOR
ANY CITY COULD HAVE HAD.

ONE LAST THING, BETTY GIRAGOSIAN CLAIMS SHE IS A FRIEND OF DON POTTS
AND SHE HAS NEVER MET HIM AND SHE BELIEVES HE IS A JEWEL. DON WAS A BAT-BOY
LIKE YOU JOHN, AND YOU KNOW A BAT-BOY CAN NOT BE A JEWEL. WALT BABCOCK

P.S. SOME OR ALL OF THIS MAY NOT BE TRUE
.

Dear John.
Enjoyed this KOM Flash report. What a great 'paper.
However, I am from Virginia, not North Carolina..
You know how Virginians are--conceited and proud. Wanting to be recognized as Virginians.
Betty Giragosian

Fellow sympathizer

Can feel your pain re dealing with Symantec, (or any PC related outfit), I ditched Norton some years back when Peter Norton sold his company to Symantec. Have a solution for you- go to www.gethuman.com and download their database of phone numbers that will frequently get a human. Symantec is on the list.
Was really going to make the effort to get to your shindig but as usual golf won out, couldn't resist entering one more time in the old Dupont World amateur. It's a good thing too for after the first round had to rush the Better Half to the hospital for emergency gall bladder surgery. Maybe next time.
Best regards--
Jim Conroy--1951 Carthage Cubs

Book wholesalers and computer help sites are similar

Dear John: Enjoy your newsletters so much. Am glad the dog is well. Nice to hear the words of appreciation for your efforts for the reunion, etc.
Yes, I know you must be frustrated with the wholesalers and Amazon. Let me know what I can do to help. Barbara

Ed reply:

Thanks for the note. I guess there is nothing in the world that can be done about wholesalers. I do know that upon close inspection very few
of those books are defective in any manner. That is fine but the postage going and coming is a sizable expense. I guess I'll have to plug
these books a bit harder on my e-mail site. Suspect most of the folks who read my e-mail have already purchased a book or aren't the
least bit interested.

Ed comment:


Barbara is my friend with the company who published the Mantle book. Some days in the book business can be very discouraging but the
next day the tables can be turned and a smile can return to your face. Since last week's dealing with book wholesalers things have turned
around in my favor.

Walk of Fame

Hi John-I was wondering if you could pass along the mailing or email address of Wes Westrum's cousin, who I know is a reader of the Flash Reports? Mr. Westrum will be among those honored with a plaque in Eau Claire's "Walk of Fame" outside of Carson Park, and we want to make sure the family members are all notified.
Thanks!
Jason Christopherson

Ed reply:


I've lost all touch with Tim Westrum since the Joplin reunion. The following is the last e-mail address I had for Lyle Westrum's daughter.
(Passed along but not included here.)

Ed comment:

Lyle Westrum shared the catching duties at Joplin, Mo. of the Western Association with Cal Neeman in 1950. That club included Steve Kraly, Bob
Wiesler, Lou Skizas and a shortstop by the name of Mantle. All of those guys including Neeman and excluding Westrum made it to the Major Leagues.

Keep me in the loop

Hi John, I think I asked you for Gale Wade address in Nebo, North Carolina this is the one I have
Gale and Barbara Wade
Route 1 Box 766
Nebo, North Carolina 28761

But I got it returned so maybe I have something wrong could you correct me I got the pictures back of Ponca Boys and want to send them again. Thanks again Molly and Dick McCoy

Ed note:

That Nebo address is the one I have used for years during the summer months. In the winter the Wade's cheat the weatherman and head for
Florida. Before telling the McCoy's they had something wrong I went to the Internet and found a new address for the Wade's. It is possible
they didn't move but rather the local postal authorities or governmental entity came up with a new address for them.

This is a plea--when you move or change your address let me know. By default I have become the source of dissemination of all demographic, biographical and personal scoop on all former KOM Leaguers. When I'm not kept in the loop my credibility is as lousy as a politician.

KOM League Inn welcomes one and all

John — it's beginning to look as tho the long-threatened trip may materialize this weekend. We figure to be in your part of the country on Wednesday the 4th (I'm shooting for the Tulsa-Southern Mississippi football game in Tulsa the night before. Yes, Tuesday night. Praise TV.) Hope you'll be there; if not, maybe we can catch you on the home-bound part of the journey. We figure to loop clockwise — Missouri, Minnesota, Illinois, possibly Indiana, then back Texasward.

If current planning goes through I hope to come bearing gifts. In any case, we'd be glad to see you again, meet Noel and perhaps Greg and certainly your herd of doggies. You do recall I prefer staying nights at a motel to being a house guest, so don't get the guest room all gussied up, just leave it be.

Please advise when you get a moment. Current plans are to leave Sunday. It's starting to look serious, too; I phoned the catsitter this afternoon and lined her up for at least seven days' residence here.

I loved the Columbia Tribune article on the Carthage gathering. Looks like the last hurrah may not have been the last after all, I see. Can't stop a good thing just cause a few of us are dying off.

—Greg -From Austin, Texas

Teaching a class next week

On this coming Tuesday the old batboy will join the old scout, Bill Clark, at one the Univ. of Missouri's Extension classes. I'll be doing a couple
of hours of stand-up comedy. The comedy will not be designed but my attempts at "teaching" will probably cause a few chuckles. There will
be a group on hand at the Extension office and it will be fed by closed-circuit to Mexico, Salem and Nevada, Missouri


What should I do?

October 20 is the wedding anniversary of the former Noel Anne Wallace and John G. Hall. I believe it will be #47 and possibly the last one if
I elect to accept an offer to attend another function that day.

The following is the offer received yesterday. It came on the letterhead of the the Oklahoma State Senate and was signed by District 18 senator, Mary Easley.

"Dear John:

The town of Spavinaw is excited to announce the dedication of its new outdoor life-size Mickey Mantle painting on October 20, in observance of
Mickey's 75th birthday. The dedication is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m., and will be held next to City Hall at Main and Lakeside Street on the south
end of town.

We anticipate much publicity for this event and look forward to seeing some of Mickey's family in attendance. Pleas contact Marjorie Wallace or Charlotte Welch if you plan to attend or if you have any questions.

We look forward to having you come and help us celebrate "The Mick," a superstar of the highest order who was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma on
October 20, 1931."

Best regards
Mary Easley

Ed note:

It just so happens that Marjorie Wallace and Charlotte Welch came to a book signing I had last year in nearby Pryor, Oklahoma. They already
had an idea of doing something to honor Mickey and wanted to know if I had photos of the place he was born. I didn't and didn't have much
hope any could be located. However, we discussed the issue for a while and I suggested some ways they might go about looking for old photos.
Much to my amazement, a few weeks later, Marjorie sent me around 20 photos of the Mantle birth place along with some of the earliest photos ever
taken of Mickey and others of his mother, dad and grandfather, Charlie.

Would it be discourteous for me to turn down the invitation to attend their function? Tune in next month when you'll hear how much I missed going to Spavinaw or the judge declaring the amount of alimony my wife will be receiving for the rest of her life by virtue of my going to the Mantle dedication.

Stanka gift in the mail

MORNING JOHN, I AM SENDING YOU A MAGAZINE SABR SENT ME. YOU SAID THEY SEND YOU STUFF FROM TIME TO TIME, BUT MAYBE NOT THIS. NAME OF MAG. IS "RAIN CHECK, BASEBALL IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST."

WHILE I UNDERSTAND YOU DON'T CARE A LOT ABOUT BASEBALL IN PARTICULAR, AND STATISTICS IN GENERAL, THERE ARE A COUPLE OF ARTICLES YOU MIGHT ENJOY. I WILL TRY AND GET IT MAILED TODAY, IF NOT, MAYBE TOMORROW, IF NOT, MAYBE NEXT WEEK, OR, MAYBE JUST BRING TO 2008 REUNION.

BYE TO YOU, AND HI TO NOEL
JOE STANKA

Ed reply:

I'll never last long enough to see a 2008 reunion. If we have another maybe 2007.6 would be a good year. Please feel free to send anything
you have at your disposal. Or, you could wait until I come to Houston?. Your wife invited us down to use your spare bedroom while I write
the story of your exciting life. I told her that we'd have to bring along a couple of English Cockers. She said she'd have to check that out
with you. Evidently, she hasn't.

In that past we've discussed a book about your life. Jog my memory and tell me what you think the title should be. jgh

Later..

Stanka made a frantic call to me after receiving that e-mail. He said his wife thinks I'm kidding about bringing the dogs and he believes I'm
pulling his leg about coming to Houston. As time will tell neither John Hall, his wife or dogs will be going much of anywhere except to take
the dogs for their daily strolls. Bad thing about that we don't officially own those dogs. We just assist in their upkeep and care. Come to
think about we do a pretty good job of it.

In our discussion earlier in the week Stanka discussed how bad a club the Houston Astros are and I told him they'd win the National League
Central. That was when the Cards still had a 3.5 game lead. I stand by my prediction that this Cardinal club will go down, right alongside the
1964 Philadelphia Phillies, and then Tony LaRussa can join the Gene Mauch fraternity. Go ahead and tell me it hasn't got anything to do with
the manager.

I love those checks in the mail

Dear John, I have just written a check for your book and will gwet it in the mail today.
This morning, on HBO, we happened to see a most moving account of Mickey Mantle's life.
Haike, my husband, was a 4 letter man in high school, and played basketball and football in college. Always a great interst in sports.
He has always been a fan and admirer of Mickey Mantle. I know he especially will enjoy your book.
Pleaee write-to Haike Giragosian--and then a few words of your own.
Thanks so much.
Betty
address on the check.

I love those check in my possession even more

Jimmy O'Neill used to work all day on the farm and then go to Ponca City Dodgers games at night. He had purchased "The KOM League
Remembered" book and loaned it and never got it back. So, he order it and the Mantle book and sent his check along with this note.
"Thanks for the quick response. I look forward to reading all of the material.

P. S. Did Jim "Tricky" West ever play in the KOM League? He coached and pitched for a semi-pro team in Ponca City mid 50's to early 60's."

Ed reply:

Jim West indeed pitched in the KOM League for the Chanute Athletics in 1950. Only back then he wasn't "Tricky." He must have gotten that
way after going back to Ponca City. He used to come to our reunions on a regular basis but hasn't been around in this decade. I think he may have
moved and forgotten to send me a forwarding address. If you know where he is tell him Sam Dixon and I want to hear from him.

Checking today's mail bag

When Bob Newbill misses a KOM League event there are always a lot of inquiries from all his buddies who miss seeing him and wife Nancy.

After this past reunion my wife had a couple of the Valomilk candy bars that are also handed out at each event to honor the memory of
Iola Indians owner, Earl Sifers. She told me that I needed to get a box and she was going to send them to her friends in Windsor, MO. So,
being the obedient and hen-pecked husband that I am, compliance was automatic. In today's mail came a thank you card and this message.
"John and Noel, you tow are the greatest. The candy bars the two pens and mainly for remembering me. I love you both. I'm going to St. John's
in Springfield to the E. N. T. Clinic. I'm a little upset with the E. N. T. Clinic in Columbia. The girl that took care of us Cochlear people had a
baby and they never replaced her so I'm going to St. John's now. We are pretty good for old folks. Cindy (daughter) now has three dog. She
is doing work at the Humane "people" and she keeps bringing these little dogs home. The last one is deaf and she is trying to teach it sign language.
Love always! Ole Bobby Gene"

Ed note:

Newbill was another member of the 1949 Independence Yankees. He caught and played first base. His best line while playing for that club was
"Mantle couldn't throw the ball and I couldn't catch it."

I'm sure if you never met Newbill that by reading his brief e-mail you'll understand why he is a favorite human being of everyone who knows him. Heck,
that's better than being in the Hall of Fame. I've had many chances to be with Newbill. I always tell people they should have his autograph since
he was a member of the 1949 Independence Yankees. He keeps protesting that the autograph people should have is Mantle's. I've about got
him convinced that his is more valuable since he signed very few items and Mantle inked literally millions. Makes perfect sense to me, how about
you?

The last time?

While the painter worked upstairs this week I was able to spend sporadic time at the computer. Sporadicity (new word coined today) was
precipitated due to the fact that I was the official furniture mover. So far there isn't any paint where it shouldn't be and there is even some
where it should be.

By virtue of hanging out in front of the computer a KOM League Remembered newsletter was pieced together. As usual, certain parts blew
up in my face and had to be done numerous times. I wrote a great article about the continuance of the newsletter three different times. Each
time something happened and I had to start over. By the time I got to the fourth version of it....well it wasn't all that great. There will be no
Pulitzer for that article. It is on page 4 of the upcoming newsletter but most of you won't see it for you don't subscribe. If you don't subscribe
and would like to see it, let me know. Maybe I'll have an extra copy of the newsletter remaining after the printer sends them off in the
unpredictable "Bulk Mail" bag.

If you attended the KOM League reunion, for the first time, and aren't on the mailing list let me know and I'll send you a copy of that newsletter
by First Class Mail. And, it won't cost you a cent. You have in essence paid for it by putting up with me at the reunion.

Speaking of the Valomilk and Iola

Penny and Bob Haberland attended the KOM League reunion on the final evening. She wrote"..Thank you for letting us attend the KOM Reunion.
Rather than saying much because it appears that it had all been said, we had a great time. I noticed that a reunion has not been held in Iola. Well,
I'm stepping up to the plate. If there is interest for next year I would certainly love to be your host."

Penny outlined the benefits Iola had to offer. She noted in her letter that it would have been nice had Bill Clark worn one of his eight World Series
rings. She has an interest in such things since the company who makes those is Herff-Jones. She commented "Now, I had to throw in the name of
the company since they have been a big part of the Haberland bread and butter." Her husband, Bob, works for Herff-Jones.

Ed note:

There were a number of World Series ring candidates represented at the reunion. I did see two 1988 World Series items at the reunion. Boyd
Bartley was wearing his ring and wife Aletha had one that had been made into a necklace.

In Penny's list of things to do, in Iola, I noticed that the Country Club was operated by the daughter and son-in-law of the late Jim Yates (long time KOM
League hurler for Iola) and a salon on the square is owned by the daughter of the late Dave Newkirk.

Regarding reunions--I made the overture that the reunions should cease since it appeared to be too burdensome on the attendees. What I did see
at Carthage was a tough bunch of people who overcame many hardships just to make the trip. What surprised me even more was their
determination to give it another try. I'm not adverse to putting these events together but I would not encourage anyone to attend if it works a
hardship on them or their family, to any degree.

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