Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 1, January, 1992 Page: 5
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Home Games Tuesday and Friday Nights: Five Years of the Herder Truckers
appointed by each of the veterans groups, one by the city, one by the baseball club, and
the other by the four appointed members, to supervise the construction. The veterans
groups appointed Festus Carroll and Grady Little, the city, F. F. "Teddy" Brasher, and
the baseball club, V. J. "Jiggs" Kana. These four then named Charlie Herder, Jr. as the
Work on the park began almost immediately. The commission got more than
one hundred citizens to sign up as supporters and, on the basis of these signatures,
borrowed $12,000 from local banks. On March 25, the veterans groups met again and
voted to donate $4000 for the construction of the grandstand. When the commission
reported that the Lower Colorado River Authority was to be paid $2500 to erect the light
poles, a number of Weimarites got together and did the job themselves, at a savings of
more than $900. Steve Kosler donated his time and expertise, managing the crew that
erected the grandstand.
In late April, Johnny Miksch, manager of the Weimar Wildcats, began holding
practices. Meanwhile, the new park was hosting its first games. On April 16, as Kosler
and his crew were putting the finishing touches on the grandstand, Weimar High
School's team lost to Schulenburg, 29-12. They played again on the field on each of
the next two Fridays, beating Sheridan, 23-14, then Columbus, 11-10.
But these games were almost inconsequential to the populace of Weimar,
as excitement about their new lighted field and about the prospect of a greatly improved
team mounted. In August 1947, Burt Burttschell had shown Miksch an article about the
ballplaying exploits of his first cousin, Al Joe Hunt, and recommended that Miksch add
him to the regular Wildcat team for the upcoming Houston Post Semipro Baseball
Tournament. Hunt brought two teammates, Murray Wall and Allen Winters, along and,
with Charlie Herder's sponsorship, through his business, Herder Truck Lines, the team
unexpectedly had won its first two games against a powerful field. Now, in late April
1948, Herder formally took over sponsorship of the regular Weimar team. They dropped
the name "Wildcats" in favor of a name that was to become famous in semiprofessional
baseball ranks, the Herder Truckers. Herder laid out nearly $500 for a set of white
uniforms with red and blue numbers, and, to wear the new uniforms, used his
connections with University of Texas Longhorn baseball coach Bibb Falk to recruit
players. Weimar native Frank Kana was a freshman at Texas that year, and he and four
other Longhorns, pitcher Wall, catcher Winters, third baseman Hunt, and first baseman
Frank Trlicek, all committed to play for the Truckers that summer.
Kana's brother, commission member and standout local right handed pitcher
Jiggs Kana, also signed to play, as did several other Wildcat veterans, including pitcher
Leroy Janda, infielders Frankie Bartosh, Dave Keding, and Hilbert Boeer, and outfielders
George Billeck, Richard Polach, Jimmie Mazoch, Werner Boeer, and yet a third Kana
brother, Henry "Fats" Kana. Miksch was retained as manager and backup catcher.
The team opened its inaugural season by beating the La Grange Demons,
7-2, on Sunday afternoon, May 2, in La Grange. The following Sunday, they beat the
Flatonia Wildcats in Flatonia, 5-3. But both games were merely preludes to the official
opening of the new park on May 19, a Wednesday night. As the appointed day drew
close, construction crews worked furiously to finish the park. In the week before the
6 The Weimar team, variously referred to in the local papers as the "Herder Truck Line team" (The
Weimar Mercury, August 29, 1947), the "Herder Truck Lines" (The Weimar Mercury, September 5, 1947),
and the "Wildcats" (The Weimar Mercury, September 5, 1947), wore the Wildcats' regular uniforms, with the
word "Weimar" emblazoned across the front for the 1947 Post Tournament. With Wall on the mound, they
won their first two games, over Dan's Cafe and the La Grange Demons, but then lost two in a row, to the
Baytown Oilers and the Conroe Wildcats, and were eliminated.
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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/m1/5/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.