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Texas League Hall of Fame

2009 -- Nine selected to join Texas League Hall of Fame

During a meeting held prior to the league All Star Game on July 1, Texas League directors chose nine new members to join the Texas League Hall of Fame.

Joining the Texas League pantheon are broadcaster Jerry Doggett, umpire Lee Ballanfant, players Hal Epps, Tom Jenkins, Randy Ready and Dick Williams and pitchers Chuck Rose, William "Lucky" Wright and Hank Wyse.

The 2009 class increases those honored by the loop to 85 since the election of the initial class of 40 in 2004.

Jerry Doggett, the first broadcaster selected for membership in the league's Hall of Fame, spent 13 seasons broadcasting Texas League games in Dallas in 1941 and 1942, and again from 1946 through the 1956 season. Hired by the Brooklyn Dodgers after the close of the '56 Texas League season, Doggett spent 32 years as Vin Scully's Dodgers broadcast partner, retiring after the 1987 season.

After a leg injury shortened a promising playing career, Lee Ballanfant turned to umpiring, joining the Texas League staff in 1929. The Waco native spent seven seasons in the loop, then went directly to the National League in 1936. His 22-year Major League career lasted until 1958 and included a span of 11 ½ years during which Ballanfant did not miss an inning. Only 5-foot-8, Ballanfant used his quickness to develop a reputation for always being in the proper position to make a call.

A brilliant fielder, Hal Epps played 1,176 Texas League games in center field, almost certainly an all-time league record. A fine hitter, Epps is first in career triples in league history and 10th all-time with 977 singles. Epps is the only TL player to have consecutive seasons with 20 or more triples and the only player to lead the league in triples three times. The speedy outfielder was a member of three first place clubs (Houston 1939, 1941, 1947), including the '47 club that won the Dixie Series.

Over the course of his first three seasons in the league, Tom Jenkins was one of the finest hitters the league had ever seen, hitting .361 from 1926 through 1927. Jenkins won the league batting title with a .374 mark in 1926, then followed that with seasons in 1927 and 1928 in which he scored over 120 runs, had over 200 hits and drove in over 120 runs each season. Also an accomplished left fielder, Jenkins led Wichita Falls in hitting in the 1927 Dixie Series, helping the Spudders sweep New Orleans four games to none. Jenkins hit .428 in the one-sided series that saw the Spudders outscore the Pelicans, 26-3.

Few men have accomplished as much as two seasons as did Randy Ready as a player in 1982 and a manager in 2007. Playing for the El Paso Diablos in 1982, Ready led league batters in five different categories, including batting average. His .375 mark was the highest by any Texas Leaguer since Ox Eckhardt hit .379 in 1930. His league leading mark remains the 10th highest single season batting average in league history since 1902. Returning to the league 25 years later, Ready led San Antonio to a league championship, going 6-1 in the post-season, becoming one of the few former league stars to later win a league championship as a manager.

A brilliant south paw in the early years of the league, Chuck Rose won 20 games four times, all with pennant winning clubs in Houston. During Houston's run of three consecutive pennants in 1912-14, Rose had a fantastic 71-27 record. With a career record of 143-92, Rose is eighth all-time in the league in wins and 10th all-time with 918 strikeouts.

A speedy, dependable center fielder, Dick Williams had a career batting average of .301 during his nearly four years with Fort Worth. In 1949, Williams had his best season for the Cats, hitting .310, scoring 109 runs, while driving in 114. Williams went on to become one of the most successful managers in Major League Baseball history. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.

The dominant hurler on the legendary 1902 Corsicana club that won 86 of 108 games, William "Lucky" Wright started 43 games that season, completed 42 and won 35, losing just eight times. During Corsicana's 27-game winning streak (June 8-July 5) , Wright won 10 tiles, including four in succession, single games on June 26 and 28 and a double header on June 29th. The first game of the double header is the only contest Wright did not complete that season. Ejected late in the game after a dispute with the umpire, Wright returned in game two, winning yet another complete game. Wright's 35 wins, 42 complete games and 385 innings pitched in 1902 all remain Texas League single-season records.

A durable right-hander for three Texas League clubs from 1941-1952, Hank Wyse won 20 games twice, both for Tulsa in 1941 and 1942, when he produced a combined record of 40-15 for the Oilers. For his career, Wyse was fourth all-time in the league with a 2.71 ERA, fourth all-time with a .650 career winning percentage (89-48) and tied for seventh in league history with 20 shutouts.


2008 -- Texas League elects nine to Hall of Fame

President Tom Kayser has announced the election of nine new members to the Texas League Hall of Fame. The election of the nine took place on June 25th at Springfield, Mo., during a meeting of the league's Board of Directors prior to the playing of the Texas League All-Star Game.

The 2008 election class is: Clyde "Sis" Bateman, Carroll Beringer, Jose Cardenal, Eddie Dyer, George Ferran, Eddie Konetchy, Joe Macko, Larry "Moose" Stubing and Francis "Frannie" Walsh.

Clyde "Sis" Bateman
Bateman played just a single year in the Texas League, but it may be one of the most notable seasons in league annals. Playing the outfield when not pitching for Paris and Waco in 1903, Bateman led the league in hitting, home runs, triples and total hits. On the mound he was 18-15, completing 32 of 34 starts. In May, he became the second player in league history to hit four home runs in a single game. In July he tossed a 7-0 no-hitter versus Fort Worth. These were truly amazing accomplishments for one player in a single season.

Carroll Beringer
Beringer was a jack-of-all-trades workhorse, over nine seasons for Fort Worth and Victoria between 1949 and 1959. He performed consistently well, both in relief and as a starter, saving his best for his final league season when went 19-5, with 18 complete games for Victoria in 1959, earning the league's Pitcher of the Year Award. Beringer, who settled in Fort Worth, is third, all-time, in the Texas League in career winning percentage (94-50, .635) and 10th in career ERA (2.97).

Jose Cardenal
Cardenal was powerful and speedy outfielder for El Paso in 1963. During his only season in the league, Cardinal became just the second Texas League player to hit 30 or more home runs, while stealing at least 30 bases. The feat had not been done since 1932 and has been done in the league just twice since.

Eddie Dyer
Dyer managed in the Texas League for just three seasons (1939-41), finishing first all three years, winning over 100 games in the final two. He is one of just two managers to have consecutive 100-win season in league history. Only three clubs have won as many as 100 games since Dyer did it, none surpassing his win totals in either 1940 or 1941. Dyer later managed the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title in 1946, becoming one of the few managers to guide a TL squad to a league title and a World Championship.

George Ferran
Ferran is just one of two Texas League pitchers to have won the pitcher's Triple Crown, leading the loop in wins, strikeouts and ERA. Amazingly, Pitching for Shreveport, Ferran accomplished the feat, primarily, as a relief pitcher. In 46 games, he started nine, completed three, tossed two shutouts, saved four games and finished with a 16-1 record. Having gone 4-1 for Shreveport the year before, Ferran's career record in the Texas League is 20-2.

Eddie Konetchy
Konetchy was a veteran of 15 Major League seasons when he arrived in Fort Worth for the 1925 season. He was being asked to replace the legendary Clarence "Big Boy" Kraft, who retired after the 1924 season during which he drove in 196 runs. Konetchy was up to the task, helping lead the Panthers to their sixth straight league pennant, driving in 166 runs and stroking 86 extra-base hits, of which 41 were homers. Though his production dipped in 1926, the 40-year-old first baseman still amassed 64 extra-base hits and drove in 104 runs, just 14 off the league lead.

Joe Macko
Macko was a dependable slugger, mostly with Dallas and Tulsa in the 1950's. In his eight-year TL career, five as a regular, he hit 141 homers, good for fifth place on the all-time league list. Playing mostly at first and third base in his league career, Macko also managed one season, for Amarillo in 1963. Following his playing career, he became a respected executive with the Fort Worth and Dallas-Fort Worth clubs, prior to a long career with the Texas Rangers.

Larry "Moose" Stubing
Stubing was one of the top sluggers of the 1960's, as well as a premier fielding first baseman. With 138 TL homers, mostly for El Paso, Stubing is sixth on that all-time list. He is second, all-time, in slugging percentage with a .504 mark, topped only by the celebrated slugger Clarence Kraft. "Moose" finished first in fielding average at first base in 1963 and was second in 1960, 1964 and 1966. Returning to the league in 1978 to manage El Paso, Stubing won both half seasons, then swept Jackson 3-0 to win the league championship.

Francis "Frannie" Walsh
Walsh spent nine seasons in the Texas League over two different spans in the 1950's and 1960's. He did not join the league until 1957, when he was nearly 52 years old. After the close of the 1961 season he was summoned to the National League, working there through the 1963 season. He returned to the TL in 1965, working in the loop until 1968 when he was felled by a stroke. During the 1966 season, Walsh was honored prior to a game at Dallas-Fort Worth for having worked 4,000 consecutive games during his professional career. Players considered Walsh a good, fair, consistent and hard working umpire.


The following is a list of the men honored with a brief description of their Texas League career



FOUNDERS

John J. McCloskey
The founder of the Texas League in 1887 at the age of 26. A player, manager and league organizer for six seasons beginning in 1888. He was instrumental keeping interest in baseball alive in the region through the end of the 19th century. He played for and managed first place finishers in 1889 and 1892. He managed clubs in five Texas League cities, Austin-San Antonio, 1888; Houston 1889-90, 1892; Dallas 1897-98 and Beaumont 1919.

Mike O'Connor
He played 13 years in the league beginning in 1888 (Fort Worth 1888, 1890; Austin 1889, 1898-99, 1905; San Antonio 1892, 1896-97; Sherman-Dallas 1895; Denison 1896; Corsicana 1902-03; Paris 1904; Waco 1905). A terrific hitter, he finished the 1896 season with a .395 average in 114 games. He also managed the great 1902 Corsicana club that won 27 consecutive games and finished 88-23. He was on two first place clubs, Dallas in 1895 and Corsicana in 1902 and two pennant winners, San Antonio in 1897 and Corsicana in 1902.

J. Doak Roberts
He was twice president of the Texas League (1904-06 and 1920-29). Roberts assisted in the revival of the league in 1902. He helped construct a powerful Houston club that won league titles in 1909, 1912 1913 and was co-champion in 1914. He served the league for over 27 years. He was the managing director of the powerful Corsicana club in 1902 that still holds the record for highest winning percentage in a single season.

Dick Butler
Dick Butler was the Texas League President from 1955-63, 1965 and 1969. Butler helped guide the league through the difficult era in Minor Leagues that saw a sharp decline in attendance across the country for most of the years of his tenure. Butler helped keep the league together by finding new cities for the league when the larger league locations left the departed for Triple-A or because of segregation laws. Butler was instrumental in helping push for the agreement with Major League baseball that reclassified the Minor Leagues in 1962 and standardized the working agreements for all Minor League clubs. Butler also negotiated the three-year pact between the Texas League and the Mexican League that led to an interlocking schedule, a joint all star game and a year-end championship series for the 1959-1961 seasons. The Pan-American Association helped breathe new life into both leagues, creating added fan interest in on both sides of the border. After leaving his position with the league in 1963, Butler helped bring Texas League baseball back to Fort Worth in 1964 and to Arlington in 1965, running the Dallas-Fort Worth club for a number of years. He was also named the Sporting News Double-A Executive of the Year in 1965. Butler was also named interim president of the league for brief periods in 1965 and 1969.


EXECUTIVES

Went Hubbard
Went Hubbard has been influential in the success of the franchise in Tulsa, as well as a respected voice in matters concerning the direction of the Texas League for nearly 20 years. Hubbard bought the Tulsa club in late 1986. Under his direction, he funded numerous renovations of Drillers Stadium, including one that saw the addition of a second tier. In 2002, the Drillers became the first Texas League team to draw more than 300,000 fans for ten consecutive years. During his tenure, the Tulsa club was twice the recipient of the Bob Freitas Award as the top Double-A club. The Tulsa club also was named the winner of the John H. Johnson Award in 1999. The Johnson award recognizes a club's long term stability and contribution to their community and to baseball.

Dick Burnett
He owned the Dallas Eagles from 1948 to 1957. Burnett was one of the most flamboyant promoters of the post-World War II era. His Dallas Eagles drew over 54,000 to the Cotton Bowl on opening day in 1950 with an 'Old Timers Day" that featured seven present or future Hall of Famers. He also installed the first organ in a Texas League ballpark. His signing of Dave Hoskins in 1952 led to the integration of the Texas League. Under his leadership, Dallas finished in first place in 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1957.

J. Alvin Gardner
Serving as the top executive from 1929 until 1954, Gardner had the longest tenure as president in league history. He began his Texas League career at Wichita Falls in 1920, building clubs that won league titles in 1927 and 1929 and winning the Dixie Series in 1927. After that season, Gardner was elected to succeed Doak Roberts.

Paul LaGrave
A former Texas League infielder, LaGrave earned his fame as the director of Fort Worth from 1916 to 1929. Working with Jake Atz, he helped construct the Fort Worth dynasty that finished in first place from 1919 through 1925, winning six consecutive TL titles and five of six Dixie Series, an event that along with Walter Morris, he is credited with formulating.

Jim Paul
As the owner of the El Paso Diablos from 1974-97, he was one of the most innovative promoters of the modern era. He was also one of the most decorated Minor League operators, winning numerous national and Texas League awards. In addition, Jim also helped revive the Minor Leagues with the founding of the El Paso Seminars, helping to spread progressive ideas and sharing knowledge within the baseball community.

William Ruggles
He was the historian of the Texas League. He published numerous league history books beginning in 1931. An employee and statistician of the league from 1920 until 1964, Ruggles was also a long-time sports writer and later sports editor of the Dallas Morning News. His research of the early years of the Texas League is essential to our understanding of the founding and the origins of this league.

Bill Valentine
He began his career in the league as an umpire (1954-60), returning as a broadcaster (1969-75), then, since 1976, has been the General Manager of the Arkansas Travelers. Along with Jim Paul, he led the revival of Minor League Baseball as an innovative promoter. He has also received numerous league and baseball awards including Texas League Executive of the Year five times. Has more than 40 years service in the league, including the last 29 as the chief executive of the Travelers.


EXECUTIVE / PLAYER / MANAGER

Bobby Bragan
As player/manager of Fort Worth from 1948-52, he guided Fort Worth to the Dixie Series in 1948, won 100 games in 1949 and guided the Cats to five consecutive winning seasons. One of the top defensive catchers in the history of the league, Bragan still holds the record for fewest stolen bases allowed in a season (6) and holds the shares the record for fewest passed balls in a season (0). After a career as a Major League manager, he returned to the league as President. He resigned to become the president of the Minor Leagues.


UMPIRES

Wilson Mathews
He is considered the finest umpire in the early years of the league. He was in the league during the period 1899-1917, 12 of those years as an umpire.


MANAGERS

Jake Atz
The manager with most seasons (21) and wins (1,565) in league history. He guided the Fort Worth Panthers for 16 consecutive seasons (13 complete). During that period Fort Worth had their record breaking run of pennants and first place finishes from 1919 through 1925. He led the Panthers to 109 victories in both 1922 and 1924. His clubs won Dixie Series championships in five of the six in which they competed.

Tim Ireland
In six Texas League seasons, Ireland's regular season was 593-440, with a .554 winning percentage, one of the best in league history. He also had a post-season record of 24-13, .648. He guided three El Paso, Tulsa and Frisco to the league championship series, winning titles in El Paso and Frisco, in 1994 and 2004 respectively.

Ellis Hardy
Hardy led Waco from 1911 through 1918, winning league championships 1914-16. He has the highest winning percentage of all Texas League managers with a .573 mark and an overall record of 593-440.

Al Vincent
Vincent led his team's to post-season play in eight of his 12 seasons, compiling a record of 50-36, which includes a victory in the 1946 Dixie Series when Dallas swept Atlanta 4-0. Vincent managed 1,879 games in the Texas League, winning 974.


PLAYER / MANAGER

Carey Selph
Selph hit over .300 in all five seasons in the league. His career average of .322 is second highest in league history. He was also tough to strike out, going down on strikes just 137 times in 3184 TL at-bats. Selph was also one of the outstanding second baseman in loop history, leading the league in a number of fielding categories annually. He returned to manage Houston for two seasons, leading them to first place in 1933.


POSITION PLAYERS

Del Pratt
Pratt came to the Texas League at the age of 38 to play for and manage Waco. In 1927, at the age of 40, Pratt became the first Texas League batter to win the Triple Crown. A dangerous hitter throughout his TL career, Pratt hit .374 in 1930 at the age of 43. A great contact hitter, Pratt rarely struck out, going down on strikes just 24 times in 562 at-bats in his big 1927 season. In his four seasons as a regular for Waco, Pratt struck out just 71 times in 1988 at bats. He managed in the league for nine, largely futile seasons, leading, for the most part, second division clubs.

Jim Galloway
Galloway may have been the best switch hitter in the history of the Texas League, finishing his career in the League with a .316 batting average, 112 home runs and 662 RBIs in 12 seasons, seven of which were full seasons. One of the outstanding players in the 1920', Galloway hit above .300 in six of his seven full seasons.

George Whiteman
A member of the great 1906 Cleburne club, Whiteman played over 1,400 games over 11 seasons in the League. During his career at Waco 1905, Cleburne 1906, Houston 1907-08, 1911-13, 1921-22, Wichita Falls/Galveston 1923 and Galveston in 1924, Whiteman gathered more outfield assists than any other player in the history of the loop.

Howie Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald, who played for Wichita Falls 1924-30, Fort Worth 1931 and San Antonio 1932, hit over .300 six times, finishing his career in the League with a .308 average. He is fourth all-time in runs scored with 812 and tied for sixth place with 437 career extra-base hits.

Russ Burns
He was a 10-year league veteran with four clubs (Beaumont 1946-47; Tulsa 1947-51; Dallas 1951; Oklahoma City 1952-55). He led the league in RBIs four times, while driving in 100 or more runs in six of his seven full seasons in the loop. He led the league in homers once, hitting 20 or more in a season five times.

Paul Easterling
One of the greatest of league hitters, Easterling was a 13-year TL veteran, playing with five clubs (Beaumont 1929-33; Tulsa 1934; Oklahoma City 1935-37; Houston 1938; Oklahoma City-Shreveport 1939; Shreveport-Dallas 1940; Dallas 1941). He is the Texas League career leader in games, runs, hits, extra-base hits, total bases, doubles, home runs and RBIs. Paul played on three pennant winning clubs and one Dixie Series winner.

Ed Knoblauch
An 11-year Texas League player with five teams (Houston 1942, 1946-48; Houston-Shreveport-Tulsa 1949; Tulsa 1950-51; Dallas 1951-54; Beaumont 1954-55; Dallas 1955). He was a strong-armed center fielder who hit over .300 in eight of his 11 seasons. He is first or second in seven Texas League all-time hitting categories.

Clarence "Big Boy" Kraft
Kraft played seven seasons in Fort Worth (1918-24) on the great teams of the early 1920's. He was the top home run hitter of his era, setting the, then, league mark for homers in 1924 with 55. He drove in 196 runs in 1924. The total is still a single-season league record. He hit 150 of his career 170 home runs in his final four TL seasons.

Pat Newnam
A 20-year TL veteran, nine as a manager and one as an umpire (San Antonio 1907-08, 1929; Houston 1909-18; Beaumont 1921; Galveston 1922-23; Umpire 1924). He played on pennant winners in San Antonio in 1908 and Houston in 1909, 1912, 1913 and 1914. He stole a league best 422 bases in his career. He also led the league in home runs with 18 in 1908.

Homer Peel
A 14-year league veteran with four clubs (Houston 1924-26, 1928, 1930-32; Fort Worth 1936-38; Shreveport 1939-40; Oklahoma City 1941-42). He led the league in numerous hitting categories, including batting average in 1937 with a .370 average. He has the top career batting average in league history with a .325 mark. He is in the top five for career batters in eight areas, while he is second all-time in extra-base hits and doubles. He played on two first place clubs, two pennant winners and two Dixie Series winners.

Bobby Stow
He was a 10-year veteran of the league, the first eight with Fort Worth from 1915-20 (Dallas 1921-24; Shreveport 1923). He is rated as possibly the greatest shortstop in league history. He led the league in fielding percentage six times. He also led the league in stolen bases five times, twice with consecutive seasons of 70 and 71.

Arch Tanner
He played 14 seasons in the Texas League (Waco 1912-19; Wichita Falls 1920-25). He was a good fielding and hitting shortstop during his first ten years in the league. He led the league in fielding percentage twice at shortstop. He also led the league in hits in 1915 and doubles in 1914. He is in the top 10 in nine all-time TL hitting categories, including third in hits with 1,555.

Joe Bonowitz
He played six complete years in the Texas League, compiling a career batting average of .313, seventh highest in league history. He was one of the greatest defensive outfielders in league history, leading his position in fielding percentage in five consecutive seasons, center field in 1926 and left field, 1927-30. He also led center fielders in chances in 1925 and left fielders in 1929 and 1930. Bonowitz was also one of the toughest men to strike out in the league, whiffing just 154 times in 3,401 at-bats in six seasons.

Henry "Zeke" Bonura
Bonura had two outstanding seasons for Dallas, hitting a combined .340 with 221 RBIs, 242 runs scored and 203 walks. Bonura was also an outstanding fielder, leading first baseman in fielding both years and in total chances in 1933.


PITCHERS

George Payne
A consistent winner in all eight of his Texas League seasons. He pitched for four first place clubs and two pennant winners. Payne is fifth in league history with 153 wins, fifth in shutouts with 24, seventh with 157 complete games and eighth with 366 games pitched. He won 20 games twice, led the league in complete games in 1929 with 28 and innings pitched in 1931 with 321.

Gus Johns
Johns was one of the important contributors on the great Fort Worth clubs of the early 1920's. The curve balling left hand pitcher won 20 or more games three times and led the league in ERA twice between 1921 and 1925.

Eddie Donalds
One of the finest right hand pitchers of the early years in the league. In his first season in the loop he produced one of the finest seasons in league history, winning 30 while losing only four games.

Joe Martina
Martina, who was one of the most popular figures while with the Beaumont club, holds the Texas League career record for strikeouts with 1,412. He is also third in career wins with 158 and fifth in career ERA with a 2.93 mark. Martina's two best seasons in the league came in back-to-back years with Beaumont when he was 28-13 with a 2.14 ERA in 1919 and 20-14 with a 2.88 ERA in 1920.

Dick Whitworth
Whitworth pitched 12 complete seasons in the Texas League and holds the record for the most games pitched with 435. He is also tied for third in career wins with 158. A good fielding pitcher, Whitworth was also durable, pitching 170 complete games. He was on one first place club and three pennant winners. Whitworth's career was as follows: Houston 1926-28; Fort Worth 1929-34, Tulsa 1935, Oklahoma City 1936, Oklahoma City/Fort Worth 1937, Fort Worth/Dallas 1938.

Joe Pate
A 21-year veteran of the league as a pitcher and umpire (Dallas 1912-13; Fort Worth 1914, 1918-25, 1927-28; Shreveport 1931; Umpire 1933-39), Pate won a total of 195 games, second all-time in league history. Twice he won 30 games as a member of the great Fort Worth teams in the 1920's. After his pitching career ended, he returned to the league as an umpire for seven complete seasons.

Paul Wachtel
He spent 13 seasons in the Texas League, mostly with Fort Worth (Fort Worth 1918-28; Houston 1929; Dallas-Waco 1930). He is number one in career victories in league history with 231. He is also first, all-time, in complete games (242), shutouts (32) and total innings pitched (3,177). Wachtel won 20 or more games six times during his Texas League career.

Earl Caldwell
Caldwell's Texas League career had three different segments from 1926 through 1942. A very good fielding pitcher, Caldwell became better with age, going 43-20 in his final two TL seasons at the ages of 36 and 37. A four time 20 game winner, Caldwell led the league in complete games three times and pitched a seven-inning no hitter in 1942.


POSITION PLAYER / PITCHER / UMPIRE

John "Ziggy" Sears
After his playing career, which included stops in Fort Worth (1918-27), San Antonio (1927), Shreveport (1928) and Waco (1928), Sears joined the Texas League umpire staff in 1929, where he stayed until called to the National League in 1935. Among the special accomplishments of Sears' career, the most notable may have been his 11-RBI game on May 19, 1925 versus San Antonio. Sears is in the career top 10 in many offensive categories including runs (883, 3rd), hits (1,492, 5th), extra-base hits (444, 5th), total bases (2,176, 5th), singles (1,048, 7th), doubles (307, tie 3rd) and RBIs (664, 7th).

Milt Steengrafe
He had one of the longest careers in the Texas League, eight years as a pitcher and 15 years as an umpire (Beaumont 1924; Shreveport 1925; Wichita Falls 1927-31; Wichita Falls-Shreveport-Tyler-Fort Worth 1932; Umpire 1938-42, 1946-1955). He compiled a 95-76 record on the mound in the 1920's and 1930's, leading the league in winning percentage in 1928 with a 22-8 record (.733). Was the longest serving league umpire in league history, working all 15 Texas League seasons between 1938 and 1955.


POSITION PLAYER / PITCHER / MANAGER

Frank "Pop" Weikert
Weikert was one of the most accomplished and popular players during the early decades of the league. He was an active player in the loop over the first 20 years of its existence from 1888 through 1908. Weikert was outstanding at the plate, in the field and the mound, going 27-11 for Houston in 1889, then hitting .380 and .385 for Austin in 1896 and 1897. A slick fielding first baseman, Weikert capped his TL career as the player/manager at Galveston in 1907 and 1908, leading the loop in home runs in '07.


POSITION PLAYER / PITCHER

Dode Criss
Criss may have been the league's best all-around player. In seven seasons in the loop (Cleburne 1906; Houston 1912-17) he had the highest batting average in the league three times (though he did not have enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title in any of those seasons), while compiling a career average of .321, accomplished entirely in the dead ball era. He was also 81-40 as a pitcher, mostly for Houston. Amazingly, Criss pitched three no-hitters (two of nine innings, one of five innings) in his career.


SINGLE SEASON / SHORT CAREER

Adam Piatt
Piatt became just the second Triple Crown winner in league history when he accomplished the feat in 1999. Piatt put together one of the finest offensive seasons in league history when he led or tied eight different offensive categories.

La Vel Freeman
Freeman had outstanding back-to-back seasons, a rarity in modern Minor League Baseball for a young player. In 1987 produced one of the highest batting averages in league history. Freeman is the only player to have more than 200 hits in a single Texas League season in 50 years. He also has the highest single season batting average since 1925 when Danny Clark of San Antonio hit .399.

Sid Fernandez
Sid Fernandez is one of just two Texas League pitchers that have won the pitcher's "Triple Crown," leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts. The league's Pitcher of the Year in 1983 while pitching for the San Antonio Dodgers, Fernandez produced 13 wins, 209 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.28. Additionally, he is the last Texas League pitcher to strike out as many as 200 batters in a single season.

Al Rosen
Rosen, third baseman for the Oklahoma City Indians in 1947, had one of the finest individual seasons in league history. In his one season in the League, Rosen led in batting (.349), hits (1860, doubles (47), extra-base hits (83), RBIs (141), total bases (330), slugging percentage (.619) and on-base percentage (.437). Among the outstanding single games during the year were a four double performance on April 16 and an eight-RBI game on June 29. Rosen was elected as the player of the year following the 1947 season.

Ike Boone, San Antonio, 1923
In 1923, Boone battered Texas League pitching, leading the league in hitting (.402), runs (134), hits (241), doubles (53 and RBIs (135). That year, he became the only modern TL player to hit over .400. He also established a league record with a 35 game consecutive hitting streak.

Ken Guettler, Shreveport 1956
In 1956, Guettler hit a league record 62 home runs, scored 115 runs and drove in 143 runs.

Dave Hoskins, Dallas 1952 and 1958
He was the first African-American player to play in the Texas League. In 1952 he led the league with 22 wins, had a 2.12. ERA, an overall record of 22-10 and a league leading 280 innings pitched. After spending time in the Major Leagues, he returned to Dallas in 1958 going 17-8.

Red Murff, Dallas, 1953-55
After going 27-28 in the two seasons prior to 1955, Murff had one of the best seasons by a Texas League pitcher in the post-World War II era. In 1955, Murff was 27-11 in 43 games, posting a league best ERA of 1.99. He also led the league with 28 complete games. No pitcher in the Texas League has won as many games in one season since Murff's 27 in 1955. In the long history of the league there are just 16 other occasions when a pitcher has won as many as 27 games in a single season.

Howie Pollet, Houston 1940-41
Pollet was 20-7 and 20-3 in his two seasons at Houston. In 1941 he led the league with a 1.16 ERA. Only one other pitcher, Walt Dickson at 1.06 in 1916, has had a lower ERA in league history.

Tyrone Horne, Arkansas 1998
Horne had one outstanding season in the Texas League during which he led the league in home runs and RBIs. His RBI total of 139 was the highest in the league since 1956. Horne also had one historic game in 1998, hitting a home run cycle in a July contest at San Antonio. It was the first time a batter had accomplished the feat of hitting a solo, two-run, three-run and grand slam homers in the same game in professional baseball history. For his accomplishments during the 1998 season, Horne was selected the Texas League Player of the Year.


Texas League Players in the Baseball Hall of Fame



Roberto Alomar
In 1987, Alomar spent all of his third season of professional baseball with the Wichita Pilots, the San Diego Padres' Double-A affiliate. It was one of two Minor League campaigns in which he played primarily at shortstop. In 130 games, Alomar batted .319 (171-for-546), with 12 home runs, four triples and 41 doubles. The following season, he played nine games for the Padres Triple-A club in Las Vegas before launching his Hall of Fame Major League career.

Bert Blyleven
Following a year lost to injury in 1991, Blyleven returned for his final season of professional baseball. While he made 25 appearances (24 starts) for the California Angels in 1992, he also racked up appearances with two of the organizations' Minor League affiliates, including two games with the Triple-A Edmonton Trappers (PCL) and five with the Texas League's Midland Angels.

Willard Brown
Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. Willard "Home Run" Brown was one of the pioneering African-American players in the Texas League. Born in 1911 or 1915, according to different sources, Brown was at the end of a productive career when he arrived in the Texas League in 1953. The slugging outfielder lived up to his nickname with four solid seasons in the league, pounding 91 homers and driving in 405 runs while playing for Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Tulsa and Austin.

Dizzy Dean
Was 34-12 in two TL seasons at Houston, 26-10 in 1931 with 303 strikeouts. Returned to the League briefly in 1940 to Tulsa where he was 8-8, drawing huge crowds across the league. He was the league's first Player of the Year in 1931.

Dennis Eckersley
Eckersley, one of the newest members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, was the Texas League right-handed Pitcher of the Year in 1974 when he was 14-3 for the San Antonio Brewers. That season, Eckersley led the loop in wins, winning percentage (.824), strikeouts (163), while completing 10 of his 23 starts.

Hank Greenberg
At Beaumont in 1932, Greenberg led the league with 123 runs and 39 home runs. He hit .290 and had 131 RBIs. He was the Texas League Player of the Year in 1932.

Tony Gwynn
In 1981, Gwynn spent most of his first year of professional baseball with the Walla Walla Padres of the Class A Short-Season Northwest League. Following that, however, San Diego sent him to the Amarillo Gold Sox, where he appeared in 23 games, hitting an eye-opening .462 (42-for-99) and collecting four homers, eight doubles and 19 RBIs, as well as two triples and five stolen bases.

Chick Hafey
At Houston in1924, Hafey hit .360 with 39 doubles, 9 home runs, 90 RBIs and a league leading 20 triples.

Whitey Herzog
Whitey Herzog never managed in the Texas League, but he did spend part of one season there in 1952, with the Beaumont Roughnecks, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. Based solely on stats, it's likely a stint the future managerial genius would have preferred to forget, as he hit.198 (24-for-121) with four doubles and a triple in 35 games. Both his other destinations that season treated him better, as he batted .289 in 68 games for the Class B Quincy Gems and .296 in 14 games for the Triple-A Kansas City Blues. He commenced two years of military service in 1953, before returning to professional baseball with the Denver Bears of the Triple-A American Association, also a Yankees affiliate, in 1955 and subsequently cracking the Majors in 1956 with the Washington Senators.

Willie McCovey
At Dallas in 1957, McCovey hit .281 with 21 doubles, 9 triples, 11 home runs and 65 RBIs. He also had a three home run game and a three triple game during that season.

Joe Medwick
At Houston in 1931 and 1932, he twice hit over .300 and had a total of 93 doubles, 18 triples, 45 home runs and 237 RBIs. He hit .354 in 1932, while leading the league in home runs (19) and RBIs (126) in 1931.

Joe Morgan
At San Antonio in 1964, he was the league Player of the Year, hitting .323 with a league leading 42 doubles and 90 RBIs for the league champion Bullets.

Brooks Robinson
At San Antonio in 1956, he led the league in fielding percentage at third base. He hit .272, with 28 doubles and 74 RBIs.

Ron Santo
Ron Santo played just one and a half years in the Minor Leagues -- in 1959 with San Antonio of the Texas League and in 1960 with Houston of the American Association -- before embarking on a 15-year Major League career that led to his selection to the Hall of Fame in 2012 by the Veteran's Committee. In San Antonio, he hit .327 (165-for-505) in 134 games, with 87 RBIs, 11 home runs, 35 doubles and 82 runs scored. Santo's 2,254 Major League hits contributed to a lifetime batting average of .277, but he often added walks and sac flies to compile a superior on base percentage. He twice led the Majors in OBP (.381, 1964; .412, 1966), as well as four times in bases on balls and three in sacrifice flies. Santo also kept opponents' runs off the board with stellar defense. The nine-time All-Star won a Gold Glove in five consecutive seasons from 1964-68, and paced all third basemen in assists seven times and putouts six times, as well as fewest errors committed three times.

Al Simmons
At Shreveport in 1923, Simmons hit .360 with 58 extra-base hits and 90 RBIs.

Tris Speaker
At Houston in 1907, he led the league with a .314 batting average.

Bruce Sutter
In 1974, Sutter split his third professional season between the Key West Conchs of the Class A Advanced Florida State League and the Midland Cubs of the Texas League, then spent the entire 1975 season with Midland, the Cubs' Double-A affiliate. In 1974, Sutter went 1-2 with a 1.44 ERA in eight appearances including one start. He allowed just one home run while walking six in 25 innings pitched. In 1975, he made 41 relief appearances, going 5-7 with 13 saves and a 2.15 ERA. He allowed six home runs and walked 21 batters while fanning 50 in 67 innings pitched.

Don Sutton
At Albuquerque in 1965, Sutton had the best winning percentage with a 15-6 record (.714).

Billy Williams
At San Antonio in 1959, Williams batted .318 in 94 games with 22 doubles, 7 triples, 10 home runs and 79 RBIs.