Monday, March 23, 2009

Texas Leaguer

Tom came through with another minor league giant bat. This one is also a Texas Leaguer.

In 1919, Billy Smith managed the Shreveport Gassers to a 81-64 record, good for 3rd place. But they must have stepped up their game in the post season, taking home the league championship and inspiring this giant bat. The Texas League was Class B at the time.

In 1942, the Shreveport club was called the Sports. Currently, the town boasts the independent Captains.

3B/Manager Salty Parker was not deterred when the club finished 2nd at 83-61. They brought home their first title in 23 years, winning the Texas League crown, long a class A circuit, despite Dick Wakefield of the Beaumont Exporters winning Player of the Year honors.

Salty, a baseball lifer, managed at many levels of ball from 1939 to 1976, including 12 big league games. He's the only undefeated Houston major league manager (1-0), and is a member of the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame. More.

Joe Vitter, left, a 31-year-old OF in the middle of a 16-season minor league career, hit .220 with five homers.

Jerry Bozeman, went on to found the town of Bozeman, MT ... OK, that's not true.

The team and the league shut down before the next season for the duration of WWII.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Big Bat, Little Clown

Jerry Witte clowns around before a 1952 game at Buff Stadium in Houston. Witte had been the 1946 American Association MVP with Toledo. Here he is in 2001, and here's his book.

The Houston Buffaloes or Buffs were a minor league baseball team in the Texas League from 1907-58 (excluding 1943-45, when the league suspended operations during World War II) and in the American Association from 1959-61. The team's home was Buff Stadium, built in 1928. From 1921-58, the Buffaloes were a farm team of the St. Louis Cardinals at the Class A, A1 and AA levels.

Thanks to houston_buff for the giant baseball bat photo and Tom for finding it.