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 16, 2006

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.


Post a Comment

<< Home