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."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Flash Report for October 26, 2006

The KOM League
Flash Report
October 26, 2006

More headaches:

For the past decade I had great success with my Internet Provider. Recently, they sold out to another company and I'm as pleased with them as a tame canary at a cat show. To put it mildly, this marriage "ain't gonna work."

Previously, I've been able to forward messages to limitless numbers of people. When I initially attempted to send this Flash Report I kept getting the message that my
mail file was too large. I kept trimming and trimming until I was down to handful of names and was still rejected. That meant another call to the new Internet Provider and I learned that they aren't going to increase the size of the number of recipients that can be e-mailed.

I was told I could get a commercial mailer by my Internet Provider but I advised them this was a non-revenue producing project. They suggested Yahoo.com and other sites as the mailbox, but those also are limited.

Here are three suggestions I'm throwing out.

1. The best solution would be to have the readership go to http://komleagueone.blogspot.com/
I've been posting the Flash Reports there. However, as has been the case for years, no one will visit it. It wouldn't take much effort to go to that site once or twice a week and check it out.
2. The second solution is to reduce the distribution list to only those who want the Flash Reports. That would probably solve the problem. However, I don't know who wants on the list and who would do double back flips in order to be removed.
3. Stop publishing this report.

Vote for one of the above if you have an iota of interest. In order to submit this report I'll have to transmit it 30 times in order to comply with
the limitations of my new Internet Provider. Who is that provider, you ask? Remember the old Laugh-In segment when Judy Carne was
the "Sock it to me" girl? Well, my new IP is Socket and they've socked it to John Hall.

Catching up?

Last week there were a number of things I had planned to do but my mother's illness changed the schedule. I got thinking that more publicity comes my way when I don't do something rather than showing up for an event.

The next story was carried in the Pryor, Oklahoma Times. The rest of this Flash Report has been pieced together during breaks I have taken this week from painting the basement. The basement was once known as the KOM League Hall of Fame.


Mickey Mantle dedication

The town of Spavinaw will dedicate an outdoor life-size Mickey Mantle painting on Oct. 20, in observance of his 75th birthday. The dedication begins at 1 p.m. next to City Hall at Main and Lakeside Streets on the south end of town.

Baseball superstar Mantle was born in Spavinaw on Oct. 20, 1931.

Author John Hall will be on hand to autograph his book “Mickey Mantle: Before the Glory” on Main Street before the dedication.

The writer of this one has "been there."

Read with some angst about some who "think putting on an event is a breeze and cheap"~! It ain't so~!!! I've planned lots of events and 9/10ths of the time I wound up with out of pocket expenses. Maybe you should let those "?" who complain the most do all the legwork, artwork, catering setup, lodging, plus all the bills for telephone calls that are never reimbursed, and all the gasoline bills (which at that time was still on the high side), keeping track of those who vacillate on whether or not they are coming, all the cancellations you have to handle, etc., and I think you will find they somehow become very quiet. When I was president of a few organizations, the one who was always bitching and complaining, I appointed them to committees so they would find it was not all rosy. Unless they've been there they should know, it's WORK~!!!

Have a super evening, forget the naysayers, and concentrate on your everyday living problems right now.

Betty Marty

You can move but not hide

John I was in Sillwater (Oklahoma) and took your KOM league book to Jim West. He lives on a golf course and plays every other day.His wife told me to send their Email address to you It is mwest189@lcionline.com Jimmy O'Neill-

Ed note:

Jim West of the 1950 Chanute Athletics was "missing" for the last few reunions. Fortunately, a fan of the KOM League knew West following his KOM League season and tracked him down.

An old Flash Report found on the Internet

To date, the following story is the most unlikely of all. To start with, it is remarkable that the subject was ever located. A small announcement in the
Tulsa World caught the eye of a Stillwater, Okla. banker. The banker called his father-in-law telling him that an old league in which he had once
performed was getting together for a 52nd reunion.

Well, the banker, his father-in-law and this editor were only a handful of people who knew Chastain played in the KOM. To be honest, this editor didn’t know much about the KOM League career of Ernest Chastain. In fact, when the book, Majoring in The Minors was written the reference to him in the rosters listing read. “Chastain-first name and position unknown.” Then on April 27 I sat entranced as Chastain described the sequence of events that led him into and out of the
KOM League

He was born at Red Oak, Iowa on August 19, 1931. He later moved to Joplin, MO and excelled basketball for Russ Kaminsky’s Joplin High School Eagles. With the death of his mother, Chastain and his father moved to Sioux City, IA where Chastain played a lot of AAU basketball for Buck’s Booterie. While playing basketball he was spotted by a “bird-dog” and the scout got him a shot with Ponca, Nebraska’s semi-pro team. He showed enough promise to be signed by the Duluth Dukes of the Northern League

Although married by this time, and the father of a small child, he sent mother and child home to Algona, Iowa and set out to follow his dream.
Upon joining the Duluth club he was told he was headed for the deep- south for spring conditioning. The deep-south turned out to be Pittsburg,
Kansas just 20 miles from his adopted hometown.

Duluth took on the Iola Indians in a spring training tilt and when he realized he didn’t figure in the Duluth scheme of things he asked Iola for a
tryout and he was signed. Chastain was an infielder and was known for his foot speed. The 1952 season opened for Iola with a road trip to Miami. Chastain never got into the lineup.

Then in the first home game for Iola that season Chastain’s big chance came. He was sent in to pinch run in a tie game. As Chastain recalls, “We had this Cuban batter coming to the plate who had been in the minor leagues for 10 years and I knew he could lay down a bunt that would get me into scoring position.” (Ed. note: The batter was Gaspar del Toro.) On two consecutive pitches Gasper bunted foul. Then, on the third pitch Gaspar attempted another bunt and missed it entirely. The catcher threw to first and Chastain was a “dead duck.”

Following the game owner Earl Sifers handed Chastain a check for $25 and his unconditional release. (That is where the term, Earnest Money
originated.) Chastain recalls, “I had $25, a green equipment bag and I was off to Algona, IA to get my wife and son. I had pursued my dream and
had not made it.”

Chastain finally found his way back to SW Missouri and NE Oklahoma with the promise of working for the B. F. Goodrich Tire Company and playing on their company team. He arrived back there to see many of the guys he had known from around the Joplin area and many who had once performed in the KOM League. The still aspiring athlete wound up on the graveyard shift which allowed him to play for the company team as well as going up to Treece, Kansas and playing for the Tri-State Miners. The reason for playing at Treece, KS was the opportunity to play in the Kansas State Semi-pro Tournament at Wichita.

The Treece club featured many names. It once had three of the Mantle boys on it but none of them was named Mickey. They were Mickey’s twin
brothers Ray and Roy and cousin Max.

Chastain was convinced when he and his buddies signed up to play for B. F. Goodrich that they would be a similar powerhouse to the Wichita Boeing Bombers. At that statement he chuckled and said, “It didn’t turn out that way.”

Each career takes different twists and turns. Chastain followed a dream that really lasted one fleeting instant, as a pinch-runner.
Had Gaspar laid down a bunt would Chastain have survived to play another day? Who knows. However, he can lay claim that he played for the last club to ever win a KOM League pennant. That is something for which few can boast.

Ed action:

Ernie, I ran across this last night searching some old Internet files. Do you remember this? John

Chastain's reply:

P.S. I have often wished I had taken off to steal second even without a signal and wondered what might have happened. I just knew I could make it. I was just that young and eager and immature. Probably got thrown out and sent home anyway.

Logic 101

In the last Flash Report I mentioned taking a logic course among the many other college courses that never did me a bit of good. This was the
response from a former Iola Indian hurler, Hank Chott now residing in Glendora, California.

Subject: Basic Logic 101

Two South Texas farmers, Jim and Bob, are sitting at their favorite bar, drinking beer.

Jim turns to Bob and says, "You know, I'm tired of going through life without an education. Tomorrow I think I'll go to the community college, and sign up for some classes."

Bob thinks it's a good idea, and the two leave. The next day,Jim goes down to the college and meets Dean of Admissions, who signs him up for the four basic classes: Math, English, history, and Logic.

"Logic?" Jim says. "What's that?"

The dean says, "I'll show you. Do you own a weed eater?"


"Then logically speaking, because you own a weed eater, I think that you would have a yard."

"That's true, I do have a yard."

"I'm not done," the dean says. "Because you have a yard, I think logically that you would have a house."

"Yes, I do have a house."

"And because you have a house, I think that you might logically have a family."

"Yes, I have a family."

"I'm not done yet. Because you have a family, then logically you must have a wife. And because you have a wife, then logic tells me you must be a heterosexual."

"I am a heterosexual. That's amazing, you were able to find out all of that because I have a weed eater."

Excited to take the class now, Jim shakes the Dean's hand and leaves to go meet Bob at the bar. He tells Bob about his classes, how he is signed up for Math, English, History, and Logic.

"Logic?" Bob says, "What's that?"

Jim says, "I'll show you. Do you have a weed eater?"


Ed note:

To Joe Stanka: Joe, if Walt Babcock e-mails and tells you he doesn't get the joke would you tell him we'll explain it the next time he shows up at a KOM League event? By the way, Babcock has been in Chicago for the past two weeks and that is why none of us have heard from him. Look out now, however, he's back.

Keep going admonition

Just read it, John. Very sorry to hear about your mother. Yet 92 years is such a great achievement, too. Good luck with all the responsibility of arranging her care.

It's tough. But please don't give up the baseball and the flash reports! And ---- good for you for planning another reunion! You're the only guy who could make it all go! I hear you,too, when you explain how MUCH anything and everything costs these days. People need to stop and think and appreciate all that you do to keep the baseball stuff going.

Finally --- CONGRATULATIONS on your 46th wedding anniversary!
--Bill O'Donnell

Personal item

Last week I mentioned the health of my mother. In the ensuing period my wife and I have checked out the alternatives. It has come down to the fact that my mother will be moving in with us (screaming and kicking). But, turn about is fair play. It will be an experience for all

of us. Mother has three great concerns in life and two of them center around "What am I going to eat." I'll go on record now to promise any family member reading this that mother will have all she can eat, and then some.

With that bit of whimsy behind, let me say that I received scores of best wishes and suggestions from those who have traveled this road with their parents. I won't share all the comments but here are three that are a representative sample. I thank everyone for sharing their experiences.

Most of the items sent were very personal so the comments were edited.


Just returned from Cape Girardeau where we attended Homecoming at SEMO this weekend. Nice weekend!

Sorry to hear about your Mom--and lack of anniversary celebration with Noel-----.that means you'll have to do something extra special later! Will you place your Mom in a nursing home or independent living? Or get a live-in companion?
There are some nice places for independent living----The Cambridge, Waterford and Montclair.

Also, The Manor and Primrose nursing homes are nice. I think the Manor is pretty expensive though. If I can help, let me know.

Re: Mantle Birthday celebration-------Mickey probably would have said , "Don't be making such a fuss!"

Anyway, Belated congratulations on 46 years together! We have 55 coming up in Nov.

Take care, Shirley Virdon--Springfield, MO

(The note from the Virdons was meaningful since my mother also resides in Springfield and they know the elder care community facilities located there.)


John, I have to tell you what a joy it is to drive through Missouri. It is one of the most beautiful states that we have seen. We went to Nebraska Saturday to the UT (Univ. of Texas) football game and went to Branson first so we saw a lot of Missouri countrysides on the way up --- I saw a lot of neat old barns like the great pictures that you took last year. I love to travel through Missouri. We also enjoyed driving back through Kansas and spent one night there. It is a beautiful time of the year to be out on the highways in the USA in your Chevrolet. We enjoyed the snow and the "W" in Nebraska. Congratulations on your anniversary. Bob and I had our 59th in October. We might make it to 60 if I can find a good marriage counselor. I'm happy that your Mother is doing well. Best wishes,

Mazi Hamric--Austin, TX


So many old people end up seeing things crooked at the end. One of two Great Truths I think I have discovered all on my own as I've entered my wise-old-coot years (dotage) is: A thing (relationship, activity, hometown, etc.) almost always ends seeming to each of us in a way that diminishes, and frequently destroys, our opinion of it; but each of us must remember how the thing was over the many years, not how it ended up. That is the nature of the thing in question. Not how it ended up.

Hard to hold that sentiment, I find. But the truth of this rings true to me.

(My second Great Truth: becoming older is caring more and more about less and less. I'm unseemingly proud of these two "Truths," cause I

came up with them my veryownself. Yay.

Greg -Austin, TX

Looking up a former teammate

John, Would you have time to look up a guy I played with in spring training in 1949? He was assigned to Spartansburg S.Carolina. His name was Jack Rothenhowser or houser. He was from Easton, Pa. The year before he had played at Stroudsburg, Pa. He was a few years older, he had spent time in the service. The league may have been the North Atlantic League. I have been dictating to Joan this afternoon, describing spring training in 49 rooming with this character. Had her falling out of the chair in laughter.. Dick Getter

Ed action:
John Rothenhausler
737 Main
Bethlehem, PA 18018-3847
Phone: (610) 758-9470

I supplied Getter with the foregoing information with the statement I'd bet this is the guy who was such a joy to room with in 1949.

The pitching coach says:



Ed note:

Can the baseball season still be going at this time of year? Somebody has to get a handle on this and not attempt to emulate the National Basketball Association that has a season without end. Frankly, baseball played under the conditions St. Louis and Detroit have to offer at this time of year is a travesty upon the game. Either shut down some of this playoff garbage or make it mandatory to play the World Series
in Florida, California or Arizona each year. (This commentary is free.)


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