Take heart Royals fans, though your Boys in Blue are struggling, (21-40 as of mid-week), it could be worse. They could be in another division. The AL Central is the weakest division in major league baseball and, thus, the Royals are only 10 ½ games out of first and the playoffs!
Only fifteen years ago in 2003, fellow Central Division member Detroit, had one of the worst seasons of all-time, finishing 43-119 for a .235 winning percentage. That set a new American League record for losses in a season. Remember, those Tigers DID rebuild and only 3 years later were in the World Series, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals. There’s always hope!
Speaking of Kansas City, a lot of folks forget that New York Yankee World Series hero Ralph Terry, who currently lives in Larned, Kansas, had a couple of stints with Kansas City in his career. Of course they were the Kansas City Athletics in those days.
In 1957, Terry had 19 starts for the Athletics. In 1958 he was a workhorse and finished 11-13 in 40 games, including 33 starts. In 1959, he started 2-4 but was traded to the New York Yankees where he went on to stardom. Again in 1966, he was traded to Kansas City where he started 15 games. The Athletics played t heir games in the old Memorial Stadium. It would be a great thing to see Terry throw out the first pitch at a Royals’ celebration in honor of his time in Kansas City.
“I AM CONVINCED THAT EVERY BOY, IN HIS HEART, WOULD RATHER STEAL SECOND BASE THAN AN AUTOMOBILE.”—Comedian Tom Clark.
Baseball has a long and storied past in the Larned-Great Bend communities. In 1930, the Larned Town team was known as the Midland Bearcats as they were sponsored by Midland Life Insurance. The ceremonial first pitch of the season was made with a fifty-year-old baseball cut from a bootleg and stitched with home-tanned squirrel skin around a rubber core wrapped in twine and yarn. The story was later featured in RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT, prompting a letter to Ed Casey, the ball’s owner, from Babe Ruth asking, “Can you prove it, and what’s the price?”
This story was gleaned from KANSAS BASEBALL, 1858-1941 by MARK E. EBERLE. If you are a Kansan and a baseball fan, it is must reading!
Minor league baseball provides us not only a ton of baseball excitement but some of the greatest mascots and names. I am a fan of players and teams names. How would you like to play for the NEW ORLEANS BABY CAKES? I can imagine being the catcher for the Lehigh Valley (Pa) IRON PIGS! Pensacola, Florida, has a team called the BLUE WAHOOS, do you suppose they have a bunch of YAHOOS for fans? Not to be outdone, Jacksonville , Florida, countered with the JUMBO SHRIMP. Do you suppose they’ve got any home run hitters? In New Hampshire, they’ve named their team the FISHER CATS, which leads us back to Great Bend and the BAT CATS. What a great name!
“BASEBALL IS A GAME WHERE A CURVE IS AN OPTICAL ILLUSION, A SCREWBALL CAN BE A PITCH OR A PERSON, STEALING IS LEGAL AND YOU CAN SPIT ANYWHERE YOU LIKE EXCEPT IN THE UMPIRE’S EYE OR ON THE BALL.”—Jim Murray
Buddy Tabler is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and his views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. He can be reached at email@example.com.