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."

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.
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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.

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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
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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