Old Frank was probably watching when Kansas State last won a conference title in baseball. It was 1933, and Franklin D. Roosevelt was only two months into his first term as President. Now, in 2013, the Wildcats finally got around to making it happen again.
It has been an amazing year for the thrifty Kansas State Athletic Department. The Wildcats also won titles in men’s basketball (a tie with Kansas) and in football (a tie with Oklahoma). A rarity? Consider this: only Texas has ever done it in the Big 12 and, of BCS schools since that era started in 1998, only Louisville and Stanford can join hands with Kansas State and Texas. Folks, it’s like a meteor that passes by once every century or so. Rare indeed.
The last time the Wildcats won a hoops title, Jimmy Carter had just come off the peanut ranch to be the U.S. President and this country was getting ready to experience the biggest upswing in inflation in its history.
This year Kansas State started selling beer at their baseball games. About the same time that the Cats were winning that conference baseball title in 1933, Roosevelt was guiding the passing of the Cullen-Harrison Act through Congress, allowing the sale of some beer in the country, some eight months before the full repeal of Prohibition. So, blow the foam off the top of your mug and have a drink. It’s been a long dry spell!
The remarkable thing about this achievement is that Kansas State has done this with an athletic budget that ranks in the lower half of Big 12 schools. Is it sustainable? Probably not, but that doesn’t take away from the significance of this achievement. As we’ve all seen from watching the U.S. Congress, you can’t always fix things by simply throwing money at it. Sometimes a little thinking, a little planning and some simple hard work pays bigger dividends.
• Chalk Talk
By the time you read this, Wichita State’s baseball team may have already made an early exit out of the MVC baseball tournament, having lost their opening-round game and tumbling into the losers bracket. That may very well be the final blow in sealing the end of the Gene Stephenson era of baseball at Wichita State. … In retrospect, don’t most Big 12 fans wish the league would have nabbed Louisville instead of West Virginia? Better basketball, better football and closer proximity. Louisville won three conference titles this year in their final year in the Big East as they head for the ACC. … The greatest sporting event in Kansas takes place this weekend in Wichita as the all-classes State Track and Field Championships unfold at Cessna Stadium. Most every school in the Golden Belt has participants, and the weather looks great. If you’ve never witnessed this event, this would be a perfect time to do so. … If the Royals could stay away from the brooms (they’ve been swept twice in recent weeks), they might be able to stay in the thick of the pennant chase in the AL Central. Three-game sweeps by the Yankees and A’s left our Boys in Blue reeling and dropped them down to the .500 mark. Sports Illustrated picks the Royals to win the AL Central for what that’s worth. These are the same dudes that told us the Chiefs would win the AFC West in 2012. … As we reflect on what Kansas State accomplished in the Big 12 this year remember these words from Zig Ziglar: “The difference between a big shot and a little shot is that a big shot’s just a little shot that kept on shooting!”
Charles Tabler is a contributing writer from Larned.