Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 1, January, 1992 Page: 17
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Home Games Tuesday and Friday Nights: Five Years of the Herder Truckers
In 1950, the team won 36 games and lost only 12. The team had a batting
average of .308. Baker led all hitters with his .400, but Brock was not far behind at .386.
Brock had a team leading 43 runs batted in and Segrist led the team with seven home
runs. Segrist hit .368, Tompkins .347, and Whitley .327. Kana led all pitchers with a
10-1 record. Hand was 7-2, McGee 7-3, and Womack 7-4.
Bigham, Hand, Baker, Burrows, Womack, and the two Kanas all returned for
the 1951 season. Also on hand were infielder Joe Tanner, pitcher Luther Scarborough,
and outfielder Travis Eckert of the University of Texas, second baseman Hal Haynes and
outfielder Tom Ballinger of SMU, pitcher Melvin Work of Texas A & M, and Ohio State
pitcher Harry Northrup. Allen Winters, after missing the 1950 season, returned to do
the bulk of the catching and also took over for Miksch as manager.
But the team got off to a very slow start, losing seven of their first eleven
games. And though they began to win with more regularity, when they dropped
consecutive games to Columbus and Sinton in early July, the Truckers were a mere
11-11. Desperate for offense, Brock was recruited to play on weekends only. The
following week, Kneuper, who had posted a .270 average in 71 games for Grand Rapids
of the Central League, left to return to the Truckers. The team won eleven of its next
thirteen games, including an 8-3 victory over Alpine in Weimar in which Kneuper hit a
three run homer.
There was a memorable game on July 19 in La Grange. The Truckers beat
the Demons, 9-5, with six runs in the top of the ninth. Several arguments punctuated
the game, prompting the La Grange newspapers to criticize the umpires and to call the
Weimar team a "high-priced high-powered and widely ballyhooed collection of college
stars."13 Notwithstanding the truth of the remark, this characterization of the Truckers
was widely regarded as a grievous and uncalled for insult, for it implied that the Weimar
fans had no real cause to celebrate their team's victories.
On July 24 in Weimar, the Truckers scored 15 runs in their last five times
at bat and beat Conroe, 16-11. The game was memorable because Conroe's aging
manager, Ty Cobb, unwilling to squander any more pitchers, took the mound himself and
got the last out. On August 4, the Truckers finally won a game in Alpine. Riley Verdine,
who had just jumped from the Columbus Redbirds, pitched a complete game and Haynes
went four for four as the Truckers won, 9-2. But the next day, the Cowboys routed Hand
and two pitchers picked up from Fort Sam Houston and beat the Truckers, 20-3.
The first week in August, the Columbus Redbirds definitely established
themselves as the Trucker's number one rival. On August 3, with an overpowering new
pitcher named Mike Blyzka on the mound, the Truckers beat the Redbirds, 3-1. Blyzka
was set to go again, against Conroe on the following Tuesday, but the Wildcats folded
over the weekend. The Truckers quickly scheduled another game with the Redbirds, and
Blyzka beat them again, 10-4. Because the matchup with Columbus always attracted
the most fans, both teams looked more and more to schedule the other. The Truckers
ended up playing the Redbirds twelve times that year and thirteen times the next.
On July 28, a tragedy marred the season. Forty-two year old Willie Bartosh,
a former citizen of Weimar, was watching the Truckers game with the Fort Bend Jaybirds
in Rosenburg when he had a heart attack and died. But August 4 was a happier occasion.
On that day, third baseman Frank Kana married Bernice Marie Vacek.
The Truckers beat Columbus eight times that season, but lost the most
important game between the two squads. After Verdine had pitched a two-hit shutout
13 La Grange Journal, July 26, 1951
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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/m1/17/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.