Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 1, January, 1992 Page: 19
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Home Games Tuesday and Friday Nights: Five Years of the Herder Truckers
on Dick Mulligan to win, 6-0. They beat the Redbirds, 4-2, in Weimar three nights later,
again with Scarborough on the mound. In Victoria on August 21, Fort Sam Houston hung
the Truckers with their first loss of the tournament and ended their 15 game winning
Back in Weimar on the 26th, Kneuper hit a home run in the bottom of the
eleventh to beat the Rangers, 3-2. Kneuper homered again and the Truckers won again,
4-0, over Victoria in Victoria on August 29. Bechtel pitched the two-hit shutout. But
in the final game of the tournament, and, as it turned out, the final game in their history,
the Truckers lost to the Redbirds, 3-2, in Columbus on August 30. The result meant that
both Weimar and Columbus had gone 4-2 in the tournament and tied for first.
The Truckers had been an integral part of the community in their five years
of existence. The players were carried on the payrolls of local businesses including Hill
Bank & Trust, the First State Bank, Brasher Motor Company, M-G Feeds, and, of course,
Herder Truck Lines. Officially, the players worked for these businesses and played ball
for the local town team in their spare time. In reality, most of them were full time ball
players who only rarely performed minor chores for their nominal employers. Murray
Wall, for instance, who "worked" for Brasher Motor Company, was photographed
behind the wheel of a new convertible for a newspaper advertisement. Frank Kana, as
an employee of one of the banks, would sometimes ride out with another bank employee
to repossess a car.'7
Players generally received between $200 and $300 a month, depending on
whether they were married or not. Some got less; one or two were rumored to have
gotten much more. In addition, the prize money that the team won in tournaments was
divided among the players at the end of the season. For example, in 1949, Jiggs Kana
got $275.81 for the Houston Post Tournament, $71.43 for the Houston Buff game,
$11 6.13 for the state tournament, and $165.66 for the national tournament, for a total
of $629.03. And, there were impromptu bonuses, as fans pulled money from their wal-
lets to reward players for specific hits, runs, defensive plays, etc. Weimar clothier
Mannie Lauterstein regularly rewarded players with new shoes. In one case, Davis
Gindler gave Kana a pair of pants for winning a game.
The team was operated by the Weimar Recreation Commission. The
Commission's financial statements (see Appendix C) show profits of more than $11,000
in 1948 and more than $8000 in 1949. These statements, of course, exclude the
players' salaries that were paid by Weimar's business community. Those salaries were
carried on each business' own statements. But they also exclude the team's tournament
winnings. Had both been factored in, the team would very likely have been near the break
even point in 1948 and have made money in 1949.'18
17 These financial arrangements were by no means a well kept secret. The Weimar Mercury freely
reported commitments made by players to the Truckers, invariably stating that they had "signed" with the
team rather than that they had gotten jobs in Weimar and would likely play for the local semipro team.
18 Based on an average salary of $250 a month for 15 players for four months, a semipro team's
total salaries would amount to $15,000. In 1949, the Truckers posted a profit of $8428.96 (see Appendix
C), and won $2500.00 in the state tournament, $4040.00 in the Post tournament, and $1828.63 in the
national tournament, for a total of $16,797.59. Extrapolating from the amounts known to have been awarded
to Jiggs Kana at the end of the year, we can also estimate that the team netted about $1000 for the Houston
Buff game, bringing the total to nearly $18,000. In 1948, the team did not generate any tournament revenue,
but also had fewer, high-salaried players. That season's posted operating profit of $11,807.52 was again,
probably enough to cover the player's salaries. No financial statements for the years 1950-1952 have yet
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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/m1/19/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.