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 09, 2006

More KOM League news

The KOM League

Flash Report


December 09, 2006


The reason for this Flash Report

John, I haven't received any e-mails from you lately. I hope all is well. Ed Hoke--Troy, OH

Ed comment:

You have to be careful in life not to dwell on your own concerns. Over the past few weeks the routine around the KOM League Hall of Fame and Huge Snow Pile has been redirected due to the moving of my mother to reside at the HOF and HSP. Things have gone downhill for her since her arrival and my wife and I are coping.

A little has been shared in the Flash Reports about mother but not many of the details. Anyone who has ever provided care for their mother, father or any other aged person can write their own encyclopedia on the experience. Some of the comments found in this report reflect what others have shared regarding making the life of their loved one a little more tolerable, in their final days.

There is another chapter to most stories, such as the one the Hall's are experiencing, and that is greed. Within any family there is always one person who, in their quest to grab everything of temporal value, makes things tough for everyone else. I must say our family didn't escape that scourge. I will not share the details of our experience. Suffice to say, the "scoundrel" in our family is so far down the "food chain" that I never expected (he/she/it) would be the cause of so much hardship being brought to bear on those whose only interest was in helping mother. Of course, in the long run, it hurts mother more than anyone else. If you believe in the adage that "Time wounds all heels" the person who has wronged the rest of our family will have a lot of suffering to do before (he or she) leaves this world. When that person gets to the Great Hereafter (he/she) can explain (his/her) motives. I'm sure God is waiting for the explanation.

Today the sun is shining. Yesterday was one of the worst days in many years for the person my wife and I are providing health care. The only salvation to the whole ordeal is that the person for whom it was being provided doesn't recall a single incident of what transpired.

Coming off the last 60 hours with three hours of sleep I trust this report is somewhat coherent. If it fails in that regard be aware that the KOM League Flash Report still flickers.
Finally, an obituary for Eldon Yung

Unfortunately, I was unable, as editor of the KOM League Flash, to attend the funeral of my friend Eldon Yung. The day of his funeral was the same day I packed and moved my mother from Springfield, Missouri. Thanks to my "older brother," Bob Newbill, I'm able to share the obituary that was handed out at Yung's funeral.

J. Eldon Yung, 75, of Warrensburg, MO died Monday, November 20, 2006 at Country Club Care Center in Warrensburg.

He was born Tuesday, February 17, 1931 in Guide Rock, NE the son of John Yung and Gold Rouse Yung.

Mr. Yung graduated from Guide Rock High School in May of 1949. From 1949 to 1951 he played minor league professional baseball for Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri (KOM) Baseball League. *

He received a Bachelor of Arts in Education in 1958 and a Masters of Arts in Education from Nebraska State Teachers College, Kearney: Doctor of Education from the University of Missouri at Columbia in 1965.

On March 9, 1951 he married Darlene Opal Payne in Guide Rock. She preceded him in death on May 11, 2005.

He served in the United States Air Force from 1952 to 1955 with overseas service in Japan.

From 1959 to 1961 he taught Junior High Industrial Arts in Omaha, NE. He was Superintendent of Schools in Holstein, NE from 1961 to 1963.

Mr. Yung was a Professor at Central Missouri State University in Industrial Technology retiring in 1991. He was chair of the Department of Graphics from 1969 to 1977. He served six years on the Warrensburg R-VI Board of Education from 1971 to 1977; serving both as President and Vice-President.

Mr. Yung was on the Board of Directors for Phi Delta Kappa, District Representative of West Central Missouri Genealogical Society and Publications Coordinator; member of the Sons of the American Revolution-Martin Warren Chapter, Warrensburg, Missouri Society of the S. A. R., Warrensburg Wheels Car Club, Lincoln and Continental Owners Club, member of the First United Methodist Church and it Aldersgate Sunday School class.

Survivors include a daughter, Ronda Yung, Springfield, MO; a son Larry Yung and wife Cheryl, Warrensburg: five grandchildren, three great grandchildren, two sisters and a brother. He was preceded in death by two brothers.

* Ed note: Actually, he only played for the Miami Eagles of the KOM League for a couple of weeks in 1950.

Comments received regarding the December 7 Flash Report photo.

John, Your church picture is beautiful. Thank you so much. We are not sending cards this year either. Know you are very busy taking care of your mother. We all seem to go thru this. It is a part of life. Enjoy her while you can. You talk of sitting up with her, I bet she sat up with you all night many times, are we correct? Someday, you will be glad you took such compassionate care of her., know she deserves it. She must have been a very special mother to raise such a fine man. As I recall, she did it by herself as your father died young. My father died when I was about 6 or 7 and I know what my mother had to go thru to raise us. Have a wonderful Merry, Merry Christmas. Dick Getter

You should start producing calendars. Wonderful photo John.

Take real good care of your mom, share with her Bruce Orser

The snow / fence / white house shot looks just like the sainted grandmother's place in Ottawa (Kansas) during one of those 40's snows.

NG-Arlington, Texas

Sort of says it all in a quiet, pastoral setting!! Very nice pic John. I knew your mom was moving in with you but did I miss a FR or some other news that she might have had a "slip" in her health? I hope not but your comments lead me to think otherwise. She will be in my thoughts and prayers as you and I have conversed many times via email about MOTHERS, God's precious personna!!!!!

God Bless!!--Casey Casebolt, Sam Dixon's Pest!!

We have missed your news, but understand how busy you are. Being a caretaker is stressful and time consuming for everyone. Hopefully, things will ease a bit soon.
Tell Janet (Stan Musial's daughter) that the Virdons wish her Dad a Happy
Birthday also. He and Lil were always special to us, too.
Take care of yourselves----Caretakers need TLC, too!!!
Blessings, Shirley & Bill Virdon--Springfield, MO

John, First of all, my hopes that your mom will be okay. My best to you and all your family during this difficult time.


A fan recalls Red Dial

On a baseball note, I saw the reference in the newsletter to Red Dial. I think I told you this story before but in the late summer/very early fall of 1957, a young couple moved into an upstairs apartment next to the apartment my mother, brother and I were living in. It turned out that the young man was Carroll "Red" Dial and he showed me his incredible scrapbook and told me stories of his ball playing days, which had just ended that summer. A completely baseball crazy kid and Red was a real treat to know. Later, when I saw his record, particularly that 5-year run in the West Texas/New Mexico league where he won well over 20 games each year, I was even more impressed with him.

Anyway, talk to you later and my get well wishes for your mom. Jerry Hogan

Hi John --

What a nice picture, with an old-fashioned flavor, and Christmas in the crisp wint'ry air !


John, I just shared the news of Lee Goodpasture with Dad (Bob Newbill--'49 Independence Yankees). Also, they still have the obituary from Eldon Yung and Dad will just put it in the mail to you. I guess that is why we all communicate what we know and need. I am on my way to give a friend her birthday present and share a cup of tea. Then it is back home with many things to do. I will be in Chicago on Friday and a day away from school is so much work. Take care and say hello to Noel.

Cindy Newbill

Hi John, Sorry to hear your mother is not doing well. I am sure you are doing all that you can for her. You are blessed that you have had her this long. You said the news about her was not good, but who knows what is down the line for her. It is in the Lords hands. We will keep her in our prayers.

The pics were lovely. We had about 7-8 inches here at the lake (Grand Lake of the Cherokees in Oklahoma.) Take care, Bobbie Crampton.

Thanks for the beautiful picture of the church. I am now using it as my screen saver.
Merrie christmas to you and your family.

Betty Giragosian-Glen Allen, Virginia

You have reminded me why I love the south. The snow is beautiful but too cold for me. Thanks for sharing. Bruce in Monticello, Florida

John, it is nice to hear that the flowers brought such great joy. When I read your letter it made me think that I have never saw or read one of your letters where it looked like you needed some help and this is all I could think of. Besides you made my day, if you look at the KOM Flash report (12/05/06) take notice I came before Stan Musial and that will never happen again.

Dale Hendricks--Bremerton, Washington

Great job, John! I got cold just looking at these !!!!

Jeff Simpson


Photos from the past

The reason for my email is I am trying to find pictures of my grandfather, Jim Cooke, when he played for the Miami Blues (1946). My grandmother, Theresa Cooke, told me that you still might have some pictures of my grandfather. If you could please get back with me that would be great.

Thank you,

Bobby Cooke

To contact me:

email- bcbaseball20@sbcglobal.net

Ed reply:

Bobby, I have some copies of some photos of his time with the Miami club and some of him during his Army days with a former Yankee shortstop by the name of Phil Rizzuto.

Right now I'm in the midst of a major problem caring for my 92-year old mother and I don't have the time to search for those photos. However, if you'll remind me of this request from time to time I get to it as soon as possible.


Sympathy for residents of eastern Missouri

Beautiful pic! But give me that fresh cut green grass. We were without power for 3 days and some in this area (St. Louis) are still without. God Bless them and a Merry Christmas to all of you KOM League veterans. You played baseball the way it was supposed to be played. Joe Turek, Jr. (Joe Turek Sr. played for the Bartlesville Oilers in 1947)


Letter from Frank Winkler & Photos from Billy Bauernfeind

Things have a of "coming together." For a very long time I searched for Frank Winkler of the 1951 Pittsburg, Kansas Browns. Just recently we made contact and he has written a couple of interesting letters. In a letter, received this week, he was reciting the names of some of those he recalled playing against in the KOM League. In the same day's mail was a Christmas card, subscription check and some original photos from Bill Bauernfeind of the 1951 Carthage Cubs. It just so happened that Winkler recalled the name of only one Carthage player and it was George Beck (sorry Babcock). In the set of photographs, sent by Bauernfeind, is a photo of Beck holding a large thermos on one arm and a lunch pail in the other hand. It made it appear he was heading off for a hard day's work.

Here is the latest letter from Frank Winkler. If you played in the KOM League in 1951 pay close attention to see if you merited "honorable mention."

Dear John:

I appreciated the pen and memorabilia. The pen is used all the time and every time I write with it I see the KOM League insignia and it brings back memories.

I have been unable to find out any information regarding Joe Carolan. The Detroit News Obituaries have no record of his death. ...I think Joe was 19 at the time we played in Pittsburg.

Now about baseball memories. Ponca City had George Scherger as manager and he played second base. Bob Dolan was the shortstop. Denison played the outfield, Joe Stanka was a pitcher. They also had a pitcher named Gene Hines who could throw as hard as Gosney, but never played because he was so wild. At Bartlesville Tedd Gullic was the manager, Ron Kline was a pitcher, Brandy Davis was an outfielder who could really run. At Carthage the only ones I remember were George Beck 1st base and Don Biebel, catcher. Miami had Tom Warren as manager. He was a sheriff under indictment. Pete New was a left handed pitcher. Iola, Kansas was in the league but I can't remember any names.

I think you might find this interesting. What a small world it is. In 1955 while playing for the Detroit Police Department we traveled to Fort Wayne, Indiana to play this team. While I was walking to the dugout I heard someone call out "Hey Frank." I turned and guess who it was? Tommy Skole our 3rd baseman in Pittsburg was a 3rd baseman for the Fort Wayne Police Department. We exchanged some small talk and played the game. I don't remember who won. We probably each think we did. That was the last time I ever encountered any former team members. We are a few days from December, so I will sish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Until next time I remain hopeful we will be around to write again next year. Stay in good health.

Sincerely yours,

Frank Winkler

P. S. I thought of something just after I finished the letter. The 3rd baseman for Iola was a fellow from New York named Vito Valenzano. After the season I went to New York and stayed with Herb Fleischer and his parent in the Bronx. I thought Detroit was big, New York is unbelievable. To show what a small world it is, one evening Herb and I were walking on Broadway. In 1951 it was safe to walk the streets at any time day or night. Who do you think we ran into? It was Vito Valenzano who played for Iola. I thought you would find that interesting. Until the next time, Keep Healthy, anxious to hear from you again.

Ed note:

This is a note sent to Winkler in response to his letter.

Dear Frank:

It was great hearing from you again. I always love to hear from fellows who have some memories of the league. In another of those "small world" scenarios I had a Christmas card today from Niles, Michigan. It was from Bill Bauernfeind who pitched for Carthage in 1951. Guess who was in one of the photos? George Beck. Beck had a thermos bottle and a lunch pail and was acting like he was off for a day at the factory. Beck still resides in Dover, Delaware.

I'll try to respond to your letter, point by point: I can understand why you can find Carolan's obit. I have searched all death indexes around the United States and can't come up with anything either. There is a possibility he is still alive.

George Scherger: He is still living in North Carolina and was for many years the first base coach for Sparky Anderson at Cincinnati.

Joe Stanka: Big Joe resides in Fulshear, Texas and I hear from him by e-mail on a very regular basis. He made it to the White Sox before going to Japan and starring for the Nankai Hawks.

Bobby Dolan and Jack Denison have both died. Dolan died a number of years ago and Denison died this year in Bakersfield. He sent me the gold ring that team got from the Dodgers for winning the 1951 pennant. It is special.

Gene Hines was from Omaha. He died a couple of years ago. He indeed was wild. Brandy Davis was one of the nicest guys I ever knew and his death really affected a lot of us.

I hear from Don Biebel fairly often. He now lives in California.

Tommy Warren was sentenced to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary during the 1951 season and started serving his sentence at the end of the season. He played for the prison team in 1952. When he got out he played another couple of seasons and then gave up the game. He died at a very young age. Pete New is still living in Chanute, Kansas where he was the mayor for a number of years. Pete's health isn't good. He and Warren used to get into it. Pete popped off at Warren one night in Miami after a game and Warren decked him and Pete's prize was a black eye.

Tom Skole, who you mentioned seeing at Ft. Wayne is still around. He is living in the Atlanta area.

Vito Valenzano still lives in Connecticut where he coached baseball at the college level for many years.

I was never able to find Herb Fleischer. If you have any idea where he might currently reside it would be appreciated. I suspect he's still in that area if he's living.

I have gotten behind in my KOM League duties. I have moved my 92-year old mother in to live with us and she is all time consuming.

There will be a KOM League newsletter coming out shortly after Christmas. There will be a story in there about you. So, look for it on your newsstand. That's a joke. The only way you'll see it is when I send you a copy.

With so much going on I've forgotten all that I sent you last time. However, if there is anything you want let me know. I'm enclosing the rosters from all the teams in 1951 to look over. If any of the names jog your memory, let me know.

Have a great holiday and thanks again for staying in touch. John Hall


For the "limited few"

A handful of readers follow the exploits of the "Wrestling Pescaglias." They are the three grandsons of Yours Truly. Tony is a red-shirt freshman at the University of Missouri and had a very successful weekend last week at Cedar Rapids, Iowa going against some of the best competition at the NCAA level from across the country.

Kyle Christopher (K. C) and Vince are wrestling at the high school level this year. K. C. is the defending state champion at 125 pounds and both he and Vince are undefeated in seven bouts this new season. No one has even come close to going one two-minute period with K. C. . In bouts this season his opponents have lasted 16, 21, 38, 42, 40, 41, and 16 seconds respectively. He has another bout this afternoon at a duals competition in Jefferson City. The teams come from Illinois and the majors schools from the metropolitan and rural schools from around the State of Missouri.

A number of wrestlers have already gone up or down in weight in order to avoid K. C. Before long he is going to encounter stalling mechanisms by his opponents in order just to remain in a match. He's a good wrestler but an even better student. Gosh, I wish his maternal grandpa had wound up with some of his many talents.

Late afternoon update: Stop the presses. K. C. suffered a stunning "loss." It took him 1 minute and 2 seconds to pin his latest opponent. He had his opponent in the cradle position from the start but it took him that long to get the pin.

Even later: K. C. and Vince Pescaglia are now 9-0 after winning another match at Jefferson City this afternoon.. K. C. got back in the groove with a pin in 24 seconds of the first period and Vince won by a pin in 2 minutes and 46 seconds. Whew!! I'm exhausted waiting on the results of those contests.


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