Monday, January 12, 2009

Making a pitch for Kansas

We've had some pretty darn good baseball players from Kansas. One was Walter Johnson, born and raised in Humboldt but later lived in Coffeyville during his offseason.
Here's an interesting fact. George Sweatt, also from Humboldt, played baseball for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League. The Monarchs won the first World Series of the Negro League in 1924, the same year Walter Johnson won the World Series with the Washington Senators.
Above is a mural in Coffeyville done by artist Don Sprague. Coffeyville has done some nice things in tribute to Johnson. I've seen college players even take their pictures in front of the bronze plaque at Walter Johnson Park and baseball field. The museum has a display, too. Humboldt has also remembered the players in various ways.
Another tribute to a Hall of Famer is in Muscotah for Joe Tinker, one part of the famous Chicago Cubs triple-play combination "Tinker to Evers to Chance." Muscotah is a small town of 200 but at the entrance to the city park, 6th and Kansas, they have a bronze plaque within the big stone wall. Nothing fancy but it shows the pride the town had in him.
Smokey Joe Wood (Boston) and Chief Hogsett (Detroit) are remembered with displays in the Ness County Museum.
Allie Reynolds played for the Cleveland Indians for a few years but later became a star pitcher for the New York Yankees. Reynolds is one athlete recognized at the American Indian Athlete Hall of Fame at Haskell Indian National University.
There are many more excellent baseball players from Kansas and quite a few with Kansas connections playing in the major leagues today.
The important thing to know is that we produce some great baseball players here and to know that is to "Get Kansas!"
KE #2 Marci Penner


Anonymous said...

The Humboldt Historical Museum has large displays devoted to both Sweatt & Johnson, and the bed where Johnson was born.

Thre is a (somewhat vandalized) marker north of town where the home that Johnson was born was located, and a monument for Sweat at the ball field on the south side of town that is named for him.

In 1924 Johnson was on the team which won the World Series and Sweatt was on the team that won the Negro League World Series.

Get Kansas! said...

Keep those comments coming Keith!