Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame
Nick Allen -- 1992
Born in 1888 in Norton, Kan., Allen played six years in the majors with the Buffalo Buffeds, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. He appeared in 216 games and batted .232 career. He was a backup catcher. His best seasons were 1915 when he appeared in 84 games with Buffalo, 1919 when he batted .320 and 1920 when he batted .271 with Cincinnati. He died in 1939 in Hines, Ill., but is buried in the Ninnescah Cemetery in Udall, Kan.
Ferrell Anderson -- 1967
Born in Maple City, Kan., in 1918, Anderson had two stints in the majors, seven years apart. A strapping 6-1, 200-pound catcher, he batted .256 for the Brooklyn Dodgers who finished second behind the Cardinals in the National League in 1946. He got back to the majors in 1953 with the Cards and hit .286 in a reserve role. He appeared in 97 games and had a career batting average of .261. He died and is buried in Joplin, Mo.
Nick Allen -- 1992
Angley was a backup catcher for the Chicago Cubs in 1929, when they won the National League pennant and lost the World Series to the Philadalphia A’s in five games. After one year in the majors, Angley became a semi-pro player and sporting goods salesman. He was born in Maryland and played football for Georgia Tech in 1925 to 1927. After his playing days he became the official scorer for the National Baseball Congress. He moved to Wichita where he died and was buried in 1952.
Lee Anthony -- 1962
Anthony, who was born in 1919 in LeRoy, Kan., pitched for many years in the minor leagues. He played in the Alabama-Florida League, for New Orleans in the Southern League, and the PCL, where he played for the LA Angels and Hollywood Stars. He managed the Seminole Oilers in the Sooner State League and Wytheville Senators in the Appalachian League and scouted for the Senators, KC A’s and Rangers.
Raleigh Aitchison -- 1952
Raleigh played for the 1910 Wichita Jobbers. His big year in the major league was 1914 when he won 12 and lost 7 games for the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) with an earned-run average of 2.66 and three shutouts. Raleigh made his first big-league appearance in 1911 but only for one inning. After he retired from baseball, he served 18 years for the Columbus, Kan., police department and as deputy sheriff. He died in Columbus in 1958 at the age of 70.
Elden Auker -- 1951
Born in Norcatur, Kan., Auker was famous for his underhand pitching style which earned him the nickname “Submarine.” Auker won 130 games in 10 seasons in the majors. He was 15-7 with a 3.42 earned-run average in 1934 when his Detroit Tigers beat the Cubs in the World Series, and 18-7 3.83 in 1935. Auker developed the underhand delivery to compensate for an injury suffered in football when he was All Big Six at Kansas State in football, basketball and baseball. He died Aug. 4, 2006, at age 95.
Mell Backus -- 1949
Backus was born at Latham, Kan., in 1883 and was graduated from Winfield High in 1901. He played in the Three I League (Indiana-Illinois-Iowa) and in the Wisconsin League. He also played for the Winfield Reds semi-pro team. He is enshrined in the NBC Hall of Fame. He became a licensed druggist in 1904 and at one time operated eight drug stores in Kansas. He died in Winfield in November, 1957, at the age of 74.
Jack Banta -- 2004
The Hutchinson-born righthander pitched for Brooklyn four years. He won 10 and lost 6 in 1949 to help the Dodgers capture the NL title. He made three appearances in the 1949 World Series, getting no decisions but posting an impressive 3.18 ERA as the Dodgers lost to the Yankees in five games. Banta had a career record of 14 wins, 12 losses and a 3.78 ERA. In his final major league season (1950) he posted a 4-4 record with a 4.36 ERA.
Jesse Barnes -- 1941
Born in 1897 and raised near the northeast Kansas town of Circleville, Virgil followed his brother Jess to the major leagues. They became teammates with the New York Giants in 1919 and would later become the first two brothers in major league history to oppose each other as starting pitchers. Virgil pitched for the Giants until 1928, winning 61 games and appearing in two World Series. He continued to barnstorm and pitch semipro ball, living in Holton and later in Wichita, where he died in 1958.
Virgil “Zeke” Barnes -- 2010
Born in 1897 and raised near the northeast Kansas town of Circleville, Virgil followed his brother Jess to the major leagues. They became teammates with the New York Giants in 1919 and would later become the first two brothers in major league history to oppose each other as starting pitchers. Virgil pitched for the Giants until 1928, winning 61 games and appearing in two World Series. He continued to barnstorm and pitch semipro ball, living in Holton and later in Wichita, where he died in 1961.
Walter "Barney" Barnett, Sr. -- 2012
Barney Barnett spent his professional life underground, working in the lead and zinc mines that defined southeast Kansas and neighboring Oklahoma and Missouri in the early to mid-1900s. During most of this time, Barnett coached baseball teams made up of miners. In 1944, Barnett founded The Baxter Springs Whiz Kids, a youth team. Barnett kept the Whiz Kids in tact year after year, moving them into different leagues as they got older. The Whiz Kids won big, dressed well and went to St. Louis to see a major league game at the conclusion of each season. They would play adult competition. The 1946 Whiz Kids wore former New York Yankee uniforms. Toward the end of the 1947 season, Barnett invited Mickey Mantle -- from nearby Commerce, Oklahoma -- to play with the Whiz Kids. Mantle's father worked for the same mining company as Barnett. Mantle was invited back in 1948 and the legend began. While playing with the Whiz Kids, Mantle was spotted by Yankee scout Tom Greenwade, who eventually signed him to a professional contract. Mantle's future Yankee teammate Ralph Terry -- from Big Cabin, Oklahoma -- later played with the Whiz Kids. Mantle remained close to Barnett and played in an exhibition for him in Joplin, Missouri following the 1952 season, shortly before Barnett's death. In Mantle's Hall of Fame acceptance speech, he acknowledged Barnett and the Whiz Kids.
Monty Basgall -- 1961
A native of Pfeifer, Kan., Basgall played three seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. His best season was 1949 when he appeared in 107 games and drove in 26 runs. He was a second baseman with a sterling fielding average of .973. He had a career batting average of .215. He signed his first contract with the Dodgers and held many positions with the Dodger organization, including instructor, scout and being Manager Tommy LaSorda’s right-hand man in the Dodger dugout.
Kenny Bennett -- 2008
Outfielder and quarterback Bennett led Wichita West High to state baseball titles in 1967 and ’69 and to state football crown in 1968. He was signed by famed Yankee scout Tom Greenwade in 1969 and played six years in the Yankee system, earning International League Rookie of the Year honors in 1973 at Syracuse. He was dealt to the Chisox in 1975 and played his last year at Denver. He played two years in Wichita’s semi-pro Victory League.
Roy Bentley -- 1946
Bentley started his career as an infielder. However, Jack Holland, manager of Wichita’s Jobbers in the Western Association, saw in him a potential pitcher. Bentley proved Holland’s intuition correct and became a mainstay for the 1908 team. Between 1910 and 1918, Bentley pitched for Wichita, Baltimore, Minneapolis and Providence, R. I. He also played for Holland at Hutchinson and St. Joseph, Mo., in the Western League. He died in Saffordville, Kan.
Joe Berger -- 1947
Berger broke into the majors in 1913 and played two seasons as an infielder with the Chicago White Sox. But his claim to fame in Kansas were his six seasons as manager of the Wichita Witches and Izzies from 1917 to 1922. He guided the Wichita teams to titles in the Western League in 1918 and 1921. He appeared in 127 games with the Chisox primarily as a second baseman. He was born in St. Louis and died in 1956 in Rock Island, Ill.
Ken Berry -- 1991
“The Bandit” robbed opponents of homers by leaping high off the outfield fence. He had a 14-year career in the majors. He broke into the majors in 1962, played nine years with the White Sox, three with the Angels and one each with the Brewers and Indians. He batted .255 lifetime, earning All-Star honors in 1967, two Golden Gloves and had no errors in 1969 and 1972. He led the American League in assists by an outfielder in 1972 with the Angels. He also managed in the minors for 22 years.
Roy Bevis -- 1947
Roy “Kid” Bevis was an early-day pitcher for Kansas City. He played for the KC Blues in 1896 and 1897, when he was released and signed with Minneapolis of the American Association. In 1898, he pitched for Burlington of the Three I League. After retiring from baseball, Bevis settled in Winfield in 1900. In 1910 and 1920 he was living in Wichita and was working as a wholesale grocery salesman.
Dave Bingham -- 2011
Dave Bingham is the most successful coach ever at two universities in Kansas. At Emporia State, the Hornets won 588 games during Bingham’s 14 seasons. In 1978, ESU won the NAIA World Series. Three times Bingham was NAIA coach of the year. At Kansas, Bingham won 249 games in eight years and took the Jayhawks to their first College World Series appearance in 1993. Bingham has coached eight national/international teams, including the 1984 and 1988 U.S. Olympic teams.
Vern Blasi -- 1989
Blasi was a catcher who played in the Victory League at age 16. He signed with the Yanks in 1944. Because of WWII he played only one season of pro ball at Little Rock in 1947. He joined the Navy and played for Great Lakes and San Diego. From 1947-60 he played in the Victory League for Coleman, Cessna and the Weitzel Cowboys. From 1961-72 he sponsored the Blasi Oilers, who qualified for the NBC tournament in 1979-80. His grandson Nick is an outfielder for the Oakland A’s in 2006.
John E. Blue -- 1998
“Acy” Blue was born in Oatville, Kan., and went to work for the Stearman Company in 1929. He was player-manager for Stearman baseball teams in the early days of the NBC semi-pro tournaments and was also involved with company teams after Stearman became the Boeing Corp. He played professional ball for 14 years, including the last two years at Oklahoma City. A shortstop, he played semi-pro ball for the Marland Oilers in Ponca City, Okla. He died in 1966 at the age of 71.
Jim Blue -- 2003
Blue grew up with semi-pro ball, serving as batboy for Stearman’s 1941 state champs and Boeing’s 1942 national NBC champs. He also played on East High’s undefeated 1946 football team and two state champion baseball teams. He was a member of the All-Navy champions during WWII. Out of the service in 1950, he played first base and third base for teams representing Beechcraft, Coleman and Weitzel. He played on local teams until the late 1950s, when Boeing transferred him to Seattle.
Mike Blue -- 1995
Blue, a lefty, is a grad of Wichita West High and a member of its 1959 state champion baseball team. He played in the farm systems of the New York Giants (Decatur, Ill.) and the Washington Senators (Geneva, NY; Burlington, NC; Wisconsin Rapids). Also coached at Geneva. He coached football and baseball at West High for 20 years, was AD for five years. In 1959, he was MVP and all-star pitcher for Boeing BoJets in state NBC meet. Coached El Dorado team with Daryl Spencer in mid-1970s.
Jaime Bluma -- 2008
Bluma ended his WSU career in 1994 as the all-time leader in appearances and saves with 114 and 34. He was a two-time All-Missouri Valley pitcher and a member of four NCAA Tournament teams and three World Series teams. He was All-Midwest Region in 1994 and a 1993 All-Atlantic Regional star allowing only one earned run in 18 2/3 innings. He was drafted in the third round of the 1994 draft and played for the Kansas City Royals in 1996.
Jack Bolin -- 1940
John Wesley “Jack” Bolin was an early-day star who played third base for the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association in 1903. During a minor league career, he also played for the Toledo Mud Hens in 1907. He lived in Wichita most of his life and worked as a postal carrier. He also played several years of semi-pro ball in Wichita.
Red Borom -- 1995
He has a lot of championship rings from semi-pro to minor leagues to the World Series with the winning Detroit Tigers in 1945. Borom bounced around the south in Class D action and was involved with two NBC tournament titlists – Wichita’s Boeing Bombers in 1942 as player and Sinton, Texas, in 1951 as manager. He was 27 when he broke into the majors and spent two seasons with the Tigers. He was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978.
Bobby Boyd -- 1984
Also in the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame & N.B.C. Hall of Fame
The small, quick infielder was nicknamed “The Rope” because nearly all his hits were line drives. He was born in Mississippi but spent most of his life after baseball in Wichita. He had a nine-year career in the majors after breaking in at the advanced age of 31. He had a career batting average of almost .300 (.293). His best season was with the Orioles in 1957 when he had 154 hits and scored 73 runs. His fielding average was a sizzling .991. Boyd is in the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame. Boyd died in Wichita in 2004.
Chet Brewer -- 2011
A tall right-handed pitcher, Chet Brewer was born in Leavenworth in 1907. He pitched in the Negro Leagues from 1925 to 1948, included four stints with the Kansas City Monarchs. He is credited with 127 wins. After retiring as a player, Brewer became a major league scout and instructor with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1957 to 1974 and later worked with Major League Baseball’s scouting bureau. Brewer died in 1990. A baseball field in Los Angeles is named in his honor.
Ad Brennan -- 1957
LaHarpe, Kan., produced this lefthander who pitched in the majors for seven years between 1910 and 1918. He won 38 and lost 37 while posting a solid 3.11 earned-run average for the Phillies, Chicago Whales, Washington Senators and Cleveland Indians. He broke into the majors in 1910 at the age of 27. Brennan was with the Phillies frim 1910 to 1913. His best year was 1913 when he won 14, lost 12 and posted a strong 2.39 earned-run average.
Fred Brickell -- 1951
Born in Saffordville, Kan., Brickell broke into the majors in 1926 at the age of 19 when he was sold to Pittsburgh by Wichita of the Western League. In 1927 he helped the Pirates win the National League pennant. They were swept 4-0 in the World Series. Brickell played outfield eight seasons in the majors, with the Pirates and Phillies. In 1928 he batted .322 and drove in 41 runs for Pittsburgh. In 1931 he rapped 130 hits for the Phillies and drove in 31 runs. He died in Wichita in 1961.
Fritz Brickell -- 1976
One of the rare father-son entries in the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame is that of Fred and Fritz Brickell. Fred was a longtime hand with the Pittsburgh Pirates and his son Fritz spent three seasons in the majors – 1958-59 with the Yankees and 1961 with the Angels as a shortstop and second baseman. Fritz was born in Wichita in 1935 and broke into the majors at the age of 23. He died at the age of 30 in Wichita in 1965.
Greg Brummett -- 2009
A right-handed pitcher, the Wichita Northwest H. S. grad had a record-tying three victories in 1989 to lead the Shockers to their first national championship. His complete-game 5-3 victory over Texas in the title contest capped a remarkable senior season in which he posted a nation-leading 18 victories and was named second-team All-American. Brummett was drafted by the Giants in 1989, made his big league debut in 1993, had a 2-3 record and was traded to the Twins. His coaching career includes Cloud County C.C.
Gayle Bryant – 2010
Gayle Bryant’s sharp-breaking curve ball led Wichita East High School to state championships in 1956 and 1957. After moving on to Wichita State (then Wichita University), he pitched summer league ball for the Boeing Bo-Jets and the 1961 Kansas champion Weller Indians. He was named a league all-star each season. Bryant signed professionally and spent one season at the Class C level. Instead of accepting a promotion to AA the following season, he left baseball to begin a career as an engineer.
Dave Burroughs – 2013
At Cowley College in Arkansas City, Dave Burroughs has won more than a thousand games and guided the Tigers to NJCAA World Series championships in 1997 and 1998. The 1997 team was led by future major league star Travis Hafner, one of several Tigers who have advanced to the major leagues. A native of Oklahoma, Burroughs came to Cowley in 1988 and immediately turned the program around. Twice named NJCAA coach of the year, Burroughs also led the Tigers to the NJCAA World Series field in 2001, 2002 and 2009. Burroughs long-time assistant coach is his brother Darren.
Bob Carlile -- 2008
For 24 years Carlile has been general manager of the Liberal BeeJays, the most successful semipro baseball team in the state. His father was involved before him and Bob has been a key figure In the team’s success for the past 43 years. The BeeJays have produced four NBC national titles and were runnersup six times; won 13 state and 20 Jayhawk League crowns; had three big league managers and many players who advanced to the majors.
Vance Carlson -- 1988
He played in the Yankees’ system as a pitcher for 10 years and began his officiating career in 1958 as a Big Eight Conference football ref. He served the Big Eight for 28 years and called a record 270 conference games. He was on the crew that worked the “Game of the Century” between Oklahoma and Nebraska in 1971. He also worked three national championship games (1971 Orange Bowl, 1978 Cotton Bowl and 1983 Sugar Bowl). He was born in Falun, Kan., and grew up in McPherson.
Joe Carter -- 2007
Shocker, Blue Jay Hero
Carter is best known as the man who hit the home run that gave the Toronto Blue Jays the 1993 World Series title. Wichitans also know him as the man who put Shocker baseball on the map. He was the NCAA Player of the Year in 1981 and was a first-round draft choice of the Chicago Cubs. His major league career included stints with the Cubs, San Diego, Toronto, San Francisco and Baltimore. Ten times he drove in more than 100 runs and five times was named an all-star. He hit more than 396 home runs in a career that spanned 16 seasons. Carter came to Wichita as a football and baseball player. He played football only one year but in baseball he set a standard that established the tone for the development of the Shocker program as one of the best.
Dick Casidy -- 1988
Dick had a successful minor league career with the San Francisco Giant Organization. Casidy played in 12 national NBC tourneys, including 1963 when he and his Rapid Transit Dreamliners won the championship and 1964 when he helped Service Auto Glass win the title. He was a power hitter who also played with the John Weitzel Cowboys, the Boeing Bo-Jets, the Sunflower Packers and Liberal’s BeeJays. He also pitched and relied on a knuckleball. After his playing days, he moved to Overland Park where he was area sales manager for a subsidiary of the Coleman Co.
Vance Cauble -- 1997
Born in Benedict, Kan., this right-handed pitcher was the Most Valuable Player in the 1940 NBC national championship with the Enid, Okla., Champlin Oilers. He was the first pitcher to notch four victories in the tourney. His Enid team also won in 1941 and he helped the Mt. Pleasant, Texas, team reach the finals in 1939 before losing to Duncan, Okla. He signed with the KC Blues in 1935 and pitched for Omaha in the Western League in 1936.
David Chadd -- 2009
All-America outfielder for Kansas State in 1988. Former assistant coach for Kansas State and WSU. Wichita State grad who became director of scouting for the Red Sox in 2001 and has signed a great number of up-and-comers for the Red Sox and Miami Marlins, with whom he spent eight seasons. Also, became the Vice-president, Amateur Scouting for Detroit Tigers. Signed Tigers lefty Nate Robertson and many other solid performers in the majors.
Ed Chaney -- 1985
Ed Chaney worked for years as the Wichita area “bird dog” for the Dodgers. In the early 1940s Chaney became close friends with Bert Wells, the regional scout for the Dodgers, who was responsible for scouting in an eight-state area. Chaney was a member of long standing in the Kansas Baseball Association and was instrumental in running the old-timers’ games.
Fred Clarke -- 1939
Played outfield 21 seasons with Pittsburgh, compiling .315 career batting average. Also managed 15 years. In 1903 was manager of Pirates in the first World Series. Managed Pirates to World Series title in 1909. Broke into majors in 1894 with Louisville, which became the Pirates in 1900. Retired in 1915. Helped found the Winfield Country Club in 1917. Elected to National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.
Lou Clinton -- 1987
Clinton broke into the majors at age 22. He played a total of eight seasons, the first five with the Boston Red Sox. In the 1962 and 1963 seasons he hit a total of 40 home runs and drove in 152 runs. He also played for the Angels, Athletics, Indians and Yankees. After retiring from baseball, Clinton founded an oil producing company in Wichita and became an outstanding amateur golfer. He competed in many local and state amateur tournaments and was a perennial title contender.
Mardie Cornejo -- 2001
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Wellington, Kan., native was 26 years old when he broke into the major leagues after a brilliant career at Tulsa University. He won 4 games and lost 2 while posting a strong 2.45 earned-run average in his only year in the big leagues. The problem was he was performing for the New York Mets, who won only 66 games and finished 24 games behind the champion Phillies in the Eastern Division of the NL. Son Nate went to Detroit in the first round of the 1998 draft.
Johnny Damon -- 2016
The son of military parents, Johnny Damon was born at Fort Riley and raised in Orlando, Florida. As a high school senior, he was rated the top prospect in the country by Baseball America. Damon was drafted by Kansas City and quickly rose through the Royals’ minor league system. Twice, he was the Royals’ minor league player of the year. In 1995 with the Wichita Wranglers, Damon hit .343 and was named Texas League player of the year. Damon made his major league debut with the Royals in August of 1995. In 2000, he led the American League in runs (136) and stolen bases (46). The following season he was traded to Oakland, where he played one season before signing with the Boston Red Sox. Damon was twice an all-star with Boston and led the Red Sox to the 2004 World Series title, their first since 1918. Damon authored a book about that season, Idiot: Beating "The Curse" and Enjoying the Game of Life. Following the 2005 season, Damon signed with the New York Yankees and played on another World Series champion in 2009. Altogether, Damon played 18 Major League seasons, collecting 2769 hits. Damon has been active in several charities and continues to be through the Johnny Damon Foundation. Damon and his wife Michelle and their eight children live in the Orlando area.
Darren Daulton -- 2006
This all-around athlete at Arkansas City High School was the inspirational leader as a catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies who won the National League pennant in 1993. Daulton was also named the Comeback Player of the year in 1997 helping the Miami Marlins win the World Series. In 14 seasons in the major leagues he played in 1,161 games, hit 137 home runs and drove in 558 runs. He was selected for the Hank Aaron Award after the 1992 season.
Larry Davis -- 1985
Davis went to work at the National Baseball Congress in 1950 as a part-time ticket seller and became the right-hand man of legendary founder Hap Dumont. He was frequently a chauffeur for Dumont who did not drive. Upon Dumont’s death, Davis became director of the tournament and handled the job for more than 25 years. He was the one who created the schedule which some days called for round-the-clock action. Davis died in 2002 in Wichita.
Les Davis – 2010
The most successful coach in Kansas High School history, Les Davis coached 1,522 football, basketball and baseball victories in a 48-year career. Forty of those years were spent at Sedan High School. His baseball win total was 512, which includes a state championship in 1973. A graduate of Wichita North High School and Friends University, Davis played baseball on numerous NBC Tournament teams, including the 1958 Kansas champion John Weitzel Cowboys.
Jim Deckinger - 2012
As a coach at Southeast High School and Bishop Carroll Catholic High School, Jim Deckinger won ten Greater Wichita Athletic League titles, five state championships and was named GWAL coach of the year 11 times. From 1976 to 1978, his Southeast teams were 57-2. State championships were won in 1976 and 1978. The 1978 team was the only undefeated (23-0) in 5-4-3A history and was named mythical national champion by Collegiate Baseball magazine. The Buffaloes outscored their opposition 155-25. All seven seniors on the 1978 team received college scholarships. These included Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame member Jim Thomas (Wichita State) and Kevin Clinton (University of Kansas), who is the son of the late Lou Clinton, also a member of the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame. Deckinger also coached at the collegiate level, at Friends University in Wichita. There he was named KCAC coach of the year in 1988. In 1997, Deckinger was named Kansas High School Coach of the Year and in 1998 was honored with a lifetime achievement award, presented by the Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches.
Elwood "Bingo" DeMoss -- 2011
Born in Topeka in 1889, Bingo DeMoss made his professional debut at age 16 with the Topeka Giants. He was a shortstop until hurting his arm, forcing a move to second base. The speedy DeMoss went on to play 20 seasons in the Negro Leagues, including nine with the Chicago American Giants. He then managed another 20 seasons. DeMoss died in Chicago in 1965. In 2011, the Topeka Capital-Journal ranked him #12 on their list of “Top 100 Athletes in Shawnee County History.”
Jack Delp -- 1955
Delp played for the Wichita Watermen, a hot club in local circles even before Hap Dumont began his National Baseball Congress tourney in the mid-1930s. In 1938, the Watermen won the state championship and finished third in the NBC National tournament. The Watermen group included three eventual Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame players – Delp, Mickey Flynn and Fred Brickell.
Don Dennis -- 2003
Born in Uniontown, Kan., and educated at Emporia State, Dennis broke into the major leagues in 1965 at the age of 23. A 6-foot-2, 190-pound righthander, he pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals for two seasons (1965-66). He appeared in 79 games, won six games and had eight saves, posting a 3.69 earned-run average. He handled 51 fielding chances with only one error. He had a strong strikeout-to-base on balls ratio (54-33).
Murry Dickson -- 2008
This early-day pitching star won 172 games with a 3.66 earned-run average. He pitched in one World Series while on leave from the military during WWII. He spent most of his years in the National League with the Cards, Pirates and Phillies but ended his career in Kansas City and after baseball lived in Kansas. He died in Kansas City in 1989 and was buried in Leavenworth. He made his major league debut with St. Louis in 1939 and ended it in 1959 in KC.
Frank Dockins -- 1959
When he teamed with long-time major league pitcher Hap McKain, they called Frank Dockins ”the little right hander.” At 5’8” and 155 pounds, he lacked the height and heft of his big league counterpart. But he had the punch. His manager at Hill City called him “the player who made the difference.” For more than two decades through 1959, Dockins was one of Kansas’ premier pitchers, being named to the all state team four times and playing for a season in the St. Louis Browns’ organization in the Nebraska State League. He pitched for Aurora, Clyde, Concordia, Fairbury, Glasco, Hill City and Manhattan. He retired from oil industry work to Concordia.
George Dockins -- 2013
“Lefty” Dockins was born in Clyde, Kan., in 1917 and broke into the major leagues at age 28 with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1945. He had an 8-6 record with a 3.21 earned-run average. He was out of the majors in 1946 but returned in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1946, he was with Fort Worth where he went 12-6 with a 2.17 earned-run average. He also served as manager of the Fort Worth Cats in 1948 until the arrival of Bobby Bragan. He died in 1997 at the age of 79 and is buried in Clyde.
Darren Dreifort -- 2011
One of college baseball’s all-time greats, Darren Dreifort was a two-time All-American at Wichita State and the NCAA player of the year in 1993. Dreifort played on the 1992 U.S. Olympic squad and was drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1993. He is one of the few players to bypass the minor leagues, but had an injury-filled major league career in which he won 48 games with a 4.36 earned run average.
Paul Donham -- 2000
Donham was a fleet center fielder who helped the powerful Rapid Transit Dreamliner team win the 1965 NBC National championship. He played for 13 years in the NBC tournaments on several teams including Bob Moore Olds, Service Auto Glass and Sunflower Packers. A three-sport star at West High, he was a member of the Pioneers’ 1959 state champion baseball team. He also played three sports at Friends University and officiated more than 30 years in high school and college games.
Hap Dumont -- 1964
Also in the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame -- N.B.C. Hall of Fame
Raymond “Hap” Dumont founded the National Baseball Congress tournament in the mid-1930s. It has been a fixture at Wichita’s Lawrence-Dumont Stadium for more than 75 years. Considered a promotional genius he invented an automated home-plate duster and a 20-second clock on pitchers to speed up the game. The tournament draws teams from all over the world and plays a marathon schedule. The NBC is also a supplier of baseball equipment to teams across the nation.
Jim Durham -- 1942
Durham was a pitcher in the early years of the 20th century. He toiled five or six years (1910-1915) for the Wichita teams of the Western League after playing for Indianapolis in 1903 and Kansas City in 1904. In 1909 he was with the San Francisco Seals. He pitched at Pueblo, Colo., when the Wichita franchise was transferred there in 1911, then was sold to St. Joseph, Mo., but was back in Wichita in 1912. He was a headliner for the Wichita Witches. He was born in 1882 in Kansas.
Eddie Dwight -- 2011
A speedy outfielder and base stealer, Eddie Dwight had a pair of five-year stints (1925-29, 1933-37) with the Kansas City Monarchs. Dwight was a contact hitter with little power, but used his speed on the base paths and in the outfield. Known as “Pee Wee” and “Flash,” the 5’8” Dwight appeared in the 1936 All-Star game while a member of the Monarchs. He died in 1975 in Kansas City, Kansas. He was 70 years of age.
Monk Edwards -- 1956
Nicknamed “Monk” for his big build, A.R. was known as a legendary Kansas prep coach. He was a three-sport star at Kansas State in the 1920s and an outstanding minor league player for Providence, R.I, and Independence, Kan., Omaha and Pueblo, Colo., in the 1930s. It was reported he once led all minor league players in hitting, causing foes to shift their defenses just as they did against Ted Williams. In football, he led Wichita North for 18 years after creating an unbeaten Wellington team in 1938.
Terry Elliot -- 2005
Elliot played in his first NBC tournament at age 16 out of Wellington. He has appeared in over 17 tournaments as of his HOF induction as a catcher or manager or both for 9 teams. He had an outstanding career at WSU as Coach Gene Stephenson was making the Shockers a national power. Also played for Seward County and the Liberal BeeJays. Elliot appeared in the 2006 NBC tournament as a 41-year-old playing for Community Bank Cowboys. He was an all-around athlete in high school and an all-state football player.
Cy Eppler -- 1980
Eppler was one of the most successful managers in the history of the National Baseball Congress tournament. His Boeing Bombers won back-to-back national titles in 1954 and 1955. The powerful 1955 team he put together included eight future Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, including Vern Frantz, Minor Scott, Daryl Spencer, Les Layton, Ernie Logan, Gene Rogers, Andy Teter and Loren Packard. Eppler’s 1953 team finished runnerup to Fort Leonard Wood.
Paul Fair -- 1970
Fair was a key figure in the National Baseball Congress as head of umpires and tournament director for Hap Dumont. Fair was the key figure as Dumont created the NBC National Association of Umpires. The NAU is still in existence today with the NBC as the governing body. As tournament director Fair took many of the day-to-day responsibilities off the shoulders of Dumont, who then could continue with his creative ways of promoting semi-pro baseball.
Mickey Flynn -- 1985
Flynn played in the Cubs farm system in the Texas League and gravitated to Wichita, where he managed Wichita’s Civic Theater team to the Kansas semi-pro title in 1933. Two years later he played in the first national NBC tournament game with early-day power Wichita Water. He also toured with the House of David team and caught the legendary Grover Cleveland Alexander. Hap Dumont paid Flynn to be a traveling goodwill ambassador for the National Baseball Congress.
P. J. Forbes -- 2013
A standout at Pittsburg’s Colgan High School, P.J. Forbes was a two-time All-Missouri Valley Conference second baseman at Wichita State. During the Shockers College World Series Championship season on 1989, Forbes led the NCAA in hits and triples. Forbes was drafted by the California Angels in the 20th round of the 1990 MLB Draft. He reached the majors in 1998 with Baltimore and also appeared with Philadelphia in 2001. Following his playing career, Forbes managed in the Phillies’ and Pittsburg Pirates’ farm systems.
Floyd “Smoky” Ford – 2014
Ford was a longtime American Legion coach and the first baseball coach at
Pratt High School. Ford died in 2011, but his name lives on with the Smoky
Ford Invitational tournament and Smoky Ford Field in Pratt.
Larry Foss -- 2006
Foss signed with the Pirates organization in 1955. He was born in Castleton, Kan., in 1936. He debuted in 1961 for the Pirates and in 1962 played for the Mets. He played at every level of pro ball from Class D to the majors. The highlight was in 1961 when he won his first major league start for the Pirates against Bob Gibson and the Cardinals.
Vern Frantz -- 1988
Frantz was a leading pitcher on the Boeing Bombers for four years, including 1954 and 1955 when they won back-to-back national titles. The team also won the Global World Series in Milwaukee where Frantz was one of two pitchers who notched two victories. A right-hander with a wicked curve ball, he played five years (1947-52) in the Dodgers system at Danville, Ill., Pueblo, Colo., and Fort Worth. Frantz was a graduate of Wichita East High School in 1946.
Jake Fretz -- 1995
Fretz came to Kansas in 1950 to coach football at Bethel College in Newton. After three years he moved to Wichita where he taught math and science at Meade Junior High. It was during that time that he became an umpire in the National Baseball Congress program. He officiated for two decades and taught at Meade for 18 years before retiring in 1976. He was born in Pennsylvania and was a three-sport letterman in Bluffton College in Ohio.
Owen Friend -- 1987
LONG TIME PRESIDENT OF THE KANSAS BASEBALL HOF
Between 1944 and 1964, Friend bounced around the minor and major leagues with seven seasons on major league teams – the Browns, Tigers, Indians, Red Sox and Cubs. In 1950 he had 88 hits and 50 RBI for the Browns. He played on 17 minor league clubs and managed 8 teams. In 1954 he led the American Assn. shortstops in double plays with 108 for Indianapolis. He played on two NBC champs, Sinton, Texas, and Brooke Army Medical. He has served as president of the Kansas Baseball Assn.
John Froome -- 1977
Froome was a radio-TV personality who came to Wichita in 1950 to work for radio station KANS as program director. For years he did color commentary on games of the National Baseball Congress tournament. In 1955 he was hired by KAKE-TV where he did many jobs, including weather and sports. He also created several of KAKE’s popular local shows such as “Party Line” and “Show for Dough.” He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was a graduate of Northwestern University.
Dalton Fuller -- 1942
Fuller was a deaf athlete who rose to the ranks of professional baseball and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the USA Deaf Sports Federation in 1954. He played baseball for the Kansas School for the Deaf 1900-1903 and the University of Kansas. Fuller spent most of his life in Wichita where he was a cabinet maker and foreman of a Wichita company that manufactured furniture. He died in Wichita in June, 1969, at the age of 84.
John Gabler -- 1986
Gabe spent more than two decades in organized baseball but only got to the majors for three abbreviated seasons. He played for the Yankees in 1959 but got into only three games and went back to the minors. Eleven years later the Yanks called him up and he saw action in 21 games, won 7 and lost 12. In 1961 the Senators got him via the expansion draft. He had a career record of 7 victories and 12 losses. From 1964 to 1968 Gabler was a frequent performer in the NBC Tournament.
Bob Gadberry -- 1972
Gadberry was the long-time public address announcer for the National Baseball Congress tournament. He was also a close friend of NBC founder Hap Dumont and delivered the eulogy at Dumont’s funeral. Gadberry became a well-known newscaster and sportscaster at KFH and KFBI between 1938 and 1952, then joined Fourth National Bank and rose to the position of vice-president. He also became well-known as a public speaker in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Missouri, Illinois and Louisiana.
Harry Gaiser -- 1948
Gaiser played minor league baseball with the Waterloo, Iowa, Blue Jays and at Albert Lee, Minn. He was born in Wichita and attended Pittsburg State, where he obtained his teacher certificate. He played semi-pro ball in Wichita and was a member of the 1914 Kansas-Oklahoma All-Stars. His parents owned the Gaiser Carriage (Auto) Works in Wichita. He taught school in Wichita. He was born in 1891 and died in Wichita in 1975 at the age of 83.
Dale Gear -- 1950
Born in Lone Elm, Kan., in 1872, Gear attended Kansas University, then broke into the majors at age 24 with the Cleveland Spiders. In 1896 he appeared in three games with the Cleveland Spiders. Five years later with the Senators he had a 4-11 record. He held the American League record for 105 years of allowing 10 extra-base hits in a game. The record was tied by Curt Schilling in 2006, against the Royals. Gear was president of the Western Association and the Western League for many years.
Jerry Gile -- 2003
Gile was an outstanding baseball umpire for many years at the collegiate and national semi-pro level. He also worked small-college football and basketball games in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference for two decades from 1961 to 1981. He officiated the KCAC football championships in 1979 and 1980, the Rodeo Bowl in 1979 and the 1969 Silver Bowl commemorating 100 years of college football. He was inducted into the Kansas Collegiate Officials Hall of Fame in 2006 posthumously.
Clyde Girrens -- 1980
St. Mark’s, Kan., produced this catcher who first played in an NBC state tournament at age 15 in 1945. In 1949 he performed in the NBC tournament for Cessna. In 1950 he signed with the LA Dodgers and played five years in the Dodger organization. He returned to Wichita and made the NBC all-tournament team a record four times playing for the Weller Indians, Service Auto Glass and Bob Moore Oldsmobile. He was the NBC MVP in 1959, hitting .364 and driving in seven runs.
Milt Glickman -- 2008
Philanthropist scrap metal dealer Milt Glickman returned pro baseball to Wichita after a12-year absence. In 1970 he and 16 other investors bought a franchise in the American Association and created the AAA Wichita Aeros, who represented the city for 14 years as a farm club of the Cubs, Indians, Rangers, Expos and Reds. The Aeros won one AA pennant in 1972. Glickman said he lost more than $1 million supporting the Aeros.
Art Griggs -- 1940
Born in Topeka Dec. 10, 1883, Griggs played in the major leagues seven years for the St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Naps, Brooklyn Tip Tops and Detroit Tigers. He twice hit for more than .300 (.304 in 1912 for Cleveland and .364 in 1918 for Detroit). He was a utility man who played every position in the infield and outfield and compiled a .966 lifetime fielding average. He also managed the Wichita Aviators in the Western League (1929-1931), winning titles in 1930 and 1931. He died in 1938 in Los Angeles.
Don Gutteridge -- 1949
Born in Pittsburg, Kan., Gutteridge played at Pittsburg State then had a 12-year career as a major league infielder and a stint as manager of the White Sox in 1969 and 1970. He was on two American League pennant winners – the Browns in 1944 and the Red Sox in 1946. He had 1,075 hits, 391 runs batted in and 39 homers. As a rookie with the Cards he once had six hits in a double header. In 2006, the city of Pittsburg established June 19, his birthday, as Don Gutteridge Day.
Earl Hamilton -- 1949
He threw a no-hitter August 30, 1912, for the St. Louis Browns against the Detroit Tigers. It was the first no-hitter in the history of the Browns’ franchise. He pitched 14 years in the majors, seven with the Browns. He won 116 games, lost 147 and had an earned-run average of 3.15. He won 17 games, had a league-leading five shutouts, with the Browns in 1914 and won 13 with the Pirates in 1921. He is one of only three pitchers to one-hit the Yankees twice. He grew up in Oswego, Kan.
Ron Hammett -- 1976
Hammett was killed at the height of his semi-pro career in 1967 at the age of 34 in an oil field accident in Oklahoma. A Salina native and Liberal resident, he was a headliner in 1963 for NBC national champion Wichita Rapid Transit Dreamliners and coached the 1965 national runner-up Liberal Bee Jays. He was also a key right-handed pitcher for state champs Fort Riley (1954), Weller Construction and Cessna Bobcats (1959-1961). He rose to the Class B level in the Cardinals system.
Charles Hannah -- 1983
Charles G. Hannah played in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization from 1923 to 1928. He played third base for the Wichita Wolves, Wichita’s entry in the Western League, in 1916. He was born in Mulhall, Okla., and had been a long-time Wichita resident when he died in 1971 at the age of 76. He was a retired nurseryman and former landscape engineer.
George Hale -- 1942
“Ducky” Hale was born in Dexter, Kan., in 1894. He broke into the major leagues with the St. Louis Browns at the age of 20 in 1914. He played four seasons with the Browns – 1914, 1916, 1917 and 1918. He appeared in 60 games and batted .175. Hale was a catcher who threw and batted right-handed. He died in Wichita in 1945 at the age of 51. He is buried in a cemetery in Dexter, Kan.
Billy Hall -- 2015
From Wichita Northwest High School, Hall began his collegiate career at Butler Community College, where he was All-Region VI as a sophomore. As a walk-on at Wichita State, he hit .364 with 59 stolen bases as a senior, helping the Shockers to the 1991 College World Series final. He was named first-team All American second baseman by Collegiate Baseball. Hall was drafted by San Diego and spent parts of two seasons with the Wichita Wranglers, then a Padres affiliate. He played fifteen seasons of professional baseball, reaching the AAA level in four different organizations. Hall spent one season in Korea and also played in Venezuela and Mexico. Hall returned to Wichita and was a volunteer assistant at WSU in 2012.
He has also coached the Derby Twins of the Jayhawk League, served as director for the Wichita Reds high school program and is involved in League 42, a Wichita youth baseball league. Professionally, Hall is an instructor with Impact Sports in Wichita.
David Haas – 2014
Haas was an All-American pitcher at Wichita State from 1985-88. His 49
victories are second on the all-time Shocker career list. Haas pitched in
the majors with the Detroit Tigers and now makes his home in Wichita
C. E. Heimple -- 1945
A catcher, Heimple was a member of two traveling baseball teams – the Bloomer Girls in 1906 and the Elks Club in 1907. Tragically, he lost an arm in an accident at the age of 19, but continued to be involved in baseball. He established a dry cleaning business and served as vice-president of the Kansas Baseball Association for seven years. In his later years he was a farmer. He died in September of 1966 at the age of 77.
Claude Hendrix -- 2008
The former Fairmount College (now Wichita State) player had three 20-win seasons and won 141 games in a 10-year career with a 2.66 earned-run average. He had a 24-9 record for the Pirates in 1912 and 20-7 in 1918 with the Cubs and appeared in one game in the World Series games against the Boston Red Sox and Babe Ruth. He also played for the Chicago Whales. He was born in Olathe in 1889 and died in 1944 in Allentown, Pa.
Herb Hess -- 2001
In 2006 Hess had scouted the National Baseball Congress tournament for 45 years for three different teams – 8 years with the Pirates, 15 with the Reds and 22 for the Indians the past 17 years. He was NBC Scout of the Year three times (1998, 2004 and 2005). He has staged camps and clinics that drew 4,000-5,000 kids. He played semi-pro ball in Texas and Arkansas before joining the Navy during World War II. He coached in the Victory League, wed and settled in Wichita.
Gus Hetling -- 1940
He had a brief major league career, appearing in two games with the Detroit Tigers in 1906. But he had a brilliant career in the minor leagues. In 1915 he was rated the best third baseman in the early history (1908-1915) of the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League. He was an outstanding bunter and pinch hitter with power. He wound up playing for the Wichita Wolves in the Western League in 1915, 1916 and later. He remained in Wichita where he died in 1962 at the age of 77.
Bill Hodge -- 1988
Hodge was a former sportswriter and sports editor of the Wichita Eagle and Wichita Beacon who greatly expanded the sports coverage of the papers. A former amateur boxer, Hodge took the name of his column, “In This Corner,” from that sport. The column ran five days a week. He was an avid supporter of the NBC and baseball in general. He retired at the age of 60 in order to participate in his favorite pastime, golf. He died on Sept. 11, 2002, at the age of 81.
Chief Hogsett -- 1991
Elon Chester Hogsett was born in Brownell, Kan., in 1903 and broke into the majors in 1929 with the Detroit Tigers. The lefthander pitched for 11 years in the majors, eight years with the Tigers. He earned two World Series rings in 1934, when the Tigers lost to the Cards and 1935 when they beat the Cubs. Hogsett’s best years were 1932 when he was 11-9 with Detroit and 1936 when he was 13-15 with the St. Louis Browns. He had a 63-87 won-lost record with 33 saves. He died in Hays, Kan., in 2001.
Brian Holman -- 2007
Seattle Mariners Standout
On April 20, 1990, former Wichita North High standout Brian Holman retired 26 Oakland A’s in a row, one out shy of the 13th perfect game in major league history. The A’s Ken Phelps hit a home run, and Holman got credit for the 10th one-hitter in Seattle Mariners history. Holman was a strong right-hander who pitched 15 complete games during four years in the majors. He was drafted in the first round in 1988 by Montreal and was traded to Seattle in 1989. He won 37 and lost 45 with six shutouts during a four-year career. On one other occasion Holman went into the ninth inning working on a no-hitter. An injury forced him to retire early. He is now the baseball coach at Andale High School. Brother Brad and step-father Dick LeMay were also major league pitchers.
Bob Homolka -- 2011
Salina’s Bob Homolka has umpired more nearly 5,000 games at all levels. For nearly 40 years, Homolka has umpired at the collegiate level, mostly in the Big Ten, Big 12 and Missouri Valley Conference. He has been selected to umpire two College World Series. In 1995, Homolka worked Major League games during an umpire’s strike. Homolka is a math professor and department chair at Kansas State University Salina.
Kevin Hooper -- 2016
One of the most popular players in Wichita State history, Hooper arrived from Lawrence High School as a 129-pound freshman. He responded by hitting .321 and was named freshman All-American. As a Shocker, Hooper would garner All-American honors his junior and senior seasons. He hit .358 for his career and was named team MVP as a senior, voted the “Charlie Hustle Award” three times and Golden Glove Award all four of his seasons. Hooper was elected to the Shocker Hall of Fame in 2005. Hooper signed with the Florida Marlins as an eighth round draft pick. He played with four different organizations and played in six games for the Detroit Tigers in 2005, collecting his only Major League hit. He played in another eight games for the Tigers in 2006.
In 2008, Hooper joined the Wichita Wingnuts and won the American Association batting title with a .373 average. The following year, he was named manager and guided the Wingnuts to a 422-270 record over seven seasons. In 2014, the Wingnuts won the American Association championship, finishing with an overall record of 79-28 (.738 winning percentage). Hooper spent the 2016 season as minor league infield coordinator for the San Diego Padres.
Ralph Houk -- 1963
Born in Lawrence, Kan., Houk played eight years with the Yankees but earned his highest acclaim as manager of the Bronx Bombers for 20 seasons. He led the Yanks to World Series titles in 1961 and 1962 and the following year he got them to the World Series again but they were swept by the Dodgers. He guided NY to 1,619 victories in 20 seasons and had a .514 winning percentage. He was also a performer in the National Baseball Congress tournament before breaking into the majors in 1947.
Dee Hubbard -- 1994
Some credit the Wichita entrepreneur with saving the National Baseball Congress after the death of founder Hap Dumont. Hubbard formed the Wichita Service Auto Glass baseball team in 1962 and in 1964 the team won the NBC national title. He ran the team until 1974. When Dumont died in 1971 Hubbard bought the NBC from his estate and served as chairman of the board until 1974. In 1981 WSU dedicated Hubbard Hall in honor of his gifts to the Center for Entrepreneurship.
Frank Isbell -- 1939
Kansas Baseball HOF Charter Inductee
As a manager/owner gave Wichita its most colorfully named team – the Izzies -- in the 1920s and in 1932. Played 10 seasons with the Chicago White Sox and still holds the World Series record for most two-base hits in a game – 4 – in the 1906 Series. Managed the Wichita Jobbers in 1910 and 1911. Served several years as Sedgwick County Commissioner, dying in office in 1941. The Izzies won the Western League title in 1921.
Paul Jacobs -- 1985
Jacobs was the official scorer for the National Baseball Congress tournaments for 28 years. He was a former sporting goods salesman who moonlighted as the scorer before retiring in 1977. After he retired, he moved to Salem, Kan., where he worked at a Boy Scout camp. He also compiled the statistical records for the NBC Guide after his retirement. He managed some semi-pro teams and scouted Kansas for the Senators, Indians and Phils.
Bill James -- 2007
Baseball Statistics Pioneer
This Lawrence Kansas statistician has risen from curiosity to baseball savant, even to baseball people who have a history of ignoring outsiders. James has written more than two dozen books on baseball and has produced statistical abstracts which have convinced teams like the Oakland A’s and the Boston Red Sox that James holds the key to success in the future. James calls his approach sabermetrics, from Society of American Baseball Research (SABR). He currently lives in Boston where he is senior advisor to the Red Sox. In 2006, Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. James’ system projects the future success of players at various levels of baseball competition, among other things.
Woody Jensen -- 1977
Also in the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame
Jensen lived most of his life in Wichita as owner of Rose Bowl East and West, two bowling establishments. He held two National League records in nine years with the Pirates – 526 putouts and 696 at-bats, both in 1936. His best year was 1935 when he batted .324 and drove in 62 runs. He played for the Wichita Aviators in 1930, when he met his wife, Lola. He returned to Wichita after his baseball career and served as president of the Wichita Braves and the Wichita Indians in the 1950s.
Ken Johnson -- 1998
“Hook” was born in Topeka, Kan., in 1923 and broke into the majors at age 24. He played four seasons with the Cards (1947-1950), went to the Phillies for parts of two seasons and finished with the Tigers in 1952. The lefty had a career won-lost record of 12-14. His best years were with the Phillies when he won 9 and lost 9 in 1950 and 1951. The Phillies reached the World Series in 1950 but were swept by the Yankees in four straight games. Johnson died in Wichita in 2004.
Oscar "Heavy" Johnson -- 2011
Born in Atchison in 1896, Oscar “Heavy” Johnson was a 250-pound slugger who was a premier hitter during the 1920s. Johnson started his career as a catcher with the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry team. He shifted to the outfield when he signed with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1922. In twelve Negro Leagues seasons, Johnson compiled a .337 average. In 1924, he hit more than 60 home runs against all opposition (including the Cuban winter league). Johnson died in Cleveland in 1966.
Topeka Jack Johnson -- 2011
“Topeka Jack” Johnson was an entertaining Negro Leagues manager who borrowed his name from the heavyweight champion of the day. Topeka Jack sparred against Jack Johnson on Thanksgiving Day, 1920 at the federal prison in Leavenworth where the former champion was serving time. Topeka Jack Johnson managed the Topeka Giants, which later moved to Kansas City, Kansas. Johnson eventually left baseball and became a police officer in Topeka.
Walter Johnson -- 1939
“Big Train” was a dominating right-handed pitcher born in Humboldt, Kansas, who for 20 years (1907-27) was an intimidating force for the Washington Senators. Started in 666 games and relieved in some 150 others. MVP of American League 1913 and 1924. Given the nickname “Big Train” by sportswriter Grantland Rice. Managed Senators 1929-1932. Won the triple crown of pitching (wins, strikeouts, ERA) in 1913, 1918 and 1924.
Tex Jones -- 1941
William Roderick “Tex” Jones was born August 4, 1885, in Marion, Kan. He broke into the major leagues at the age of 25 on April 13, 1911, after signing with the Chicago White Sox. He played first base for the White Sox and appeared in 9 games, batting .194. He handled 108 chances without an error at first base. He stood six feet tall, weighed 192 pounds, batted right and threw right. He died in Wichita in 1938 at the age of 52.
Rod Kanehl – 2010
Born in Wichita in 1934, “Hot” Rod Kanehl was one of the original members of the New York Mets. A favorite of manager Casey Stengel, Kanehl was known for his hustling, all-out style of play. In three seasons with the Mets, Kanehl hit .241 with six home runs, 47 RBIs and hit the 1st grand slam in Mets history. After retirement from the majors, he played for the 1965 National Baseball Congress champion Wichita Rapid Transit Dreamliners. Kanehl died in 2004 at the age of 70.
John Keenan -- 1988
Carrying on a family tradition of scouting, Keenan followed the lead of his grandfather, Bert Wells, a respected scout for the Dodgers. Keenan served 36 years as a scout for the Dodgers. He became a supervisor of scouting in a district that included 24 states in the Midwest and was a national cross-checker. He scouted the NBC tournaments in all his 36 years of service. Wells and Keenan are the only grandfather-grandson duo in the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame.
Leonard Kelley -- 1987
Parsons, Kan., native Kelley played in 15 NBC tournaments and was named to the all-tourney team three times competing for Wichita teams Rapid Transit, Service Auto Glass and Cessna and for Hutchinson and Liberal. He was a shortstop and a strong hitter, setting a tournament record with 36 total bases in 1971. He was also a starting guard on the Shocker basketball teams of the early 1960s. He signed with the Washington Senators in 1966 but went into the service right after spring training.
Brent Kemnitz -- 2002
As Coach Gene Stephenson’s top assistant since 1980, Kemnitz has become one of the nation’s most respected pitching coaches. He helped coach Anchorage, Alaska, to four top 10 finishes in the NBC World Series, including a championship in 1986. A native of Perry, Okla., he had an 8-0 record as his Phillips U. team put together a 29-game winning streak and a No. 1 ranking in the NAIA in his junior season. Over fifty of his WSU pitchers have earned All-Missouri Valley honors nearly 100 times.
Mike Kennedy -- 2002
For more than a quarter century Kennedy has been the Voice of the Shockers in basketball, baseball and women’s volleyball. He also did WSU football play-by-play until the sport was eliminated in 1986. He was inducted into the Kansas Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2005, the WSU Shocker Sports Hall of Fame in 1995. He has been honored six times as the Kansas Sportscaster of the Year. He began his radio career in Chanute, returning to Wichita in 1976 to do play-by-play of the Wichita Aeros.
Carl Kentling -- 1981
Kentling was an outstanding baseball and basketball player at Southwest Missouri State. He played nine years in the minor leagues. After retiring from professional baseball, he was the leading hitter in the 1940 National Baseball Congress tourney for the Houston, Texas, Grand Prize Brewery which finished third. He moved to Wichita in the 1940s and was involved in several Boeing baseball projects. He was a regional scout for the San Francisco Giants. He died in Wichita in 2003.
Fred Kipp -- 1996
Kipp had a brilliant minor league career. He won 20 games for Montreal in 1956 and took the ERA title in the Tri-State League in 1953 at 2.23, helped Mobile win the Southern League playoffs and the Dixie Series against the Texas League champs in 1955. The lefty from Piqua, Kan., was called up by the Dodgers late in the 1957 season. In 1958 and 1959 he couldn’t crack the LA mound dynasty of Koufax, Podres, Drysdale and Labine.
Jacob Klein -- 1986
Klein was the inspiration behind the highly successful American Legion junior baseball program in Newton for many years. He was a retired clerk for the Santa Fe Railway in Newton. He played professional baseball for several years, including a stint with Sioux City, Iowa, in the Three I League. Klein died in Newton in 1986 at the age of 79.
Tom Kornhaus -- 1994
Kornhaus was born in Peabody, Kan., in 1913 and played football and baseball at Wichita University in the early 1930s. He played pro ball at Bartlesville, Okla., in the late 1930s and later played semi-pro ball in Wichita in the early 1940s, according to his nephew Thomas J. Kornhaus in Overland Park. The elder Kornhaus also coached baseball and basketball at Cathedral High and after World War II reinstalled the school’s football program in the late 1940s.
Rocky Krsnich -- 1987
The 6-foot-1 third baseman bounced around in the major and minor leagues 12 years and had three seasons with the White Sox in 1949, 1952 and 1953. His best season was 1949 with Memphis of the Southern Assn., when he hit 20 home runs, drove in 91 runs and batted .318. Krsnich was also the MVP of the 1962 NBC Tournament as a member of the champion Wichita Dreamliners. He made the NBC all-tournament team twice. In 120 games with Chicago, he had 59 hits and 38 RBI.
Joe Kuhel -- 1995
For 18 years between 1930 and 1947 Kuhel played first base for the Senators and the White Sox. When the Senators moved from Washington to Minneapolis, he managed the new Twins franchise in 1948 and 1949. He helped the 1933 Senators win the American League pennant by batting .322 with 107 runs batted in. The Senators lost the World Series to the Giants. He managed the KC Blues in the American Association in 1950. Kuhel died in Kansas City, Kan., in 1984 at the age of 87.
Al Kunigonis -- 2000
He was born in Pennsylvania but settled in Wichita after WWII. He played one year in the West Texas-New Mexico League at Pampa, Texas, and at Clovis, N. M. In 1949 he returned to Kansas and played on Cessna’s state NBC champions and was named all-state at third base. In 1950 he played for the Boeing Bombers and in 1951 for the Roscan Brothers team in the Victory League. He umpired baseball for six years and officiated football for several years after his playing days.
Adam LaRoche -- 2016
The son of former Major League pitcher Dave LaRoche, Adam was an All-American at Fort Scott High School and played one season (1999) for his father at Fort Scott Community College. He was drafted by the Florida Marlins after both seasons but did not sign. LaRoche transferred to Seminole (OK) State College in 2000 and was MVP of the National Junior College World Series. LaRoche hit .478 in the series and pitched two complete game victories. Following the series, he was drafted and signed by the Atlanta Braves. In 2004, LaRoche made his Major League debut. After three seasons with the Braves, he was traded to Pittsburgh. With the Pirates, he played one season with his brother Andy. His best season was in 2012 with Washington, when he hit .271 with 33 home runs and 100 RBIs. He won a gold glove and silver slugger award as a first baseman and was sixth in the National League MVP voting. Following the 2014 season, LaRoche signed with the Chicago White Sox. After one season, he retired after a dispute with White Sox management. For his 12-year Major League career, LaRoche hit .260 with 255 homers. LaRoche and his family make their home in Fort Scott. He is one of the stars of the reality show Buck Commander and has been involved in the fight against human trafficking.
Les Layton -- 1958
In the 1950s, Wichita’s Boeing Bombers were a semi-pro power, winning titles in the National Baseball Congress tournament in 1954 and 1955. Layton was a key member of that team, playing outfield for the Bombers. He was also a former major leaguer, having played with the New York Giants in 1948. He had the rare distinction of hitting a home run in his first at-bat with the Giants May 21, 1948. In 1949, he played for Minnesota in the American Assn., batting .269 with 9 homers and 36 RBI.
Frank Leo -- 2005
When inducted in 2005, Leo was in his 26th season as head coach of the Hays Larks, a perennial contender in semi-pro baseball. After an all-district career as a player for Fort Hays State, Leo led the Larks to the Midwest Regional title in the National Baseball Congress six times and to the title in the powerful Jayhawk League four times. Leo coached the USA Junior Pan American team to the title in 1991 in Vera Cruz, Mexico. He also made Hays High School a perennial power in prep circles.
Paul Lindblad -- 1999
Born in Chanute, Kan., the 6-foot-1 lefty appeared in 655 games in 14 years, mostly with the Athletics in Kansas City and Oakland. He won 68 games and saved 64 as a relief pitcher, compiling a solid 3.29 career earned-run-average. He helped the Oakland A’s win back-to-back World Series in 1973 and 1974. He capped his career as a reliever for the New York Yankees, winning another World Series ring in 1978. He died Jan. 1, 2006, in Arlington, Texas.
Don Lock -- 1974
Wichita-born Don Lock played his college ball at Wichita University. He broke into the majors at age 25 and had an eight-year career, four seasons with the Senators, three with the Phillies and one with the Red Sox. An outfielder, the 6-foot-2 Lock hit 122 career home runs and drove in 373 runs. In 1963 and 1964, he hit 55 homers and drove in 160 runs for the Senators. He had a career batting average of .238 and a sterling .976 fielding percentage.
Ernie Logan -- 1983
A power-hitting right fielder who made the NBC all-tournament team three straight years – 1953-55 – Logan helped the Boeing Bombers claim back-to-back NBC National titles in 1954 and 1955. They went on to win the Global World Series in Milwaukee in 1955. Logan played for Charleston in the South Atlantic League, Atlanta in the Southern Assn. and Columbus in the American Assn. He batted cleanup and twice in one season hit four home runs in a row while playing for Charleston.
Bob Mainzer -- 1992
Signed by the Cubs in the late 1940s, he played in Mayfield, Ky., and Springfield, Ill. In 1950 he was shortstop for the Wichita Indians. In 1951 he quit pro ball, joined the Boeing Bombers, won the trophy for most spectacular play. He returned to pro ball in 1952 with Wichita Falls, Texas, moved up to AAA Toledo and Atlanta in 1953 and Milwaukee in 1954. He quit pro ball again in 1955, returned to Wichita, played semi-pro until 1967. In 1962 he was the Boeing Bombers’ MVP.
"Runt" Marr -- 1953
There was probably no more colorful figure in baseball than Clifton A. Marr. In the 1930s he was owner/manager of the Fort Smith, Ark., Giants of the Western Association. After World War II, he became a co-founder of the KOM (Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri) Class D League. He then launched a long career as scout for the St. Louis Cardinals that lasted from the 1950s until his death. He also worked the NBC tournaments and was one the earliest scouts taken into the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame.
Gene Mauch -- 2004
When he retired in 1988 after 26 years, only two men had managed longer in the majors – Connie Mack and John McGraw. “Skip,” or “The Little General,” was born in Salina in 1925 and broke into the majors at age 18. He played infield nine years for the Dodgers, Pirates, Cubs, Braves, Cards and Red Sox. He managed Philadelphia, Montreal, Minnesota and California and won 3,942 games. His best year was when he led the Phillies to a tie for second place in the National League.
Dudley "Tullie" McAdoo -- 2011
Born in Topeka in 1884, Tullie McAdoo started his professional career with the Topeka Giants in 1907. He moved with the Giants to Kansas City, Kansas and later played with the Kansas City Monarchs, the St. Louis Giants and the St. Louis Stars. McAdoo was considered a premier power-hitting first baseman. His playing career lasted until 1923. McAdoo died in Chicago in 1961.
John McGraw -- 1986
Not the former manager of the New York Giants known as “Little Napoleon.” Not the John “Tug” McGraw who was an NBC all-star pitcher for Hays in 1977. The John McGraw inducted into the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame came to Wichita in 1942 to play for Cessna. He was a graduate of Oklahoma A&M (now OSU). The Oklahoma City native stayed in Wichita, became superintendent of schools at Andover and did some “bird dogging” as a sub-scout for the Red Sox.
Archie McKain -- 1954
This Delphos, Kan., lefty went 8-8 pitching in his rookie season of 1937 with the Boston Red Sox and was 5-0 with a 2.62 earned-run average in 1940 in relief for the Detroit Tigers, who lost 4 games to 3 in the World Series to the Reds. McKain pitched three innings in the Series and gave up four hits but had no decision. He played for the St. Louis Browns in 1941 and 1943. When he was traded to the Dodgers in 1943, he retired and returned to Kansas to farm. He died in Salina in 1985.
Valais McLean – 2014
McLean amassed more than a thousand wins as head coach at Allen Community
College. A member of the NJCAA Hall of Fame, McLean has a PhD in counseling psychology and was the director of guidance at Allen County Community College.
Frank McMullan -- 1947
McMullan moved to Wichita in 1902 and served on the editorial staff of the Wichita Eagle as a reporter, city editor and sports editor. In 1906 he went to Kingman, Kan., as editor of the Kingman Journal. He returned to Wichita as a baseball writer and sports editor. In 1911 he became secretary of Wichita’s team in the Western League. He served with the club until 1914. He later joined the Internal Revenue Service where he became an executive. He died in 1960 at the age of 84.
Galen McSpadden – 2010
With 986 wins entering the 2010-11 season, Seward County’s Galen McSpadden is among the all-time winningest coaches in the community college ranks. Since coming to Seward in 1982, McSpadden has coached thirteen Jayhawk West Conference champion teams and is a five-time coach of the year. McSpadden has coached 82 players who were either drafted by Major League teams or signed professional contracts.
Pat Meares -- 2012
Salina Sacred Heart did not field a baseball team while Pat Meares went to school. Instead, he won the 3A golf championship to go along with his football and basketball honors. Meares' performance during summer American Legion baseball was enough to earn him a spot at Wichita State, where he played in the outfield as a freshman for the 1988 College World Series squad. In the summer of 1988, Meares played for the Wichita (now El Dorado) Broncos. He helped the team to a seventh place finish in the National Baseball Congress World Series. In 1989, Meares moved to third base and filled in for injured teammate Mike Lansing at shortstop during the College World Series. Meares hit .429 during the series and hit a two-run homer in the championship game won by the Shockers. For his performance, Meares was named to the All-College World Series team. In 1990, Meares led Wichita State with 12 home runs and was second to Lansing with 50 RBIs. He was named All-Missouri Valley Conference and was drafted by Minnesota in the 12th round of the MLB draft. In 1993, Meares made his debut for the Twins and was the Twins' regular shortstop for six seasons. Following the 1998 season, Meares became a free agent and signed with Pittsburgh. He played three seasons with the Pirates before a hand injury forced his retirement. Meares is an inductee in the El Dorado Baseball Hall of Fame.
Jack Miller -- 1987
Former newspaper-radio-television personality who was the top TV sportscaster in Wichita from 1954 to 1975. He was born in Ohio but joined the Army Air Corps during World War II and was sent to the air base at Independence, Kan., where he met his future wife. He moved to Coffeyville where he worked for radio station KGGF and for the local newspaper. In 1953 he moved to Wichita to work for the Wichita Beacon. He worked for Hap Dumont of the NBC for one year, then went to KAKE-TV.
Jim Mitchell -- 1983
Long-ball hitting second baseman who played in the New York Giants chain before joining the Boeing Bombers for their two titles in the NBC in 1954 and 1955. He was an all-around athlete at the University of Oklahoma in baseball, basketball, football and tennis. Played in the Western Association (Sioux City, Iowa) and the American Association (Minneapolis) before a shoulder injury forced him to be cut. Played several seasons with the Boeing Bombers in the 1950s.
Bob Monty -- 1990
Robert E. Monty played basketball for the University of Wichita from 1946 to 1948. He played semi-pro baseball in Wichita during the 1950s. Then he served as an umpire in the National Baseball Congress for 15 years. He was born in 1926 and died in Wichita in March of 2000 at the age of 75.
Dayton Moore – 2014
Moore was born in Wichita and played baseball at Garden City Community
College. He became general manager of the Kansas City Royals in 2006 and
returned the Royals to the World Series this past season. Prior to coming
to Kansas City, Moore was assistant general manager with the Atlanta Braves.
Bill Morris -- 1999
Born in El Dorado, he played two years of Kansas Ban Johnson ball at age 16 and played for College of Emporia which had a strong NAIA team in 1960. Went into military service and played at Fort Leonard Wood. He signed with the Yankees in 1961 and played in the Florida State, Pioneer and West Carolina leagues. Back in Wichita, he played semi-pro ball from 1963 to 1974, helping Service Auto Glass win the NBC national title in 1964. He was on the KBA Board for eight years.
Jim Morris -- 1985
Outstanding pitcher who helped the Boeing Bombers achieve two consecutive National Baseball Congress World Series titles in 1954 and 1955. He was named to the all-tournament team in 1955. Morris appeared in 10 NBC national tournaments with Boeing and the El Dorado Broncos and won a total of 11 games. He also struck out 103 batters, second on the list of most strikeouts for many years. Morris played professionally with the Miami, Okla., Owls and Topeka Owls in the KOM League.
Lew Morton -- 1968
Morton played on the powerful teams out of Enid, Okla., in the 1940s. He was an all-tournament outfielder for the Enid team that was runnerup in the 1943 NBC National tournament. He went on to reach the professional ranks and played in the Texas League at Tulsa in the 1960s and Dallas in the 1950s and with Toronto of the AAA International League in 1952. During the 1970s and into the 1980s he was a scout for the Dodgers.
Carroll "Dink" Mothell -- 2011
Born in Topeka in 1897, Dink Mothell began playing for the Topeka Giants in 1914 and joined the Kansas City Monarchs 1920. Though originally a catcher, he quickly became known for his versatility. The legendary “Cool Papa” Bell called Mothell the “greatest utility man in the game.” After his playing career, Mothell returned to Topeka, where he died in 1980. In 2011, the Topeka Capital-Journal ranked him #50 on their list of “Top 100 Athletes in Shawnee County History.”
Ray Mueller -- 2016
Ray Mueller was born in 1912 in Pittsburg, Kansas and was a first cousin of Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame member Don Gutteridge. Nicknamed “Iron Man,” Mueller broke into the Major Leagues in 1935 with the Boston Braves. His best seasons came in Cincinnati, where he caught a National League record 233 games from 1943-44 and, after returning from a year in the US Army, 1946. Mueller’s 1944 season was his best, hitting .286 with ten homers and 73 runs batting in. He was named to the National League’s all-star team and was seventh in the NL’s most valuable player voting. In his fourteen year career, Mueller played in 985 games and had a batting average of .252. He led National League catchers in assists three times. His 51.9% caught stealing percentage is seventh best all-time. Mueller died in 1994 in Lower Paxton Township, Pennsylvania. He was 82 years of age.
Dick Murphy -- 1992
Murphy was born in Oklahoma City but moved to Wichita at age 15 and played baseball at East High. He played pro ball at Odessa, Texas (Longhorn League), Pueblo, Colo., (Western League) and at Chattanooga (Southern Association) as the property of the Senators. He batted .532 in 30 games with Odessa. After he quit professional ball he played semi-pro ball for Cessna and Boeing. He worked for Boeing, taught school, sold insurance and owned Dairy Queen and liquor stores.
Roy Myer -- 1997
Roy Milton Myer played first base for two National Baseball Congress champions – the Duncan, Okla., Cementers and the Enid, Okla., Champlin Oilers in the late 1930s and 1940s. He moved to Wichita in 1941 and played for teams such as Boeing Bombers, U-Select Candymen and Cessna Bobcats. He was a long-ball hitter. Three times he was named to the All-Kansas team in state meets. Roy ended his career managing the Cessna Bobcats. He died in 2001 at age 82.
Lance Michols -- 1990
Nichols played in the Dodgers organization, managed the New Orleans Pelicans of the American Assn. in 1977 and the Rochester Redwings of the International League in 1982-83. In 1984 he was director of field operations for the Phils and in 1989 director of player development. He was also a scout for the Denver Rockies. He played minor league ball in the Alabama-Florida League in the 1960s. He was an all-tournament catcher for the NBC National champion Liberal BeeJays in 1968.
Dave Newkirk -- 1975
Newkirk was signed out of Augusta High School. He played at Iola, Kan., in the KOM League and eventually reached the Class AAA level. He was purchased by the Kansas City A’s in 1957. His left leg was crushed when he was hit by a car at age 27 but he continued to play despite a noticeable limp. He played outfield and catcher for Boeing and the Coleman Lamplighters. He became an oil field maintenance supervisor in the Oklahoma City area. He died in 2005 in Oklahoma.
Jack O'Donnell -- 1973
He managed the Rapid Transit Dreamliners to NBC championships in 1962 and 1963. At 155 pounds he was small but carried a big stick. He was named to the NBC All-Tournament team three times – 1959 with Cessna, 1961-62 with Rapid Transit. In 1950, he played for the Wichita Indians, a farm team of the St. Louis Browns. He played in the Browns’ farm system for 13 years. He met his wife Jessie in Wichita and settled down to raise a family while working for the U. S. Postal Service.
John "Buck" O'Neil -- 2011
Buck O’Neil played 18 years for the Kansas City Monarchs and managed the team for seven of those seasons. He then became a scout for the Chicago Cubs and, later, the Kansas City Royals and regularly scouted the NBC World Series in Wichita. In 1962, the Cubs made O’Neil the first black coach in the major leagues. He led the effort to establish the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in 1990. He died in 2006 at the age of 95 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Vern Orndorff -- 1998
Orndorff pitched a perfect game in 1961 for Decatur, Iowa, a Detroit farm team in the Midwest League. He signed with the Tigers after earning All-Europe MVP honors in 1959 during military service in the Army. He had a won-lost record of 15-1 in 1959 and the next year he was 16-1 with a 1.2 ERA. In 1962, he moved up to Duluth of the Northern League. Back home in El Dorado he joined Wichita’s Service Auto Glass team and pitched on its 1964 NBC National championship team.
Loren Packard -- 1986
After leaving the Navy at the end of World War II, Packard played minor league baseball with the Miami (Okla.) Owls in 1947 and Topeka of the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri League. He won the KOM batting title in 1948 with a .367 average. In 1949 he moved up to Topeka of the Western Association and batted .330. He played for Topeka until 1950 when he moved the family to Wichita, where he played first base and helped lead the Boeing Bombers to titles in the NBC in 1954 and 1955.
Leroy "Satchel" Paige -- 2011
The success of the NBC World Series was started in 1935 by Hap Dumont with a $1000 offer to Negro Leagues and barnstorming star Satchel Paige. Paige’s integrated Bismarck (ND) team came to Wichita and won the inaugural tournament. In 1948, Paige became the oldest rookie to play in the majors when he debuted with Cleveland at the age of 42. In 1971, Paige became the first Negro Leagues player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He died in 1982.
Volney Paul -- 1981
Paul began his 36-year umpiring career in Coffeyville, calling games for the Ban Johnson League. He moved to Wichita in the 1940s to work for Boeing and worked games in the Victory League and in the National Baseball Congress tournaments. He was also a substitute umpire for the Triple-A American Association. At Coffeyville Junior College he played football and baseball. His Paul’s Café at Waterman and Main was for 16 years one of the fans’ favorite hangouts after the games.
Red Phillips -- 1982
He was born in Oklahoma but spent most of his life in Wichita, where he worked for Boeing. He was 26 when he broke into the majors with Detroit. The Tigers called him up briefly in 1934 and sent him back to the minors. Then they called him up again in 1936 and he appeared in 29 games and posted a 2-4 record. During World War II Phillips worked for Boeing and managed in the minor leagues, including Paul’s Valley of the Sooner State League which included several top Wichita players.
R. G. Pollock Sr. -- 1944
Pollock came to Wichita in 1919. He established a jewelry store on South Woodlawn. He founded the American Legion Junior Baseball clubs in Wichita and was involved with the program for many years. The program operated in Kansas since its inception in 1926 and brought about a revival in interest in baseball. Pollock died in 1963 at his jewelry store at the age of 68.
E. C. Quigley -- 1950
Also in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame
The quintessential athletic arbiter, Quigley at one time was the dean of major league umpires. He called an estimated 5,400 games, including six World Series. He also worked some 400 football games including three Rose Bowls, a Cotton Bowl and five Harvard-Yale games. He officiated 1,500 basketball games, including national tournaments in New York, Denver and Kansas City. He spent his early years in Concordia, Kan., and in 1944 became director of athletics at the Univ. of Kansas.
Bob Randall -- 1997
The Minnesota Twins infielder was born in Norton, Kan., in 1948 and played at Kansas State. He played five season (1976-80) with the Twins, appearing in 460 games, scored 154 runs, had 341 hits and drove in 91 runs. His best year was his rookie year when he had 127 hits and batted .267 with 34 RBI. He set a Twins fielding record (.985) in 1977. He coached college baseball 18 years, the last seven at KU. In 2004 he returned to pro ball as a coach for the AAA Indianapolis Indians.
Steve Renko -- 1999
Kansas City, Kan., native Renko pitched for 15 years in the majors after an outstanding stint at the University of Kansas. His best season was 1973 when he posted a 15-11 record with a 2.81 earned-run average for Montreal. Renko also pitched for the Cubs, White Sox, Athletics, Red Sox and Angels and finished his career at Kansas City where he was 6-11 with a 4.30 ERA. In 1982, his 11-6 record helped the Angels claim the Western Division title in the American League.
Blane Rice -- 1993
Best known as having played in more games in the National Baseball Congress than any other player. An outfielder and catcher who played for the Roskum Brothers Real Estate team in the Victory League. He also played for the Coleman Lamplighters and the Cessna Bobcats in the NBC tournaments. A former teammate remembered him as a good hitter with a strong arm. He was born in 1913 and worked as a supervisor at the Cudahy meat packing plant.
Bob Rives -- 2016
As a Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame board member, historian and author Bob Rives is responsible for the research and nominations of most of the old-timers inducted into the Hall of Fame over the past decade. After serving in the United States Army in Korea, Rives began his career as a newspaper sportswriter. He has written about baseball for many publications. He has researched and written eight biographies for the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR), which include Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame members Bob Boyd, Archie McKain, Daryl Spencer and Joe Wilhoit. Rives, with his son Tim, also wrote a SABR Journal article, Pros vs. Cons: Federal Leaguers versus Federal Prisoners at Leavenworth. In 2004, Rives wrote Baseball in Wichita, which includes historical research, records and anecdotes about the city’s professional, semi-professional and minor league teams. The book also profiled Wichita State University’s rise to baseball prominence. Rives moved to Wichita in 1959. He is retired from business and from Wichita State, where he was an adjunct instructor.
Paul Roberts -- 2012
Paul Roberts began in baseball as a ten-year-old popcorn and peanut salesman at Island Park in Wichita in 1930. When Lawrence-Dumont Stadium opened in 1935, Paul worked the original National Baseball Congress World Series...and continued until 2008. During that time, he served as a chairback vendor, groundskeeper, concession stand worker and sky box attendee. But he is best remembered for tearing tickets for fans as they entered the front gate. Paul "retired" from ticket taking in 2000 and moved to Arkansas. But during his summer of retirement, Paul drove back and forth to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium for Wichita Wranglers games and the NBC World Series. After losing his wife, a former concessions worker, Paul returned to Wichita and to the front gate of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. He joined another longtime ticket taker, Betty Abbott, until the 2008 season, after which they both retired and got married. Paul is also an inductee in the NBC Hall of Fame.
Nate Robertson -- 2015
Robertson’s path to the major leagues began at Maize High School. Despite being drafted after his senior year, he went to Wichita State. After an honorable mention Freshman All-American season at WSU as a reliever, Robertson hurt his elbow and had “Tommy John” surgery. As a junior in 1999, he went 8-0 and was selected by Florida in the fifth round of the MLB draft. Robertson made his major league debut with the Marlins in 2002. He was traded to Detroit following the season and would have his greatest success with the Tigers, winning twelve games in 2004 and thirteen in 2006. He defeated Oakland in the 2006 American League Championship Series opener and took the loss in game three of the World Series, despite giving up only two St. Louis runs. Robertson finished his career with stops in Florida and Philadelphia. He won 47 games over a nine-year major league career. Robertson returned to Wichita and is part-owner of the Wichita Wingnuts of the independent American Association. His brother Josh serves as President/General Manager of the Wingnuts and brother Luke is the Wingnuts’ pitching coach.
Wilber "Bullett" Rogan -- 2011
Bullet Rogan was born in 1893 in Oklahoma City, but his family moved to Kansas City, Kansas where he began playing for a semipro team. Rogan served nine years in the U.S. Army and played on infantry teams. He joined the Kansas City Monarchs in 1920 and led them to the 1924 Black World Series championship. It is estimated that Rogan won more Negro Leagues games than any pitcher in history. Rogan died in 1967 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.
Gene Rogers -- 1993
A shortstop on the Boeing Bombers team that won back-to-back NBC World Series titles in 1954 and 1955. A native of Newton, Rogers was a starter in baseball and basketball at the University of Colorado and signed with the Cubs in 1951. He played on the Topeka team that won the Western League in 1951 but was forced to leave pro ball by a shoulder injury. He played in the NBC six years, one with Cessna and five with Boeing, including the 1953 team that was national runnerup.
Steve Ruud -- 2016
As a baseball fan and former player, Steve Ruud has given Wichita professional baseball since the Major League affiliated Wichita Wranglers left town in 2007. Ruud began as a minority owner as the independent Wichita Wingnuts began play in the 2008 season. Following the 2009 season, Ruud and his partners – which includes Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame member Nate Robertson – purchased outright ownership. Under their leadership, the Wingnuts won the 2014 American Association championship and have played in four of the last five championship series. Four current Major League players are former Wingnuts. Ruud grew up in Wichita and pitched in the semi-professional Victory League in the 1960s and 70s and pitched in thirteen National Baseball Congress World Series. Ruud owns Ruud Building Systems, a concrete and construction company in Wichita.
Bill Russell -- 1996
Born in Pittsburg, Kan., Russell broke into the majors in 1969 and played 18 seasons with the Dodgers. He played every infield position and compiled a .961 fielding average. He collected four World Series rings, capped in 1981 with a Series victory over the New York Yankees. The three-time all-star also helped the Dodgers win two other National League pennants and was manager of the Dodgers in 1996, 1997 and 1998. He appeared in 2,181 games and had a career batting average of .263.
Ray Sadecki -- 1989
Born in Kansas City, Kan., Sadecki broke into the majors at age 19 and had an 18-season career with the Cardinals, Giants, Mets, Braves, KC Royals and Brewers. His best season was 1964 when his 20-11 record lifted the Cards to an NL pennant and a World Series victory over the New York Yankees in seven games. He collected another World Series ring in 1973 pitching for the New York Mets in a loss to the Oakland A’s in seven games.
Dick Sanders -- 1969
Also in the Wichita Sports HOF - N.B.C. HOF - Shocker HOF
A 10-time performer in the NBC tournament and the MVP in 1964, Sanders led the Wichita Service Auto Glass to the NBC title. He led Wichita North High to mythical state titles in baseball and football in 1949. At Wichita U. he played football and basketball and was a slick-fielding Shocker shortstop. He had an eight-year run in the major leagues in the Yankees and Dodgers organizations. He was also a respected basketball and football official in the Missouri Valley and Big Eight for 20 years.
Paul Sanagorski -- 2009
He created the baseball program at Kansas Newman in 1978. By 1983 he had led the school to the NAIA World Series. He also developed the baseball facilities at Newman, led the program for 23 years, notching 766 victories. In 2000 the Miami Marlins hired him as hitting coach. He accepted and served mostly the Class AA Carolina Mudcats in the Marlins farm system and later worked for the Washington Nationals. His drive made Newman a highly respected program.
Paul Savage -- 2009
Paul Savage, a Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame Board of Director, founded the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame and Museum at 4700 E. Central and provides a home for the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame and the National Baseball Congress Hall of Fame. In 2009, the museum was judged to be one the top 10 baseball museums in America. Savage, a Hutchinson C.C. and Baylor University graduate, has been an official or football coach his entire adult life and he began a sports talk radio career in 2001.
Willard Schmidt -- 1989
The Hays, Kan., native broke into the majors in 1952 at age 23 and played seven years, five of them with the St. Louis Cardinals. He won 31 games and lost 29, posting an earned-run average of 3.93. His best season was 1957 when he won 10 and lost 3. He also pitched for the Cincinnati Reds in 1958 and 1959. He was the leading pitcher for the Omaha Cards in the American Association in 1951. In 1955 he also led the AA in ERA and had a 12-5 record and was re-called by St. Louis.
J. D. Schneider -- 2002
Schneider erected a dynasty in the NBC tournament with his El Dorado Broncos, as vice president and director of operations. He produced 17 top 10 finishes in the NBC World Series. He took over what was then the Hutchinson Broncos in 1987 and moved the team to Wichita and then to El Dorado. His teams won 73.9 percent of their games in the NBC in one stretch. They won the NBC World Series four times – 1989, 1990, 1996 and 1998. Schneider was inducteed into the N.B.C Hall of Fame in 2006.
Minor Scott -- 1985
Minor Scott was another of many stars who played for the NBC National Champion Boeing Bombers in 1954 and 1955 and are enshrined in the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame. He was a third baseman and an outstanding leadoff hitter for the Bombers. He was a former two spot star at Wichita High School East in basketball and baseball. Minor signed in 1943 as a 17 year old with Chattanooga, a farm team of the Washington Senators. He sandwiched seven (Class D to AA) of professional baseball around two years in the Army. In professional baseball he was on two pennant winners and in the Army after the war was over he played with the Manila Dodgers. The team was made up of Joe Garagiola, Jim Hearn, Kirby Higby, Earl Wynn and other major leaguers. He retired form baseball in 1951.
Ted Sheahon -- 1990
Sheahon was a native of Salina. He was the catcher for the Boeing Bombers from 1946 to 1949. He had an outstanding career in theater management, managing Wichita’s Orpheum and Palace theaters from 1941 to 1950. He later owned a construction firm and sat on the Historical Committee to Restore the Orpheum. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. WSU’s library has a collection of Sheahon’s documents in its Special Collections Department. He died in 1994.
Joe Slobko -- 2016
Garden City’s “Mr. Baseball,” Joe Slobko made Garden City Community College a premier baseball program through his competitive spirit and hard nose coaching. From 1976-97, Slobko’s Broncbusters were 820-340, winning three Region VI championships. His 1978 and 1980 teams were each ranked #2 in the final National Junior College Athletic Association polls. His 1981 team won a Jayhawk Conference record 60 games. Among the players Slobko coached at Garden City were Major Leaguers Ronn Reynolds and Brad Moore, NFL running back Corey Dillon and Kansas City Royals general Manager Dayton Moore. In his book More Than a Season: Building a Championship Culture, Moore wrote of Slobko: “…playing for Joe was one of the best things that happened to me in my life. He was a rough, tough throwback, but an unbelievable competitor. I wanted to win for Joe because he cared so much about competing and winning. I loved playing for him.”
Slobko, who taught psychology at Garden City Community College, also worked an associate scout for the Kansas City Royals and Cincinnati Reds.
Clay Smith -- 2000
He appeared in only 18 games in two stints in the major leagues but the Cambridge, Kan., native pitched in the 1940 World Series for Detroit. He broke into the majors in 1938 with Cleveland but played in only four games. In 1940 he was dealt to the Tigers and pitched in 14 games. In the World Series in Game 4 he gave up one earned run and bailed out Dizzy Trout in the fifth game. The Tigers lost in seven games to Cincinnati. He died in 2002 in Winfield and is buried in Cambridge Cemetery.
Ira Smith -- 1951
Ira Delos Smith played professional baseball for 15 years, 10 of them in the Redlegs and Cardinals systems. He began his baseball career in the Three I League in 1925 in Decatur, Ill. He also managed professional teams in Elmira, N. Y., Houston, Sacramento and Birmingham, Ala. He also managed and pitched in National Baseball Congress games as a member of Boeing Bombers teams. He was director of training at Boeing Co. from 1941 until his death in 1961 at the age of 56.
Art Solter -- 1948
Solter was famed for catching the first legal forward pass in college football history (December, 1905, vs. Washburn) as an end for Fairmont College (now Wichita State). He was an all-around athlete who also played baseball and ran track. He and his brother George organized and promoted early-day semi-pro baseball tournaments in Wichita. He was a member of the Kansas Old-Time Baseball Association, Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Assn., and Downtown Quarterback Club.
Hank Souter -- 1950
Henry “Hank” Souter signed with the Cardinals at the age of 17. His family say he played minor league baseball but have no records of the teams he played with. He was born in Parsons, Kan., in December, 1902, and died in March, 1983, at the age of 80. Souter worked train wrecks for the MK&T Railway. He was a big man at 6-2 and 200 pounds and played catcher and first base. He lived most of his life in Parsons, Kan. At the age of 65 he was still playing amateur baseball in Parsons.
Daryl Spencer -- 1971
Also in the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame - N.B.C. Hall of Fame
This Wichita East High School product was a standout in three realms – the major leagues, the Japanese professional league and the National Baseball Congress. He was a rare shortstop who could hit with power. He hit 105 home runs and drove in 428 runs in a 10-year major-league career with the Giants, Cards and Dodgers. He was an all-star in Japan for many years and was an NBC all-star infielder in 1953 and 1954 for the Boeing Bombers and again in 1963 with Grand Rapids, Mich.
Jerry Squires -- 1991
Born in Roosevelt, Okla., Squires moved to Wichita and attended Cathedral High School. He played semi-pro ball in the Victory League as an 11th grader. Played in the Cubs’ system at Pampa, Texas, in 1950 and the next year was called up by the Naval Reserve. Back home, he played semi-pro until 1953 with Blackwell, Okla., Arkansas City and for Nick Stevens’ team in the Victory League. He ran Squires service station near Central and Oliver for years. Member of KBA Board of Directors.
Mark Standiford -- 2005
An All-American in 1988, Standiford was a key figure in the Shockers return to the College World Series. He batted .374, hit 28 home runs and drove in 97 runs. The Shockers avenged two earlier losses to Oklahoma State by beating the No. 1-ranked Cowboys twice to win the regional tournament. That was the beginning of WSU’s becoming the dominant program in the Midwest. He also set the Shocker and Missouri Valley Conference records of 69 career home runs.
Hank Stelljes -- 1999
Born in Girard, Kan., Stelljes played first base and outfield in the Class D KOM League at Independence in the late 1940s. He came to Wichita in 1951 and played semi-pro ball for teams in Newton and Derby. He became involved in umpiring through the NBC and officiated NBC, college and high school games for almost 30 years.
Gene Stephenson -- 2015
In 1977, Wichita State hired Stephenson to revive a program that had been suspended for seven years. Making their debut in 1978, Stephenson’s Shockers would never have a losing season. In 1980, they made the College World Series and made the finals in 1982. In 1989, they won the College World Series, just twelve seasons after re-starting the program. Wichita State won 1837 games in Stephenson’s 36-year tenure, making him the third-winningest baseball coach in the history of NCAA Division I. Three times – 1982, 1989 and 1993 – he was named NCAA coach of the year. Under Stephenson, the Shockers made the NCAA tournament 27 times and made seven College World Series appearances. Stephenson coached 50 All-Americans at Wichita State, including national players of the year Joe Carter (1981) and Darren Dreifort (1993), as well as national pitcher of the year Bryan Oelkers (1983). An incredible 157 players signed professional contracts, including 34 who played in the major leagues. In addition to building the Shockers on the field, Stephenson raised funds to build and renovate Eck Stadium. Stephenson was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 and is also a member of the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame, Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, National Baseball Congress Hall of Fame and Guthrie, Oklahoma High School Hall of Fame.
Phil Stephenson -- 2007
Shocker, Professional Standout
In 1982, Stephenson was named Wichita State University’s second NCAA Player of the Year, one year after teammate Joe Carter won the honor. In 1981, Stephenson hit in a record 47 consecutive games. In 1982, he batted .399 with 30 doubles and 87 stolen bases. After a quarter of a century, many of his records still stand. He was a key figure along with Carter in helping his brother, Gene, coach of the Shockers, build the program to prominent national stature. He made his major league debut with the Cubs in 1989. The Cubs traded him to San Diego, where he played until 1992. Phil spent several years managing and coaching in the minor leagues, including a stint with the Wichita Wranglers and as baseball coach at Dodge City Community College.
Lee Stevens -- 2011
Lee Stevens was drafted out of Lawrence High School by the California Angels in the first round of the 1986 amateur draft (#22 overall). Four years later, he debuted with the Angels. After three seasons, Stevens went to Japan to play two seasons for the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes. Stevens returned to the U.S. and hit 20 or more home runs for five consecutive seasons, starting with the Texas in 1997 and ending in 2001 with Montreal. Stevens hit 144 home runs over ten major league seasons.
Nick Stevens -- 1993
There was hardly a sport involving a ball that Nick Stevens was not involved in during his 90 years. He was a star in football and basketball at Wichita North High and an end in football at Kansas State and Wichita U in the 1930s. He was also a champion golfer and handball player and a veteran sports referee. He and brother John formed semi-pro baseball teams stocked with some of Wichita’s finest players representing his vending machine company. Stevens died in Wichita in 2006.
Tom Sturdivant -- 1998
“Snake” won Game 4 in the Yankees’ 4 games to 3 victory over the Dodgers in the 1956 World Series. That was also the year of Don Larsen’s perfect World Series game. He earned another World Series ring with the Yankees in 1957 when he had his best season of 16 wins, 6 losses. He earned a total of 59 wins and lost 51 while saving 17 games. He had a strong strikeouts-to base on balls ratio (704 to 449) and a career earned-run average of 3.74. He was born in Gordon, Kan.
George Sweatt -- 2011
Born in the same town as Walter Johnson, George Sweatt was the first African-American to letter in a sport at Pittsburg State. He graduated and taught in a segregated school in Coffeyville, while he played seven seasons in the Negro Leagues. Sweatt played for the Kansas City Monarchs and Chicago American Giants. He was one of only two players to appear in all four Negro World Series. Following his death in 1983, the George A. Sweatt Park was dedicated in Humboldt.
Bob Swift -- 1988
Born in Salina, Kan., in 1915, Swift broke into the majors in 1940 and had a 14-year career as a catcher with the St. Louis Browns, Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia A’s. His best year was his rookie season with the Browns when he hit .259 and drove in 39 runs. In 4,142 chances committed only 64 errors for an amazing .985 career fielding average. Twice he was acting manager of the Tigers when Chuck Dressen became ill. He also managed in the minor leagues for the KC A’s, Tigers and Senators.
Luther Taylor -- 2006
Taylor overcame the handicap of being a deaf mute to become a part of one of the greatest pitching rotations of all time. A product of the Kansas School for the Deaf, he was part of the three-man rotation of Christy Mathewson and Fred McGinnity for the New York Giants from 1900 to 1908. He had a 117-103 won-lost record, including 75-34 in his last five years. He had 21 shutouts and a 2.75 ERA. He retired from pro ball in 1914 and became director of athletics at the Kansas School for the Deaf.
Floyd Temple -- 1966
Kansas University’s all-time winningest baseball coach was Floyd Temple, who ran the program from 1954 to 1981. He amassed 437 victories, lost 396 and tied 7. A native of Coffeyville, Kan., Temple retired from the University of Kansas in 1992. He was well known in the semi-pro circles of Western Canada baseball where he coached and managed during the summer months. He was also the third baseman on the 1949 Kansas U. team which won the Big Eight championship.
Ralph Terry -- 1994
Pitched in five World Series for the Yankees and was MVP in 1962, nailing down the title with a 1-0 shutout victory in Game 7 over the San Francisco Giants. In 12 seasons in the majors, Terry won 107 games and lost 99 with a 3.62 ERA. He also had a better than 2-1 ratio of strikeouts (1,000) to bases on balls (446). He was also an outstanding golfer, trying the pro tour for a while, and became club pro at Larned Country Club. He also tried the Senior Pro Tour.
Andy Teter -- 1979
Teter played outfield or managed in 18 national NBC tournaments. He was a member of the Boeing national championship teams of 1954 and 1955. He also played for Cessna, Service Auto Glass, Weller Indians, Instant Auto Glass and Bob Moore Oldsmobile. Teter also played four years in the Boston Red Sox organization in the Ohio State, Piedmont and Sooner State leagues. In the Sooner State he played at Paul’s Valley under Red Phillips, who also managed many of the great Boeing teams.
Jug Thesenga -- 1982
Nicknamed “Jug” for his wicked curve ball, he had a “cup of coffee” in the majors, playing five games for the Senators in 1944. He also had a distinguished career with Sioux City (Western League), Waterloo (Triple I), Durham, N.C., (Piedmont) and Texarkana (East Texas). Then he played semipro and was player/manager of the Cessna Bobcats. With Enid, Okla., in 1941 he was named outstanding pitcher in and set a record for most games (14) won by a pitcher in NBC tournament action.
Glen Thomas -- 1944
Thomas was born in 1889 in Waterville, Kan., and came to Wichita in 1916 after completing his degree in architecture at the University of Illinois. He also played infield on Wichita’s team in the Western League. He played semi-pro ball in Wichita for a number of years. In 1919, he established an architectural firm. One of his most notable efforts was designing the building for North High School. He was a member of the planning commissions of both the city and the county.
Jim Thomas -- 2004
Thomas is assistant coach at Wichita State University and has been on the staff since 1992. He helped lead the Shockers to their first College World Series appearance in 1982 as he stole 60 bases and drove in 57 runs. He was an All-America second baseman in 1981 and 1982. He posted a career .351 batting average and stole 158 bases. Thomas also played professionally nine years with the Houston Astros and California Angels organization, rising to the triple A level with both organizations.
Bob Thurman -- 1987
Wichita native broke into the majors in 1955 at the advanced age of 38 and played five years for the Cincinnati Reds. The left-handed outfielder was 42 years old in his final year in the majors. He had banged around in the minors from Omaha of the American Association to San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League. In 1957, he tied a record by hitting 16 homers with fewer than 200 at-bats. He also had 40 runs batted in that season. He died in Wichita in 1998 at the age of 81.
Joe Tinker -- 1946
Born in Muscotah, Kan., in 1880, Tinker played 15 years in the majors and was famous as a member of the record-setting double-play trio of Tinker to Evers to Chance. He helped the Cubs win back-to-back World Series in 1907 and 1908 after they lost to the White Sox in the 1906 Series. Tinker was involved in 671 double plays in his major-league career. He had 1,687 hits and drove in 782 runs while posting a .285 lifetime batting average. He also played for the Chicago Whales and Cincinnati Reds.
Mike Torrez -- 2006
Topeka-born Mike Torrez was signed in 1964 by the St. Louis Cardinals and had an 18-year Major-league career playing for seven different clubs. His best year was 1975 when he went 20-9 with a 3.06 ERA and led Baltimore to a second place finish in the AL East. He pitched two complete games and won both games for the Yankees in the 1977 World Series. Torrez won 185 and lost 160 in the Majors. After baseball, he became head of a Naperville, Ill., sports apparel company.
George Trombold -- 1986
Trombold hit .402 playing first base for Wichita Civic state NBC champs in 1939 and was named to all-tournament team. Started with Kansas University in the Big Six Conference for three years and coached the freshman basketball team at KU his senior year. Played with the Lawrence Green Brothers semi-pro team. Also managed the Lawrence Ban Johnson team.
Marvin Truby -- 2013
The first professional night game was played in Independence, Kansas, thanks to Marvin Truby. Truby personally advocated $8000 so lights could be purchased and installed at Riverside Park for his Independence Producers, in time for the 1930 season. On April 17, 1930 the Producers beat the House of David 9-1 in front of 1700 fans in an exhibition game under the lights. On April 28, the Producers were beaten by the Muskogee Indians 13-3 in the first professional game played under lights. It was witnessed by 1500 fans. Night baseball solved lagging attendance problems and was considered a savior of minor league baseball.
Jim Upchurch -- 1987
Upchurch was born July, 24, 1928, in Bardstown, Ill. He died January 22, 1996, in Wichita at age 67. In 1948 he was playing professional baseball, pitching for Aberdeen, S. Dak. He had a record of 10-10 and an earned-run average of 3.41. The left-hander helped the Boeing Bombers win back-to-back NBC National championship tournaments in 1954 and 1955 and the Global Championship in Milwaukee in 1955.
Joseph "Arky" Vaughan -- 2011
Arky Vaughan began his professional career in Wichita at the age of 19 with the 1931 Wichita Aviators. It would be his only minor league season. The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Vaughan in 1932. Over the next ten years, he was an eight-time all-star and led the majors in hitting in 1935, with a .385 average. Vaughan also played four seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1952, he drowned while fishing with a friend. In 1985, Vaughan was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Mike Warren -- 2015
Born in El Dorado, Warren made his first impact on Kansas baseball after his family moved to Winfield, where his father started the Winfield High School baseball program in 1971. A year later, the Warrens led the Vikings to the 5-4-3A championship. Mike Warren went on to Emporia State, where he helped the Hornets to a third place finish at the NAIA World Series as a junior. In both his junior and senior seasons, Warren was a second-team All-American as a second baseman. His coaching career began with stints at Pratt and Dodge City community colleges. Warren moved to Barton in 1984. He would coach the Cougars to 904 wins over the next 30 seasons, finishing with a total of 1001 career wins. Under Warren, Barton won five division championships and he was Jayhawk Western Conference coach of the year four times. Four of Warren’s players made the major leagues. Nearly fifty former players have become coaches. Warren was instrumental in getting a new baseball facility built at Barton. He also led the formation of the Jayhawk Conference Baseball Coaches Association and developed the annual Region VI East/West All-Star game.
Royce Washborn -- 1946
This second baseman helped the Wichita Witches win Western League in 1921 as he led the league with 170 runs scored. In 1924 with the Tulsa Oilers, he led the league in home runs with 48, a rare show of power hitting for an infielder. He also played in the Cincinnati Reds farm system at Dubuque, Iowa, and at Tulsa in the Western and Texas leagues. He was named to the all-time Tulsa Oilers team in 1924 as a second baseman.
Jerry Webster -- 2013
One of the top athletes to ever play at Mulvane High School, Jerry Webster began playing semiprofessional baseball as a teenager for some of Wichita’s top teams. Webster played for the Joyland Giants, Boeing BoJets and Boeing Bombers while he attended college in the late 1950s. Webster signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and played in their organization until leaving to continue his education. It was during this time that Webster played for the 1962 and 1963 National Baseball Congress World Series champion Rapid Transit Dreamliners and the 1964 champion, Service Auto Glass. Webster died in 2013 at the age of 74.
Mitch Webster -- 2006
This Larned, Kan., native played for six teams during a 13-year, major-league career. The best year at the plate for the switch-hitter was 1986 when he batted .290 for the Expos. His four most productive seasons were with the Expos. He also played for the Blue Jays, Indians, Cubs and Pirates and spent his last five seasons with the Dodgers. He appeared in 1,265 games and had a career batting average of .263 with 342 runs batted in.
Hugo Wedell -- 1960
Kansas Supreme Court Justice
This highly accomplished jurist was a native of Chanute, Kan., who rose to a position on the Kansas Supreme Court. He played in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system and later managed several minor league and semi-pro teams, including one in Wichita. He was born in 1890 and attended the University of Kansas, which honored him with a Distinguished Service Citation in 1950. He was appointed an associate justice of the Kansas Supreme Court in 1935 and served until 1955.
Eric Wedge – 2014
Wedge led Wichita State to the College World Series championship in 1989.
As an All-American catcher, he was drafted by Boston and played with the Red
Sox and Colorado Rockies. Wedge went on to manage the Cleveland Indians andSeattle Mariners
John Weitzel -- 2012
John Weitzel was a small business owner who sponsored Victory League teams in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Originally from LaCrosse, Weitzel owned machine shops in Wichita, Attica and LaCrosse. For more than twenty years, the John Weitzel Cowboys were a fixture in the Victory League. Several teams advanced to the National Baseball Congress World Series, including the 1958 Kansas State Champion team. In addition to offering opportunity on the field, players would often work in Weitzel's machine shops. Weitzel also embraced diversity. His final Cowboy team in 1971 was managed by former Negro League great Frank Evans. Weitzel died in 1973 and is buried in LaCrosse.
Bert Wells -- 1978
Wells began scouting the NBC Tournament in 1939 when it was the state tourney. He spent one season scouting for the St. Louis Browns. In 1940 he went to work for the Dodgers and remained with them until his death in 1979. He probably signed more NBC players than any other scout. Wells was the Dodgers’ supervisor of scouts in an area of the Midwest that covered several states. He was born in Iowa but moved to Kansas and lived many years in Larned.
Dick Whitworth -- 2011
Once called the “greatest pitcher in the world” by Rube Foster, Dick Whitworth was the idol of Chicago American Giants’ fans in the late 1910’s. Whitworth was born in St. Louis in 1895 and began pitching for a semipro team made mostly of teenagers in Kansas City, Kansas in 1911. The tall righthander made his Negro Leagues debut in 1915 for the Chicago American Giants and lasted nine years in the Negro Leagues. He died in St. Louis in 1966.
Frank Wickware -- 2011
Born in Coffeyville in 1888, Frank Wickware was a star right-handed pitcher and gate attraction, prompting him to move from team to team to cash in on his success. From 1910-25, he played for 16 teams and also served in World War I. Often called “the black Walter Johnson,” Wickware beat Johnson in two of three exhibitions in 1913 and 1914. After leaving baseball, he lived in Schenectady, New York where he died in 1967.
Joe Wilhoit -- 2009
Wichita outfielder Joe Wilhoit batted safely in 69 consecutive games in 1919 in the Class AA Western League, still an alltime record. Yes, that was 13 more games and 22 years before Joe DiMaggio hit safely in 56 games to set the major league record in 1941. Wilhoit's feat came after four years in the big leagues where he displayed great speed and defense. He was sent down to Wichita to cure a hitting slump, and did he ever! He batted .515 during the streak, .442 for the season.
Claude Willoughby -- 1943
“Weeping Willie” was born in Buffalo, Kan., in 1898 and broke into the majors at age 26 in 1925. He played seven years in the majors, six of them as a righthanded pitcher for the Phillies. His best year was 1929 when he won 15 and lost 14. During his stint with the Phils, the team usually finished in last place. In 1931, his last in the majors, he played for the Pirates. After his playing days were over, he returned to Kansas. He died in McPherson in 1973.
Duane Wilson -- 2004
Born in Wichita in 1934, Wilson broke into pro ball in 1952 and played eight years, including a short stint with the Red Sox as a left-handed pitcher. He was a member of the Minneapolis Millers’ Little World Series champs in 1958. He played for seven minor league clubs, including Louisville and Oklahoma City. In 1959 he returned to Wichita, entered the banking business and played semi-pro ball. Then he launched a softball career and was named to the Kansas Softball Hall of Fame in 1991.
Chris Wimmer -- 2012
One of the top players in Greater Wichita Athletic League history, Chris Wimmer hit .533 as a senior at East High in 1989. He led the Blue Aces to a 23-2 record and a state runner-up finish. Following his senior season, the Boston Red Sox drafted Wimmer in the 12th round of the MLB draft. Instead of signing with the Red Sox, Wimmer enrolled at Wichita State, where infielders P.J. Forbes, Mike Lansing and Pat Meares forced him to the outfield. Wimmer responded by hitting .322 with 30 stolen bases and was named a Freshman All-American. As a sophomore in 1991, Wimmer moved to second base and hit .401 with an NCAA-leading 125 hits and an NCAA-leading 99 runs. He helped the Shockers to a runner-up finish in the College World Series and was named second team All-American. Following the 1991 season, Wimmer was selected to play in the Pan-American games in Havana, Cuba. He hit .385 for a USA team that won the bronze medal. In 1992, Wimmer hit .366 with 52 steals and was again named an All-American. Along with teammate Darren Dreifort, Wimmer was named to Team USA and played in the Olympic games in Barcelona, Spain. Also during the summer of 1992, Wimmer was drafted by San Francisco in the eighth round of the MLB Draft. He signed with the Giants and reached the AAA level. As of his induction, Wimmer serves as a scout for the Detroit Tigers.
Ralph Winegarner -- 1965
Born in Benton, Kan., Winegarner had a long career in the minor leagues. He had a four-year stint as a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians (1932-36) and made a comeback after 13 years as a reliever for the St. Louis Browns in 1949. He managed the Wichita Indians in 1952. He also coached in the Browns system for four years. He appeared in 70 games and had an 8-6 won-lost record. He died in Wichita in 1988 and is buried in Benton.
"Smoky" Joe Wood -- 1943
“Smoky Joe” had a blazing fastball. He spent his early life in Ness City, Kan., and played his first professional ball in Hutchinson. Walter “Big Train” Johnson once said “. . . no man alive can throw any harder than Smoky Joe Wood.” He signed with the Red Sox in 1908 at age 19 and won a league-leading 34 games in 1912. His lifetime figures are 116 games won, 57 lost with a brilliant earned-run average of 2.03. An injury forced him to play in the outfield at Cleveland in his last three seasons.
Dick Young -- 1943
Young was born Aug. 9, 1899, in Wichita and was active in local semi-pro baseball circles for many years. He was a prominent businessman, listed among Wichita’s Who’s Who of 1929. He owned a sheet metal and furnace repair company. He was a member of the Exchange Club and was a Scottish Rite Mason. His wife VeNora taught at Allison school until 1928.
T. J. Young -- 2011
Thomas Jefferson Young was a catcher with a strong arm and powerful left-handed bat. Born in Wichita in 1906, Young broke into professional baseball in 1924 with the Wichita Monrovians. The next season saw him join the Kansas City Monarchs to begin a 16-year career in the Negro Leagues. Young also played with the St. Louis Stars, Homestead Grays, Pittsburgh Crawfords, New York Cubans and Newark Eagles, finishing his career in 1941.
1954-55 Boeing Bombers -- 2013
Loaded with professional players, the Boeing Bombers dominated the National Baseball Congress World Series in 1954 and 1955. Following their 1955 NBC championship, the Bombers represented the US in the eight-team Global World Series in Milwaukee’s County Stadium. They beat teams from Mexico, Colombia, Canada and won the championship with a 7-4, 11-inning victory over a team from Hawaii. Wichita native and major leaguer Daryl Spencer was named Global World Series MVP. Most members of the Bombers worked at Boeing, assembling B-47E Stratojets and B-52 Stratofortress bombers. The team was managed by Cy Eppler.
1907 Wichita Jobbers – 2014
The 1907 Wichita Jobbers are considered one of the top minor league teams of
all time. The team won the Western Association championship with a 98-35
record. Clyde "Deerfoot" Milan was one of nine members of the Jobbers who
played in the major leagues. Milan spent 30 years with Washington as a
player and coach.