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 28, 2006

The KOM League
Flash Report
October 28, 2006

Note: Two days ago the readership was directed toward the KOM League blogspot. If you are reading this, and most of it sounds familiar, you have done what was asked. The submission to the blogspot on October 26 would not be classified as a Flash Report since it was still under construction. It was shared to give you an idea as to how quickly material is sent, received, processed and responses returned.

The Internet Provider gleefully told me early this morning that they had fixed my e-mail problem. Sure, and the Detroit Tigers will win the World Series.

Earlier today, an attempt was made to reach everyone on the e-mail list with a note that there were still problems with my server. I had so many problems on
that submission attempt that I believe only 50% of those who I attempted to contact, got the message.

I've had to back away from my Mozilla Thunderbird mail program and go to Outlook Express which is anything but "express." It was also mentioned that a great deal of work was needed to get the address file back in some type of order.

Thus, if you receive this Flash Report and wish you didn't, let me know and I'll delete your name about as fast as the Cards took to wipe out the motor town boys.
Comments about the Internet Server problem:

By now you should realize that 99.9% of the people on the list want to be there. I'll be glad to go to your blog and read it. Joe

John: I definitely want to continue receiving the Flash Report.
Hank Chott

I vote number 1--From someone whose name I forgot.

Count me in for your blogspot. Sam Dixon

John, the Internet Service Providers, the same old deal? A mess!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I for one have always been glad to get your reports. If you remember, some years ago, I asked you how I got on your email listing? My response when you asked me if I wanted to be taken off was no, no, no. I should have also added hell no! The wealth of knowledge that you impart to the many of us is fantastic.

Thank you and "PLEASE" keep up the great work that you are doing for a small part of history.

There is the Negro League Hall of Fame in Kansas City, and there should be one for the many members of the KOM League who went on to the Majors and became famous in the Golden days of Base Ball.

Just a note of thanks.

* Casey Casebolt * if you see this, please contact me!
Tom Earp--Lambda Chi Alpha
LX Z # 1 --LX Z Alum. President

John, I am an outsider with interest in your letters from time to time. I have no problem in going to blogspot.com to stay in touch. You do a great service to your membership.

I know of the problem of which you write. Lenny Yochim (Former Pittsburgh Pirate)

JOE STANKA (Former Chicago White Sock et. al.)

John, You would think, with all those "great (?) technological minds" out there, that they could provide a server system to send out multiple mailings
of your report (such a HASSLE having to send only 30 at a time~!!!). John, YOU are doing all the work. Make it the easiest and most economical
on yourself. I know you have many out-of-pocket expenses in supplying this service (plus others) to your readers, and it's evident you do it also out
of love for what you are doing. That is great dedication and should be appreciated by all who receive your reports. Taking on the care of your mother
presents more expense, and time out of your busy life, which I am sure you do not mind doing. (out of four children, I was the one who took care of
my mother in her final days so I know all the expenses that can be incurred). My best to you and Noel and your mother in your journies ahead.

I just visited your blogspot (http://komleagueone.blogspot.com/ ) I'll vote for the blog route as I'm sure most of your readership would not wish you
to have to go to the added extra expense in securing a high priced server to handle this task. I know you will lose some of your readership. Some
people will not bother to go to the site as it is not as easy as having your KOM report land in their mailbox, but, it sounds like there is such a great
brotherhood and comraderie amongst your readers that the faithful ones will visit you no matter where your KOM League Flash Report winds up.

Carpe Diem~!!!! Betty M. Marty

An offer of assistance

Hi John – your audience is accustomed to receiving these messages in their email inbox and I think you’re correct to assume that many won’t make the jump to check out the blogspot site, or at least not regularly. I see that you have received a lot of positive feedback so far, but you don’t see the one’s that didn’t make the leap. I do know that I for one need the reminder, and prefer getting the notes in my email box where I can store them in a folder and search them – you may find that odd, but I find all kinds of good research material going back through old Flash Reports. Anyway, I’d like to help.. I can set you up with a Yahoogroup list server in Newsletter Mode, where you do all the sending and people respond directly to you – everything more or less is handled via your email box the way people are most comfortable. There are some optional settings for various controls and people can select their preference, to receive HTML or plain-text format. I think I set this up as you would want it, but it’s complete up to you how to use it. Pretty simple stuff.

There also up 20MB for storing photos and other files. When you upload them, people receive a link. If you have your old Flash Reports, they could be archived there for posterity, too.

As soon as you have it set up the way you want it, I’ll take myself off as moderator and you’ll have complete control. And it’s free..
Another miracle connection

Earlier this week Dick Getter asked me to help his find a former baseball player with who he roomed in the spring of 1949. Dick thought his name was Jack Rothenhowser and after a couple of minutes of searching I figured out it had to be John Rothenhaulser. After shipping that information to Getter, a couple of times, this response was forthcoming.

John, the reason I did not get your e mail at first, it went in to the spam box. Have no idea why that happened. Anyway, I got the information this morning and called him . I found him living a block from where my brother used to live. I could not believe he remembered me. He is 86 years and has not had a drink in 60 years and does not smoke either. I remembered he was older than I but did not realize he was that much older. I will keep in contact with him, he sounded as if he might be interested in attending a reunion. But you know how that goes.....
Thanks for your help locating him. Dick Getter
From Miami, Oklahoma

I am asleep at the switch... I saw your note on the Mantle thing at Spavinaw.Here is the story and a couple of pics I used... I actually made the drive down. If you can't get the story to open, let me know.If it makes things any easier, I can catch the report on the blog. I hope you don't abandon the report completely. It's always fun to see.Jim Ellis--Miami News Record

By Jim Ellis
The News-Record

SPAVINAW — Friday was Mickey Mantle’s birthday and Spavinaw — his birthplace — threw a party.

An outdoor life-sized painting of Mantle, born Oct. 20, 1931 near here, was formally dedicated during a ceremony on the south end of town. A stretch of State Highway 20/82 that runs through town earlier had been named the " Mickey Mantle Memorial Highway ."

"Mick loved this town and all the people," said Max Mantle, a second cousin of the late baseball Hall of Famer. "I probably wasn’t but three or four months old when I moved out of town," Max Mantle said. "Mick was 3 1/2 or four years old. They lived in Cardin for a while then moved to Commerce."

The project was spearheaded by Spavinaw residents Marjorie Wallace and Charlotte Welch.

Max Mantle, second cousin of the late Mickey Mantle, reflects during a ceremony Friday afternoon at Spavinaw. In the background is Grove High School boys’ basketball coach Garrette Mantle, who is a cousin of the late baseball Hall of Famer. At right, a Spavinaw resident looks at a plaque that is part of a monument honoring “The Mick.”

Ed note:

The reference to Max Mantle being Mickey Mantle's second cousin got my attention. Gotta talk to either Ellis or Max Mantle about this. If Mutt Mantle and Eugene "Tunney' Mantle were brothers and each had a son, wouldn't their sons be first cousins? But, what do I know? I've never been very good figuring out genealogy.

Comment from Jim Ellis:

Hmmmmm again... I need to check that, but I thought he said second cousin. Wouldn't be the first time I erred, believe it or not.

From one of Yours Truly's publishers

I would be happy to visit the web site to read your wise words. How lucky for all that you can take care of your mother in your home.

And happy belated anniversary. Barbara --Leathers Publishing
From a former player from Cuba

Dear Mr. Hall my wife and I wish that your mother get better, we pray for her and even we don't know her we are sure she is a great lady. John you can take me out of your Flash Report, and that way the ball players that played in the KOM League can enjoy your reports, I really like it, but I understand the situation.

The story about Mr. Chastain is very interested and that was going to be the same with Gaspar Del Toro bunting or hitting a homerun, I think the manager didn't like him too much, maybe he had a big potential and that is what a manager have to see, and not giving him $25 and he's released just like that. Ok John give my regards to Mr. Stanka, we played in the same league I believe in 1951 (Sooner State League) Good luck with The Cardinals, Ernie Klien

Ed reply:

You are staying on the distribution list. I love hearing from you. Stanka was in the Sooner State League in 1950.
About the protracted season.

They need to go back to doubleheaders. Try day/night doubleheaders, separate ticket for each game (for the owners sake). Maybe this will cut the schedule back by two weeks, OR, just cut the schedule to 154 again. But you know that won't happen. Joe Turek

I vote to play the series at an independent site, 7 games, no off days, no dh, may the best team win. Whats wrong with playing some of those games in Texas? Dick Getter
Taken only in small doses

Hi John, I listen to your interview for a few minutes when I get a moment. (The marathon interview on KBIA-FM last year--now available on the Internet.)

Your description of what his cousin said of him was very moving. It made me wonder what your feeling is of Mickey. I always have a hard time with that myself. He was loved by so many and still is.

Maybe there is no explanation for it. I know Mickey really couldn't understand why he was so admired. He had a kind of innocence about him even as he transgressed. He was almost animal like in his truth, his basic self.

What do you think? I really would like to know. Maybe it would help clarify my own feeling--understanding.

Bruce Orser

Ed note:

I shared some observations with Mr. Orser and he sent me some in return. However, I'm not in much of a position to psychoanalyze anybody. We are all different human beings with different talents and shortcomings. I figured out that I have been coming up short most of my life.
Crab Apple trees honor former KOM Leaguer

John, To help you out, I'll check in on the website you mentioned so you won't have to send the Flash Report to me, but thanx a million for getting in touch
with Sam and Ron Holloway and myself. It's been nice to hear from Neil's former teamates. I would like to try and make it to the reunion sometime...

In case you don't know I'll feel you in on Neil Holloway just a little bit: After finishing with the Minor Leagues in '53, he went onto become a teacher and a very successful high school basketball coach in TN and at one time was one of TN's top five coaches. From 1954-58 he taught and coached at Homestead Memorial High School here in Cumberland County just south of Crossville. From 1958-62 he taught and coached at Kingston HS in Roane County just east of here one county over. From 1962-77 he was back in Crossville at Cumberland County High School coaching the boys
and girls his first two seasons while winning a total of 120+ games during those two seasons. He coached only the boys from 64-77. To this day he has been the only coach to take a CCHS basketball team to the state tourney and did that with the girls. He also coached baseball and came within one game two different years in taking the baseball team with very little talent to the state. He retired from coaching in '77 and from teaching in '79.

Upon retirement he became a mail carrier and remained very active in sports including table tennis at which he was very good at. He won a countless number of table tennis tournaments and about 8-10 state titles. He also competed in the National Senior Olympics in table tennis for several years and finished 2nd in the nation I think in '89.

He and I were the 2004 state doubles champs in table tennis. He played in the local softball leages well into his 60's. We even umpired together for two years in the 90's in the local softball league and he was even a "hoot" to umpire with. He was the most competitive human being at anything he did I've ever seen. Aside from being great at baseball, softball, table tennis, checkers, fishing, horse shoes, basically all sports he was an excellent Sunday school teacher as well, and of course I was there too! He was a county commissioner for a number of years and also Mayor of Crab Orchard for a few years.

I could go on and on, but I'd better not, and if I ever make it to one of your reunions I'll share some "Neil" stories with ya....Oh, one other thing. If you ever travel through TN along I-40, at the 329 Crab Orchard Exit between the East Bound On Ramp and the travel lanes, there's a little stand of Crab Apple trees I sat out in his honor a couple of years ago...

thanx, claude (Martin)
Keeping tabs!

The last couple of days seem to have been guys checking in who were former teammates with Mickey Mantle. Keith Speck from Colorado; Jim Belotti (Bello) from Louisiana; Billy Johnson from Ohio and Delbert Lovelace from Oklahoma all checked in.

Speck was with Mantle in 1949 at Independence and reported that he sure hated missing the past reunion. However, about that time he had a couple of physical problems that precluded him making the trip.

Jim Belotti called on October 26 to ask that I send the book, Majoring in The Minors to his sister. He has a couple of nephews in New York who can't believe he played in the Yankee chain and with Mantle in 1949. He remarked that at World Series time it is convenient to remind his nephew of "Uncle Jim."

Belotti said to pass the word to all his former teammates that he is alive and well, physically and as yet doesn't suffer from dementia. He has come to the place in life where he does wear laced shoes for he wouldn't be able to get down there to tie them. He asked about all his former Independence teammates and we discussed the number of fellow from that team who married girls by the name of Wanda. Burl Moffit's late widow went by that name as does Keith Speck's and Belotti's. That had to be a popular name back in that era.

Delbert Lovelace changed his e-mail address so if any of you Baxter Springs Whiz Kids want to stay in touch with him, let me know and I'll pass along the information.

John, I'll check the KOM blog, don't you worry about sending us each Flash Report.
We'll stick by you---don't let the big guys take advantage of you. Tell them WE won't ever use their services. Hit 'em where it hurts-their greedy pockets. Keep up the good work.Most sincerely, Julia Johnson (Billy's-Whiz Kid- trophy wife)

Ed note:

Billy "The Whiz Kid" is the fellow Tom Greenwade was going to see and spotted Mantle.
This one's worth reading

John: My vote is for accessing the KOM through the Blogspot.

The way you do it now is easier for the reader but it is not going to fit with your new service provider without much more work on your part than is warranted. By far, most of us have computers and could access the Blogspot easily once it was known that such is the way it is going to work. We don't want to put more of a burden on you on the KOM than you already have shouldered.

The World Series should have been over two weeks ago. If the greedy owners, players, sponsors and networks keep stretching this thing out interest in the game will fall off like raindrops. We want to watch a great ball game between two good teams not the baseball equivalent of Ranger Mountain Training. Your idea of having the games in a covered stadium that is selected before the season starts would be a great idea. Or cut the Division playoffs to a one game - winner take all event and the League Playoffs should be cut to the best two out of three - not four out of seven. There should be no travel days with modern transportation and if it interferes with Football then the viewer can make a choice of which one he/she (In Joan Getter's case) wants to watch. Last night was rained out in St. Louis and it looks as if tonight will be too as of 3 pm. Perhaps the final game of the WS can coincide with Thanksgiving.

Several instances so far this year in the various playoffs and the series where bang, bang plays took place at home plate with a bat in the middle of the action for someone to step on and break an ankle. Again, I ask you John, ?Where the hell are the bat boys? You and I know that, with the possible exception of a suicide squeeze there is plenty of time for the bat boy to dash out and get the bat out of the way before the play will be at the plate. I noted with joy that during a re-play of Bobby Thompson's Shot Heard Round The World, the bat boy ran out and got Thompson's bat before anyone was anywhere close to the plate.

And those maple bats are going to get someone killed because they break too easily. In Yankton, SD a guy I knew was killed in the game just before ours one night in about 1965. The victim was in the on deck circle when the bat splintered at the plate and the barrel end's sharp point struck the on deck player in the neck and he bled to death before anyone could find any medical help. Lets do something
about wooden bats that break too easily before the sissies at the League Hq. go to aluminum bats to stave off breakage. If those aluminum bats are adopted Lloyd's of London would drop all their insurance coverage on pitchers. Those triple digit pitches would come screaming back to the mound like artillery rounds. I pitched slo-pitch softball for 20 years after my baseball days were done and can tell you that a soft ball is nothing close to "soft" when it comes off of one of those aluminum bottle bats in the hands of a meaty, 25 year old CPA that played college ball somewhere. And every team I was on had a five dollar per player pool on the bench during each game for the player that could hit the opposing pitcher first. There are no old, slow handed slo-pitch pitchers. I sort of felt bad when we won the CPA league championship in KC in 1972 and played the winner of the attorney's baseball league. The winning Lawyer's team came from a prestigious KC firm and the Senior Partner insisted on pitching. I won the pot in game two with a shot that broke the 52 year old trial lawyer pitcher's ankle. If he had not been a lawyer I would have felt real bad about it. More than you need to know about aluminum bats.

Lets do the Blogspot.

Neil in Texas (Now you understand why he's still not a Springfield, Mo resident)
Comment about the 2006 reunion

Dear John and Noe: Many thanks for all of your hard work in making the KOM reunion so wonderful and special. We all enjoyed ourselves, especially my dad, who got to spend time with a lot of old friends. It had been a rough few months for him with his broken ankle and the reunion really perked up his spirits.

Special thanks for making my daughters, Caroline and Elizabeth feel so welcome and special. They love the dolls. I have put them in a special place in their room so they can remember the wonderful weekend we had. Caroline still talks about our trip to Missouri and the friends she made. Lastly, we have appreciated all of your dedication and hard work and time over the past several years. When my dad receives an e-mail or letter from you regarding the KOM he really gets excited.

Hopefully, you had some time to relax and are enjoying the fall.

Sincerely, Rose Knox--Nick Najjar's daughter)

Ed note:

My wife and I named Rose Knox as the heroine of the 2006 reunion. She came all the way from Stoneham, Mass. with her mother and dad, along with two small daughters. She came because it was it was something her dad wanted to do very badly. Nick is not only the oldest living former KOM leaguer, he was also recuperating from a broken ankle. How can you not tip your hat to that entire family?
Two calls last evening

Mid way through the first inning, last evening, Joe Stanka called to ask my "expert" opinion on the Detroit starter. He wondered if I thought the guy
was nervous. Tongue-in-cheek, I told him I thought the guy was throwing that 57 foot fastball to get the Cardinal batters off-balance. As it turned out it worked pretty well.. However, I told Stanka that the big righthander on the mound for the Cardinals looked a lot like him in his "prime," the 1951 KOM league season.

Long after the lights went out Walt Babcock called from the Massachusetts shoreline to congratulate me on the Cardinals win. I had about as much to do with the Cardinals winning this World Series as I did the Carthage Cubs losing in 1951. Babcock talked about how the Cardinals had the worst record of any time in the playoffs and still winning it all. I reminded him that in 1951 Joe Stanka and his Ponca City Dodgers walked all over Carthage and then in the playoffs the Carthage team emulated the Cardinals and won their own championship.

There is an irony in the previous story and I'll leave it up to the reader to figure it out.

Remember: In about 105 days the pitchers and catchers will report for spring training. That goes for every team except the Cubs and Royals, they should start now.


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