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Class of 2010

Texas League Elects Seven to Their Hall of Fame


At the meeting of Texas League held at Midland on June 30, the Texas League Hall of Fame gained seven new members by unanimous vote of the league's Board of Directors. The group spans nearly the entire history of the league, from Alex McFarland, who won 35 games for Fort Worth in 1895, to the 1991 Texas League player of the Year, John Jaha. One on the more remarkable of new members is Dick Dunavan, the first groundskeeper elected to the TL Hall of Fame. Dunavan, who was a legend in construction and care of baseball fields in South Texas, spent nearly 36 years tending San Antonio's Texas League playing surfaces. The class of 2010 brings the total membership in the TL shrine to 92. A list of the new members and their information follows below.

James "Snipe" Conley, Pitcher
Snipe Conley was one of the most accomplished, all-around players in Texas League history. A great fielding, right-handed spitball pitcher, Conley would regularly start games for Dallas in both the infield and outfield when he was not on the mound. During a stretch from 1920 through 1925, Conley hit .299 in nearly 900 official at-bats. On the hill, Conley led Dallas to pennants in 1917 and 1918. His season in 1917 was one of the greatest of any league hurler, leading the loop with 27 wins, as well as winning percentage and strikeouts. During that season, Conley won 19 consecutive games, a Texas League record that still stands. A terrific control pitcher, Conley led starting pitchers in fewest walks five consecutive seasons, 1920-25. In 1925, Conley was named manager of the Steers near the end of the first half, leading the club to a 52-38 mark and a second half tie with Fort Worth, losing a post-season playoff to the Panthers. The following season, Conley led the Steers to a first place finish, claiming another league championship for Dallas. Conley ranks seventh all-time among league pitchers in games (368), innings pitched (2,333) and wins (148), while he is ninth all-time in career strikeouts (952).

W-L G CG SHO IP H BB K ERA
1916 Dallas 15-20 41 332 319 70 140 2.36
1917 Dallas 27-10 50 27 323 265 87 171 1.92
1918 Dallas 8-3 18 9 100 97 22 37 3.51
1919 Dallas 17-21 308 288 58 156 2.51
1920 Dallas 18-16 46 29 6 333 301 49 136 2.35
1921 Dallas 16-15 44 22 2 247 252 47 85 3.64
1922 Dallas 13-14 42 12 3 226 239 51 73 3.58
1923 Dallas 19-9 33 17 3 220 227 53 78 3.35
1924 Dallas 7-6 18 7 116 136 29 38 3.57
1925 Dallas 6-4 13 5 82 105 17 25 5.49
1926 Dallas 1-0 7 24 32 8 8 6.38
1927 Dallas 1-0 2 13 19
Total 148-118

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB BA
1916 Dallas 53 145 16 28 5 1 2 1 .193
1917 Dallas 54 126 21 39 9 3 4 2 35 0 .309
1918 Dallas 18 48 5 9 2 0 0 1 12 0 .188
1919 Dallas 49 124 10 22 1 0 2 1 23 0 .177
1920 Dallas 78 209 21 59 15 3 2 28 5 29 1 .282
1921 Dallas 85 237 27 68 20 2 6 35 10 34 2 .287
1922 Dallas 56 110 13 32 9 3 1 10 3 10 0 .291
1923 Dallas 49 118 13 39 13 1 2 20 5 9 1 .331
1924 Dallas 32 146 17 43 7 1 2 25 5 16 1 .295
1925 Dallas 54 112 17 38 5 0 9 37 4 15 0 .339
1926 Dallas 40 76 8 16 4 0 2 9 2 12 0 .211

Manager's Record W-L PCT
1925 52-38 .571
1926 89-66 .574 1st
1927 41-42 .494

Dick Dunavan, Groundskeeper, San Antonio 1919-1954
For nearly 36 seasons, Dunavan toiled as the groundskeeper for San Antonio, building, rebuilding and looking after the playing surfaces at four different ballparks the franchise called home during his epic tenure. During his long career in South Texas, Dunavan built over 30 fields while consulting on another 40. His glowing reputation as a premier caretaker of baseball surfaces helped attract several Major League teams to San Antonio and the local environs for spring training, including the New York Giants and Boston Bees.

Grayle Howlett, Executive, Tulsa Oilers 1946-1961
Grayle Howlett was one of the most innovative and successful of the young executives that arrived in the Texas League following World War II. Sent to Tulsa in 1946 by the Chicago Cubs, Howlett was one of the first club executives in the league to promote the game year 'round. One of his first steps was to begin publishing a monthly newsletter for fans and media to keep up with the Oilers all year long. To help attract more fans to Oilers' games, Howlett oversaw a painting and improvement regime that helped brighten Tulsa's Texas Park. Howlett's many efforts were a success as the Oilers drew over 200,000 fans for the first time in their history in 1948 and averaged over 200,000 fans from 1947 through 1950. In 1953, he arranged for the first televised minor league game. That followed his having arranged for the first coast-to-coast broadcast of a minor league game on the Mutual Radio Network of a contest between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Looking after the Tulsa players, Howlett was one of the first operators to arrange for team travel by sleeper bus. His decision to attract the locally popular St. Louis Cardinals affiliation when it became available after the 1958 helped Tulsa lead the league in attendance for the next seven seasons.

John Jaha, First Base
Easily the leading slugger in the Texas League in 1991, leading league hitters in home runs, RBI, runs scored, hits, extra-base hits, total bases, on-base percentage and slugging. His total of 134 RBI was the highest by any Texas League player since Ken Guettler drove in 143 in 1956. Making Jaha's totals even more impressive is that he drove in his total of 134 in just 130 games. A fine fielding first baseman, Jaha led his position in assists and was second in total chances. One of just six batters in the 1990's to have as many as 30 home runs in a season, Jaha was the 1991 Texas League Player of the Year, helping lead El Paso to a record of 81-55 and a place in the league championship series.

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB BA TB SLG OB% XBH
1991 El Paso 130 486 121 167 38 3 30 134 78 101 12 .334 301 .619 .428 71

Alex McFarland, Pitcher, Outfielder
A great hitting pitcher, McFarland's 34 wins in 1895 are topped in league history only by Lucky Wright, who won 35 in 1902. In addition to appearing in 46 games as a pitcher in 1895, McFarland played another 47 in the outfield, hitting .332 for the season. His 29 extra-base hits that year were the second highest on a very good hitting Fort Worth club. At bat and on the mound, McFarland helped Fort Worth to a 77-39 record, a first place finish in the second half and participated in Fort Worth's championship series win over Dallas.

W-L G CG SHO IP H BB K ERA
1892 Galveston 0-1
1895 Fort Worth 34-12

G AB R H 2B TB 3B HR RBI BB K SB BA
1892 Galveston 24 112 31 38 51 10 0 1 25 .339
1895 Fort Worth 93 367 78 124 165 20 6 3 34 .337

Eddie Palmer, Infielder and Umpire
Palmer is one of the longest serving men in Texas League history, totaling 16 years, eight as a player and another eight as an umpire. A good hitting, steady second baseman, Palmer was on four pennant-winning clubs, Dallas in 1917 and the 1918 season that was shortened by World War I, then with the powerhouse Fort Worth Panthers in 1924 and 1925. Palmer led all second basemen in games played in 1917, 1924 and 1925, fielding in 1918 and 1924 and total chances in 1924 and 1925. After his playing career ended, Palmer returned to the league as a member of the umpiring staff, working eight seasons, 1932-34, 1936-37 and 1939-41. Palmer was widely respected by players and fans alike for his fairness, professionalism and genial disposition.

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB BA
1917 Dallas 163 546 92 156 41 8 10 72 56 24 .286
1918 Dallas 32 108 19 27 7 1 0 15 8 13 .250
1919 Dallas 93 351 40 88 17 6 1 19 26 9 .251
1920 Dallas 135 488 50 118 19 6 1 50 28 39 19 .242
1921 Dallas 113 407 60 121 32 4 3 58 37 23 8 .297
1924 Fort Worth 154 565 97 157 37 4 5 101 79 34 16 .278
1925 Fort Worth 154 596 110 176 29 3 13 103 77 35 10 .295
1926 Fort Worth 32 107 15 26 6 1 0 14 16 8 0 .243

Homer Summa, Outfielder
Summa was the offensive engine that drove a very good Wichita Falls club to a 94-61, second place finish in 1922. His one season in the Texas League ranks with the very best of the single season performances in Texas League history. Summa's 225 hits broke the existing league record, while his 131 runs scored was just one behind the existing league mark of 132, set the previous season. His .362 batting average was the third highest up to that time in the league's modern era. A fair, but slow outfielder, Summa finished the 1922 season playing 12 games for Cleveland, hitting .348.

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB BA
1922 Wichita Falls 156 621 131 225 45 11 8 110 53 24 30 .362