Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 1, January, 1992 Page: 11
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Home Games Tuesday and Friday Nights: Five Years of the Herder Truckers
the team was eager to accept. But they had already accepted a bid to play again in the
Houston Post Tournament, with a first prize of about $4000, and the tournaments over-
The youthful Truckers decided to play in both, and began a series of trips
back and forth between Wichita, Houston, and Weimar. With Gorin added to their roster,
the Truckers strongly resembled the Texas team which had won the national collegiate
title in the same city a month earlier, and the Wichita fans avidly backed them. In their
first tournament game, on August 20, they beat the Weiser (Idaho) Prospectors, 2-1,
behind the pitching of Wall. Fans in Weimar could not get the game on the radio, so they
collected $42 to pay for a direct Western Union wire for the duration of the game. As
the reports came in, Grady Little typed them up and handed them over to Laure Brasher.
Brasher announced the game over loudspeakers set up around the town square by Jim
Hluchanek. Fans sat on the grass and sidewalks or in their cars, roundly cheering
favorable developments. They exploded when Kneuper launched a home run in the
second and when Brock's fourth inning RBI triple gave the Truckers the lead for good.
Two days later, with Brasher again at the microphone back home, the
Truckers rode the pitching of Kana to a major upset, beating the Mount Vernon
(Washington) Milkmaids, 4-1. Wichita newspapers began writing excitedly about the
team from the Texas "hamlet" of 1300 people that was outplaying everyone. But the
Truckers hardly had time to read the papers. Immediately after their victory over Mount
Vernon, they piled into automobiles and drove to Houston, where they opened the Post
Tournament the next night. Ehrler struck out sixteen and pitched a shutout to give the
Truckers a 9-0 win over the Diboll Millers. They won twice more in Houston, beating
Livingston, 6-2, and Victoria, with Womack pitching a twelve inning complete game,
2-1. Then it was time to go back to Wichita. The night after beating Victoria in Houston,
they played the two time defending national champion Fort Wayne (Indiana) Voltmen,
and lost 4-2. Wall started but gave up five hits and all four runs in the first inning. Kana
relieved him with only one out and held the Voltmen scoreless the rest of the way, but
his teammates could not score enough to get him a win.
Two nights later, on the last day of August, Ehrler kept the Truckers alive
with a two-hit shutout of the Sycamore (Illinois) Sons. The next night, Gorin went to
the mound for the Truckers and pitched another two-hit shutout, this one over the
Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Falks. But the Weimar team was eliminated on September 3, as
Golden (Colorado) Coors outscored them, 13-11. The Truckers scored eight runs in the
first three innings, but, after a rain delay, Coors came back off Wall, Kana, and Gorin to
get the win.
Fort Wayne went on to defeat Golden to win its third straight national
semipro title and the $10,000 prize, while the Truckers had to settle for fourth and
$1587.12.11 With a mileage rebate thrown in, the Weimar team came away with
the Bismarck team. At first, the tournament's backers regarded the black players as a gate attraction. But
players like Paige and Smith were certainly of major league quality and probably could have been major league
All Stars. Naturally, such players had little trouble dominating a semipro tournament. Though they may not
have admitted that such players belonged in the major leagues, NBC officials shortly came to the realization
that they certainly did not belong in the semipro ranks, and, in 1938, they reached an informal, unwritten
agreement, banning blacks from the tournament. This ban, of course, was forgotten after blacks were
admitted to the National and then the American League. For other information about early tournaments, see
1950 Official Baseball Annual (Wichita, Kansas: National Baseball Congress of America, 1950).
11 The Truckers actually tied for fourth with the Tuscaloosa (Alabama) Indians and the Bellingham
(Washington) Bells. The Elk City (Oklahoma) Elks finished third. There were 28 teams in the 1949 tournament.
See 1950 Official Baseball Annual.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 1, January, 1992, periodical, January 1992; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151384/m1/11/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.