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Class of 2013

 

Dupree, Eckhardt, Wilson among those honored in 2013

 

The Texas League Board of Directors elected seven new members to the Texas League Hall of Fame. The 2013 class is the 10th to be honored since the league began selecting members in 2004.

Alex Dupree, Pitcher

Dupree was one of the finest pitchers in the early history of the Texas League. He pitched a no-hitter and a one-hitter in his fantastic 1906 season when he pitched for the first place Fort Worth club. Dupree was also a member of the pennant winning San Antonio club in 1908 after being traded to the Bronchos during that season.

Dupree was the first Texas League pitcher to have three consecutive seasons of 20 or more wins. A fine fielder, he led all pitchers in fielding percentage in 1906, in addition to tying for the most wins in the league. In 1907, Dupree led the league in games pitched. Dupree finished his career in the loop in 1920 as a member of the league's staff of umpires. 

Alex Dupree
Year Team Win-Loss PCT GS
1906 Fort Worth 25-7 0.781 33
1907 Fort Worth 23-17 0.575 40
1908 Fort Worth/San Antonio 20-14 0.606 36

Oscar "Ox" Eckhardt, Outfield

One of the greatest minor league hitters of all time, amassing a career batting average of .367 in over 1900 minor league contests. The left hand hitting Eckhardt won five minor league batting titles, four in succession, the first in the Texas League in 1930 when he hit .379 over 147 games. During his great 1930 campaign at Beaumont, Eckhardt also led the Texas League with 217 hits and 55 doubles, the third highest total for two-base hits in league history, and a number unsurpassed since that season. Returning to the Texas League in 1938, Eckhardt had the highest average in the league at .387, but did not have enough plate appearances in 72 games to qualify for the batting title.

Ox Eckhardt
Year Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA SLG OPS
1930 Beaumont 147 573 99 217 55 5 8 83 19 49 43 0.379 0.534 306
1938 Beaumont 72 279 43 108 19 7 0 43 4 19 21 0.387 0.505 141
1940 Dallas 104 369 46 108 16 3 1 22 1 14 33 0.293 0.36 133

J. Walter Morris, Player/Manager/Executive/Owner/League President

Involved in the Texas League for the better part of nearly 40 years, Walter Morris had one of the most varied careers of any of the men to have been associated with this loop. Morris first appeared in the league as a light hitting, slick fielding shortstop on the legendary 1902 Corsicana Oilers. Though he hit just .244 that season, he was 6-for-8 in Corsicana's epic 51-3 win over Texarkana and led the league that season with 10 triples. After three years in the South Texas League and four more in the South Atlantic and Southern Leagues, Morris returned to the Texas League in 1910 as the shortstop, manager and owner of the Fort Worth Panthers, where he stayed until selling the club in 1914. During the 1910 season, Morris is credited with creating the first rain check, an innovation that was quickly adopted by other league clubs and teams throughout minor league baseball.

In 1915, Morris was elected Texas League president, a position he held until 1920. After spending a short time away from baseball, the Rockwall, Texas native returned in 1922 as the owned of the Dallas club, operating the Steers until 1928. During this tenure with the Dallas, the Steers won the Texas League title in 1926, defeating New Orleans in the Dixie Series four games to two. After spending a number of years as a minor league organizer and as a president of several lower minor leagues, Morris, once again came home to the Texas League, running the Shreveport club in 1932 and 1938-39 and Fort Worth in 1933 and 1940.

J. Walter Morris, Player
Year Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR SB BA
1902 Corsicana 71 279 35 67 10 10 1 5 0.244
1910 Fort Worth 82 293 34 67 10 3 4 24 0.229
J. Walter Morris, manager
Year Team   W L PCT GB PL
1910 Fort Worth   75 63 0.543 7 4th
1911 Fort Worth   80 67 0.544 4.5 2nd
1912 Fort Worth   59 81 0.421 28.5 7th
1914 Fort Worth   33* 39 0.458 -- --
* (Resigned 6/22/14)

Jimmy Slagle, Outfield

A speedy, athletic center fielder on the powerful, pennant winning 1896 Houston Buffaloes, Slagel led the league in three separate batting departments while establishing a record that has never been broken. In addition to leading the league in stolen bases and hits, the Houston leadoff hitter scored 171 run in just 131 games. That run total has never been topped in the more than 100 seasons that have followed Slagel's singular season. Additionally, along with team mate Charlie Schaffer, Slagle was the first of two batters to top 200 hits in 1896, the first time that any hitter had gathered more than 200 hits in a single Texas League season. After two more minor league seasons, Slagel went to the National league, where he was a member of the pennant winning Chicago Cubs' clubs 1906-08, winning the Word Series with them the later two seasons.

Jimmy Slagle
Year Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR SB BA
1896 Houston 131 588 171 216 26 16 1 86 0.367

Lee Velarde, Groundskeeper

For the first 28 of the existence of the Midland franchise in the Texas League, their home turf knew just one head groundskeeper, Lee Velarde. Working at the Midland facility alternately known as Cubs Stadium (1972-84), Angels Stadium (1985-94) and Christensen Stadium (1995-2001), Velarde diligently tended the grounds there from 1972, until his retirement in 1999. In the history of the circuit, he is one of the longest serving groundskeepers any TL team has ever had. Prior to his assignment to care for the surface at Cubs Stadium, Velarde had been in charge of caring for all of the youth fields in Midland from 1954 until the arrival of the Cubs in 1972. During his term as a Texas League groundskeeper, Society and Grounds Management magazine gave Cubs Field their Best Field award in 1976, while Lee was presented a National Maintenance Award for his care of Cubs Stadium in 1977. A hard working family man, Velarde was also a noted amateur slugger in his youth, often hitting clean-up for the locally famous Midland Colts. Velarde is also the father of former Major League player Randy Velarde.

Bill Walberg, Broadcaster

Joining Jackson in 1977, Walberg spent 23 seasons calling plays for the Mets and the Generals, his tenure ending only after the Generals were sold and moved to Round Rock following the 1999 season. He is on a short list of broadcaster that has spent as many as 20 seasons calling TL games in the long history of this loop. A popular broadcaster in Jackson during and after his Texas League career, Walberg called 11 no-hitters during his tenure, six of which were authored by Jackson hurlers. He was also behind the microphone during 10 Texas League championship series, five of which were won by Jackson and two TL All Star games both of which ended with dramatic final at-bat calls.

In 1984 when Jackson outfielder and future Oakland GM Billy Beane gave the East an 8-7 win when he hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth and in 1992, when Shreveport's Adell Davenport, a Jackson native, capped a seven-run, ninth inning rally with a three-run homer that gave the East an 8-6 win. In 1999, Walberg called the 26-inning game at San Antonio one of his two most memorable broadcasts. The other was the shocking end to the 1994 East Division Series that vaulted the Generals to the championship after Jackson players clubbed back-to-back, two-out homers in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Don Wilson, Pitcher

Wilson dominated the Texas League as few others have in the era since the modern affiliated era, doing so as a 21-year-old. Named the Texas League Pitcher of the Year, Wilson led the league in just one category in 1966, shutouts, with six. However, the 6'2 right hander finished the Texas League season second in ERA, wins and strikeouts, while he was third among pitchers in complete games and winning percentage. After a September promotion to Houston, Wilson never pitched another minor league game, becoming a key member of the Astros rotation from 1967 until his untimely death in January 1979.

Don Wilson
Year Team W-L G GS CG SHO IP H BB K ERA
1966 Amarillo 18-6 29 29 8 6 187 150 68 197 2.21