Gladstone’s Tradition Is More Than A Happy Rock…

By on May 31, 2012 with 10 Comments

Don’t let the title fool ya…the purpose of this ‘R-tales’ rests solely with the little league ball players and their respective importance in extending the ‘Baseball Tradition’ in Wausa.

If you ask any of our Wausa players about baseball tradition you may get a weird stare in response.  Tradition to them may be nothing more than pizza and pop after every game, and what’s wrong with that, works for me.

It remains important, however, that baseball history does have value, and the very reasons we have summer programs go hand in hand with saving the game and saving it for Wausa, sounds like something ‘traditional’.  I’m not sure why the program’s organizers
spend so much of their free time in putting together such a top-notch program, but it always remains without question, somebody has to do it.  But WHY?

Gladstone Park has seen its share of wild and wooly games as far back as 1950, and I have to stop there since my recollection of anything before Kindergarten is a blur and even that is getting shorter by the day!  But, I can tell you for sure from having grown up in a household that salivated on a steady diet of baseball in those summer months, this game was like a trip to Yankee stadium twice a week.  Yes, Gladstone and Yankee stadium from my perspective were one and the same right here in Wausa.  (And I encourage any interested party to talk to some our players that still live in Wausa.)

The decade of the 50’s seemed nothing short of magical for a youngster in Swede-town, and even more gratifying when you lived in a home that created so much of Gladstone’s rich baseball history.  Obviously when your father is the manager of the team you become automatically a go-for with nearly every aspect of ‘making things happen’ at the park.  Other than just listening to a few thousand conversations with other players, spectators and visitors, your outlook on the importance of the game itself was building.  Its mere presentation to the public, along with creating a mirror image of the ‘big leagues’ for the players was creating more evidence for tradition.

What was it like?  How was the atmosphere any different than what it was in the following 4-6 decades?  Again, you may find a better description from our local players to have played in that era since they were playing and I was pretending, or modeling, to be like them.  Being the Team’s (Swedes) Batboy provides you with another insight, one that provided as much excitement as being right there in Yankee Stadium.

For starters, the diamond was usually groomed as smooth as glass, unless a recent rain interrupted those plans.  Loomis Johnson was the main guy for keeping those lines straight and the bases in place.  Our bases were not modern by any stretch of the imagination but they served their purpose.  They usually had a minimum of one peg in the ground and the under-straps of the base connected to it.  Did that create some problems for the runners and umps?   Most certainly, and so many times players would fall when running through them since the bag would give way, or spin out of position.  So many times a player would slide into a base and it would kick off to the side.  The ump had to be use a bunch of discretion them, which usually was followed by a steady volley of ‘boooos’ depending on who got the break!  Some nasty first-basemen would actually kick the base up in the air after snagging a throw to first, thus making the runner trip.  And, sometimes those same first basemen received retaliation when they came up to bat.

Usually spectators and players would park their cars up and down the main drag right behind the grandstand.  When that was filled, parking spilled over into the park itself, and onto the grass-field up to the pool area.  Speaking of a grandstand, and that it was, completely enclosed with a nice roof, under seating storage areas for the concessions and baseball equipment.  It also was great for the ‘announcers booth’, complete with a PA system and phonograph (that’s what they were called, then).  Uncle Roy was usually the play by play and set up person, since he was a committee of one.  He was in charge of playing some lively vinyl tunes from the 40’s prior to the game including batting practice for both teams.  That placed ‘rocked’ with polkas, Guy Lombardo and Lawrence Welk, and the players and fans loved it.

There were wooden bleachers down both left and right field serving at least a hundred spectators.   There were usually more down the right field line due to the ability to skip having to pay admission, which was taken right at the grandstand’s entry.
When the ticket taker walked down to that area you could see a bunch either walk or run to their parked cars, but not without their beer.

And the tradition continued year after year for me until I started playing on the Town (Swede) team.  My very first hit was at Bloomfield, Whitey Mumm (pitched some for NU) doing the pitching, and yes, it cleared the center field fence.  This is not about me, but rather what the game did to me, and for me, and how the tradition kept steamrolling into the mid-60s (when I finished college at Wayne State).

Gladstone was the home to Wausa’s finest players, and also other players that were actually paid to play for the Swedes.  I can remember Don Gilley from U/Alabama, and he worked summer construction for Bill Olson.  We had a pitcher and catcher come up from Sioux City; other teams in the old Elkhorn Valley League paid a few of their players as well (usually gas money ($0.15 per gallon) plus a few extra bucks.  I was lucky enough to take advantage of that scheme too when Crofton would hire me play games against South Dakota teams.

We also had Rex Barney (Dodgers), Richie Ashburn (Phillies Hall of Famer), and Bob Gibson (Cardinals Hall of Famer) spend a little time in Gladstone.   My brother, Gordon, even played some Minor-League baseball for the KC A’s, and White Sox.  Both Ron Nelson and I played 4 years at Wayne State, however, I don’t have any other names to add from our team or the opponents.
Wausa also hosted an all-black team for a few games and a fun(d) raiser.  They were in awe of our competitive play and were even beaten a few times.

I worked with another gent, Jack Borchers (played in Cardinal organization), and he too worked construction for Bill Olson.  When we shared an apartment together in Bloomfield, Jack would get up in the morning,  stretch, and then holler as loud as possible, “C’mon rain”, since we didn’t have to work when it did!

Back to Gladstone.  Wausa had some of the best players in the League, and finished so often sharing the top spots with Bloomfield, Osmond, Randolph and Plainview.  So many of our players could have gone on to higher competitions had they taken the opportunity for such.  So many of our players were not street bums, but hard working agriculture gents.

If interested, please take some time to talk with Dale Wamberg, Ron Johnson, Gerald Gunderson, Norbert Tiemann (one time Gov./Nebr.), Lowell Erickson, or my brother in Des Moines.  For pete’s sake (?) I cannot remember other players like, Roger Beals, whose dad Marlin ran a Ford/Mercury dealership, with partner Milton Larson (located which is now the Fireman’s Hall).  Jim Eldorado of Wausa’s HVAC company (that bldg was used as a dealership for Chevrolet owned by …Juracek).  Mike Johnson, a farmer that had an arm like a noodle and could throw 25 innings if needed.  Kenny Goeden was one of the most competitive and skilled of all the pitchers whose niece is married to our own Brett Carlson.  I only wished my memory served me better so I could give tribute to our terrific players.

What’s really so important here as they never knew that they were creating baseball history in Wausa.  The young players we have playing this summer don’t have clue that they are either.  But what remains so keen to both age groups is that they all played their hearts out by committing and sacrificing their collective and individual energies to keep the game rolling along.  They did it as adults and we did it as kids just b)ecause we love the game so much.

Personally, from growing up inside the game (so to speak), this game gave me a college education with what it takes in competition, strategy and dedication to survive on the diamond and in life too.  We can only hope that this experience will be one to start their ‘bucket list’ of ‘must-do’s.

Whenever I go to the park to watch a game, I can still see rows of parked cars back to the swimming pool, hear the phono spin vinyls of yesteryear, and listen to the crowd cheer whenever the occasion earned it.  I still remember being hauled around on Carl Johnson’s shoulder and then running to find his bat (a 36″ Jackie Robinson model with a handle nearly as thick as the barrel), running in to get the bat before the catcher throws it back at me, and chasing foul balls ($.10 per ball) risking life and limb to fund my next bottle of soda.  I will always love the sound of a good ‘whack’ rather than a ‘boink’.

Parents, coaches, concessions, and players should all be so lucky to be part of the game, continuing its existence, and perpetuating the Tradition.  When this Freightliner lands back in Swede-town I hope to catch (not literally) a few of your games.
I guarantee that someday, and usually around the latter part of spring, your juices will flow once again, aching to get back out on the diamond to get dirty, win some games, listen to the cheers, sweat bb’s and look forward to that ‘7th inning stretch (take me out to the ballgame).  Now that’s traditional too.

Have a fun and successful season of Baseball.   PLAY BALL!!!


Category: Rooster Tales

Comments (10)

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  1. Milan A. Frey Lincoln, Nebraska says:

    Does anyone remember Bob Gibson playing for or against Wausa in l952-57 ? Gibson signed with the Cardinals in l957 after graduating from Creighton University and if he played in Wausa it would have been during his college days. ???

    I played for Pender in the Pioneer Nite League in the early 50’s so I familiar with teams and players in Northeast Ne during that time.

    Thank you for your reply in advance.

  2. Christy Musgrave says:

    Thank you for the great article. I spent a lot of summers in Wausa visiting my grandparents, Frank and Emma Larson. Frank, was also known as “Little Frank” and never missed a ballgame and always took me along. (This was before the swimming pool was built even and it was a clear shot down to the Gladstone.) Sometimes, probably when Loomis Johnson, wasn’t able to my grandfather would carry the bases to the park and use what I think was powdered lime to draw the baselines. One of the wildest games of the season was the “Donkey Baseball Game”, where the batters rode a donkey around the bases instead of running. Does anyone else remember that Wausa tradition? Lots of great memories from summers spent in Wausa with my grandparents.

  3. Milan A. Frey Lincoln, Nebraska says:

    Didn’t hear from anyone so I can only conclude that Bob Gibson did not play in Wausa during his college days!!!

  4. mert carlson says:


    Here is a follow-up article from my brother, Gordon, whom played in those mid-50’s glory years.
    And yes, Bob Gibson did play in Wausa, but was one of several ‘paid- players (professionals?)’ that were employed by area teams, an option that I took advantage of a few years later).

    It is so nice to hear from some of the readers that still hold memories from that area and still appreciate baseball and its contributions to our history of game, lore and love for it.

    Recently, Nobby Tiemann has passed away and he was a player on a few of the teams of that era. I remember Bob Gibson hitting the late Dillon Neu (Wausa Gazette owner) or it was Gerald Gunderson.
    Irregardless, his wild pitch, if my memory is only half correct, broke 2 ribs!

    Again, ‘Thanks’ for your interests and would enjoy hearing from others about their game memories.
    Mert Carlson

    There are many names from the 40’s and early 50’s and I still recall some of those great games when Dad was manager. Lots of those guys are gone now but the memories never die. Bobbie Johnson of Bloomfield was one of the best. I still remember when Butch Retzlaff was pitching in a game at Wausa, the score was tied and Bobbie came up to bat. Dad went to the mound and told Butch not to throw him anything good or walk him. Next pitch Bobbie hit over the centerfield fence. Dad took his hat and threw it in the air and it landed out by pitchers mound. I ran out to pick it up. Needless to say, Dad was not too happy. This was 1953 I believe. I was batboy at a Crofton game when Elmer Hegge slid into home hard against our catcher Ed Carlson and knocked him over. They started swinging fists and I remember Elmer taking one on the nose but don’t recall if either got thrown out. Some tough games in those days, the players came to play and play hard if needed. Karl Kluetzke played first for us and he was really good. We also had Bud and Donny Goeden playing for us along with the Lammers boys outs of the Fordyce area. Whitey Wamberg managed, starting around 1954 after Dad had decided to give it up. We always kept all the balls and bats and equipment in the trunk of the old ’49 Chevy. When we had the games at the park on Sunday, Dad would pick me up at Church after Sunday School and we would head down and lime the diamond for the game. You were probably with also during those times.

    I started playing for Wausa in ’56 soon as high school was over for me, right after i pitched in the State tournament we lost 1-0. I hauled gravel during the summer but still played when I could.

    I played early with Dale Wamberg, Roger Beals, Kenny Goeden, Big Lowell Erickson, Carl and Ronnie Johnson, Roger Miller and they were some of the best. In early summer 1957, we had Warren (I thought his name was ‘Don’ (mc) Gilley, who came down from the Yankton Terrys. He was really good, was a pitcher at Alabama University but was around only for a couple months. Really a nice guy and he stayed at Dick Kool’s. He pitched a few games for us in ’57, only game he lost was to Bloomfield, 1-0. He was the winning pitcher in the All-Star game at Osmond that year that we won that game in 10 innings, 7-6. He also pitched the Coleridge game on July 11, 1957 that we won and the Laurel game on July 25 we won 22-2. I had 2 home runs in that game, Carl & Ronnie Johnson one each, Warren Gilley and Lowell Erickson each had one. Then on Sunday nite, July 28, we beat Hartington, 3-2. Warren pitched that game and won, we beat Donny Goeden pitching for Hartington. Warren then left to go back to school at Alabama. On July 10, 1957, the Elkhorn Valley All-Stars played the Yankton Terrys in Yankton. Roger Beals, Carl Johnson and I played for Wausa but I do not recall who won. Probably the Terrys. I can vividly remember on my birthday in 1957, we played down at Winside. I hit a home run off Richie Hevner in the first inning. He pitched for the University of Nebraska and was pitching for Winside during the summer. We stopped at Hilltop on the way home and Dad bought me a T-Bone steak. Wally Planck rode with us to the game, never forget that time.

    After Warren Gilley left, in 1957 and 1958, we had the best pitcher in the league, Bob Wiltse. He had 5 shut-out games in a row, had 49 scoreless innings and came up with Ed Carlson who caught him, both from Sioux City. He had a curve that was unhitable and very smart. Not sure if he is still among us, was living over East of Sioux City last I heard. He was one of the best and smartest pitchers I ever played with. 1958 might have been the last year of paying players, can’t remember for sure. It was then or soon after. Those were the best years as I recall, . Bloomfield had won 10 straight and then we beat them 2-0 on July 18. I hit a home run in that game off Duke Carlow. He would always remind me of it when we pitched horse shoes against each other in later years.

    The end of the 1958 season play-off games started with a doubleheader in Wausa on Sunday. Bloomfield won the afternoon game but in the nite game, I hit 2 home runs off of Borchers (I still email w/Jack B. in Haywarden, Ia. mc)in the second game. I also had 2 singles so was 4 for 4. Martin and Agnes (our aunt/uncle) were up for the first game but had to go home to Carroll to do chores so they missed the nite game. I still have the postcard Martin sent me telling me about the nice write-up about me and the game in the Norfolk paper. The next Sunday, Bloomfield ended up beating us in the third game. Borchers (drove a black, 58 chev impala, convertible (wow/mc) pitched that game too and he also hit a home run.

    1958 was the end of the good baseball as we knew it. In 1959, we had the Wilbeck boys and Bobby Skalberg pitching, Mick Ogden doing the catching. Colonel John (Phillips, (mc) played also, played second and he and his big feet kept tripping over second base when I would throw him the ball for a double play. Ask him about it sometime, sure he still remember those days. Our team was only so-so then, don’t believe either Carl or Ronnie or any of the other players played after 1958. I don’t have any clippings from that year for some reason. Guess Mom felt there was nothing spectacular about baseball to save. If I find any, I will let you know.

    And I recall the Bob Gibson game in which we beat him when he pitched for Crofton. Have the scoresheet from the game Whitey gave to us at our get-together a few years ago. I got one of the hits off of Gibson but that was all. I remember stepping on his hand in a run-down between short and third base. He was on second, tried to go to third on grounder hit to me. We caught him in a run-down and he slipped on the dirt on the infield. Apparently no harm done as he finished the game and went on to much bigger and better things.

    Hope this helps if you are putting something together. Whitey Wambery is no doubt an encyclopedia of early Wausa baseball history. I know he has all the early scorebooks from his Dad as Bill was scorekeeper for many years after Dick Kool gave it up and along with many, many nice pictures of the early teams. I have a few but he has lots more. Hope this helps, If I can find anything else, I will send it along.


  5. Pete Peterson says:

    MC.. Just recently got on line here in Australia and am getting caught up on Rooster Tails..
    These stories sure brought back the memories..
    Two other “characters’ always present at the home games and made it the event that it was.. “Doc Raliegh” Popcorn Larson offering that delicious tasting popcorn just inside the ticket gate ( manned by Wilbur Ekdahl) and Clarence Holmberg, keeper of concessions under the grand stand.Orange and grape Nehi soda!!! Hot dogs. and candy bars were the fare!!
    I was there with you chasing those foul balls!!
    Spectators in clean Bib coveralls sipping beer and having a hoot!! Baseball in Wausa.. What a grand memory and tradition..
    Sometimes we even got to be the scoreboard keeper for 50 cents!!

  6. Gordon Carlson says:

    I continue to follow the outstanding editorials from Mert Carlson on the glory days of baseball in Wausa during the 1940-1950’s. After all, he is my brother so they have to be outstanding, right????. When I sent him the article on some of the early Wausa baseball history as I remember it, I did not know he would post it as received and hope it adds to the aura of the great times of baseball in Wausa during those years. Only if you lived and died the games as Mert and I did helping out Dad Gunnar who was manager for so many years and continuing on playing after we left Wausa could you really appreciate the game and how if affected the lives of so many. And I still have many, many great memories and a few keepsakes from the early baseball years that I continue to display in my home and enjoy as much today as when they were happening then. If only the city of Wausa would construct a museum or provide a suitable someplace where they could be displayed I would be happy to share them for all to see and enjoy.

    I feel I need to respond to Milan Frey of Lincoln on his inquiry about Bob Gibson, the great Cardinal pitcher that he became. Wausa played against Bob Gibson three times in 1956. On June 10, the Swedes faced Gibson in Plainview, winning 6-4. Even though Gibson struck out 18, Wausa did score 6 runs with 6 hits and no home runs so there probably were some holes in the Plainview defense. The battery for Wausa was Bobby Johnson, Kenny Goeden and Roger Beals behind the plate. If memory serves me correctly, it was in this game that Gibson hit Dillon Neu, Wausa’s Gazette editor while at the plate and broke a couple ribs. I did not play in that game due to my truck driving job that kept me off the baseball field.

    The following week the Swedes again faced Gibson in Crofton with Gibson getting his revenge. Wausa lost that game 10-3 but were beginning to figure his fastball out as he struck out only 13 Swedes in that game. I was not able to play in that game either.

    The third time Wausa faced Gibson was at Wausa on August 13 and should be considered the classic game in Wausa Baseball annals. Word had gotten around the Wausa countryside about the rubber game against Bob Gibson and there were over 800 baseball fans at the Wausa ballpark in attendance for that one, probably a record that will continue to stand the test of time. What a game! Again, Bobby Johnson and Roger Beals were the Wausa battery. The first nine innings were scoreless and the 10th inning remained the same. No doubt the fans were getting their moneys worth in this one. In inning number 11, Crofton scored one run to give them the lead 1-0. I cannot recall the exact details of the Wausa bottom of the eleventh inning but I do vaguely recall our scoring one run to tie the game. With two outs, Gerald “Gundy” Gunderson came to the plate and knocked a single into center field scoring our base runner from third base to win the game. That base hit was no doubt heard for miles and miles around Wausa, bringing to an end, in my mind at least, the greatest baseball game every played at Gladstone Park. To be a part of this memorable game and to have played in it was something i continue to cherish. As I stated in my previous blurb to my Brother Mert, I did play in this game and do clearly recall having Gibson in the run-down between second and third and stepping on his hand when he tried to stop on the loose dirt. I did get one of the eight hits we got off Gibson during the game but the last one by “Gundy” that ended the game is the one that will be forever remembered. I am certain “Gundy” still remembers that time at bat against Gibson and cherishes it more than anyone.

    Even though we won the game, Gibson struck out 19 in the game. That summer was just a spring board for Gibson, who in 1957 went into the Cardinal organization and in 1959 started his outstanding career as a St. Louis Cardinal that would take him to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    In about 10 days, 56 years will have passed since this game was played. As they say, “gone but not forgotten” and certainly by the select few who played in the game, it is a lasting, lifelong memory never to be “forgotten”.

    I am certain there are many young boys in Wausa who may have never heard of this game or can associate with it. But, if you take some time out of your summer schedule or you are involved in any baseball program at Wausa, walk out to the mound at Gladstone Park and stand on it for a minute. For a short time, you will be where Bob Gibson was, then go stand at home plate as a right-hand batter. Now you will be where “Gundy” was. 60’60” is a short distance as you can see. Take a swing at an imaginary pitch of 90 or more miles an hour and feel the contact as the imaginary ball goes into centerfield for a base hit and scores the winning run from third base. Then hear the imaginary loud noise of the 800 fans and the players rushing out onto the field to congratulate “Gundy”. That is as close as you will ever be to the real happening but hopefully it will provide you with some perspective of how we felt being a part of the greatest game in Wausa baseball history.

  7. mert carlson says:

    A great story, brother, and why are we talking about all this on a website? I’m glad your memories trump mine because I was just the batboy at that time.

    To add a little perspective on 90+ mph I will try to help the readers digest what some of the physics on that pitch. a) if I can remember this right, any object moving at 1 mph, travels a distance of 1.47 ft per second. b.) at 90 mph, that pitch is approaching the plate at approx- imately 134 ft/second. c.)since the distance between the pitcher’s mound and home plate is 60′-6″, simple math (remember I’m a Swede), tells us that you have slightly less than 1/2 second to read the pitch, swing and actually hit the ball.

    For those not remembering Bobby Johnson, and what a terrific athlete he was, I don’t believe he was more than 5’8″ tall. He was a natural leader since he could do so by setting the trends via his play in the field, bases and dugout.

    I also was lucky enough to have ‘Big Lowell (Erickson)’ on our team when I played. He was yet another player that we all admired to watch. During the end of one inning, and at the start of the next, he would sprint out to his CF position and/or back into the dugout. His lead-by-example, and positive support in the dugout and on the bases, left you with pride that he was your teammate.

    It remains an easy task to describe the skills of each and every player that I can remember. I don’t recall our players to ever use profanity, much less do anything that was detrimental to the team. I know a few of them smoked and still had their burning butt in their mouth (in the ‘on deck-cirle)! The only hot-dogs you would find were located in the concession stand.

    We know Ronnie Johnson, Gerald Gunderson, Whitey Wamberg and Lowell Erickson are still paying taxes in Wausa. Concerning all the others, we should hope that they are living comfortably somewhere and possibly reading these ‘posts’.

    One of the very best, the one who taught me so much about how to play a better game of baseball, was Kenny Goeden. Having passed away due to a farm accident 19 years ago, the memories of his contributions to Wausa-baseball make your heart melt.

    “Thanks” to each of you for having posted on the ‘Tales’. I encourage others with fond memories of baseball, during any decade, to step to the plate and deliver a “Walk Off” comment or two. mc

  8. Milan A. Frey Lincoln, Nebraska says:

    Thanks for answering my question on whether Bob Gibson played in Wausa. I certainly received a play-by-play of those games. Wow!! So many great players during that time.

    A member of our coffee group and a former Wausa teacher/coach(?) said at one time Gibson played for a Pioneer Nite League team against Wausa and I knew that wasn’t correct (like so many stories he tells our group.) I think he told someone he played for Wausa at one time.

    Yes, Bob Gibson did play in Wausa and from the information in the write-ups and the note I received in the mail, Gibson broke the ribs of three different players with the same pitch.??? Which one is correct? Dillon Neu or Gerald Gunderson or JoAnne Koehler’s husband. Gibson pitched for Plainview and Crofton. Right?

    I can relate to your stories in some way. Having played for Pender with Sam Brewer (triple A Minneapolis) and Ernie Grant (Sioux City – Western League) and several UN-Lincoln players when I first started at age 16 (I gave up my last year of Legion ball to play in this league) We had a Bobbie Johnson (Emerson) who went on to play in the Yankee farm system in Branson, Mo . We played against great teams and players. Teams like Fremont and Wahoo (Bob Cerv). I tell everybody that I was drafted by UNCLE SAM. Our team had two hometown players and I was one of those players.

    Well, I could go on and on and I really enjoy the write-ups. The memories are great and the games and players get better as they are told by others.

  9. Gordon Carlson says:

    Thanks for the nice response Milan. I will try and answer your questions best as my memory will let me. There certainly were some excellent ball players on both Crofton and Wausa that memorable nite in 1956. Crofton was always at or near the top in the Elkhorn Valley Night League with Wausa and there were many games between the two teams that were hard fought and often decided by a single run. So many great players from these two teams and my Dad was always in the midst being the manager of the Wausa team for several years. That is why I still have such lasting memories of those games and players as I served as batboy for the Wausa team for a few years before playing and then was followed up by my Brother Mert.

    I have no recollection of Gibson playing for a Pioneer nite team against Wausa. He may have played for one of those Pioneer teams but not against Wausa.

    Gibson broke the ribs of only one Wausa player and that was Dillon Neu, who was Joanne Koehler’s husband. And it was not Gerald Gunderson. I can still see Dilly Neu walking around Wausa with elastic bandages on trying to heal his ribs. He sure took a lot of good ribbing (no pun intended) over it. Needless to say that episode with Gibson put his baseball playing days to rest. Gibson may have hit some other Wausa players but none that made the news. That hit on Neu was also a solid reminder to us that you did not want to get too planted in at home plate against Gibson. His control was pretty good but those 90+ MPH hummers could get away from him.

    Speaking of the Sioux City team in the Western League I was with the Soos briefly in 1957. I did not stick with them and Joe McDermott, Yankee Scout, wanted to sign me to play in their organization. I was all for it but my Dad did not like the Yankees at all and was instrumental in nixing that deal. Joe even came to Wausa a couple times working me out at Gladstone Park, trying to get me to sign a contract but Dad always nixed it. I ended signing with the Kansas City A’s, who are now the Oakland A’s. The scout that signed me was Marv Olson who had played second base for the Boston Red Sox. Dad liked the A’s and liked Marv so that is where I went. I still have the Wilson A2000 glove Marv bought me when I signed with him. Pretty ragged and I sure wished it could talk, what wonderful memories it could add those I still have.

    The Bobby Johnson you refer to out of Emerson was the same one we had with us for a few years. He was a great one and ended up playing for Bloomfield for several years after leaving Wausa. We had several memorable games against each other, I always dreaded seeing him come to the plate. And he turned out to be an excellent friend as he had the GM dealership in Bloomfield for a few years. I even bought a car from him. I had a chance to visit with him during our Gibson reunion in 2006. He was still as charming then as he had been in the earlier years. I knew he had been in the Yankee organization but did not know he played at Branson. I lived in Branson for four years and would have done some research on him had I been aware of it then.

    We were somewhat removed from the Pioneer Nite League but I always heard there were some great ones in that league. A few of the names you refer to come to mind, especially Bob Cerv. I wonder why we never played each other, traveling distances to play baseball in those days was not anything like it is today. No doubt those games would have added more great memories to what we have today.

    And I too, could go on and on but will end it with these notes. I hope they answer any questions you may have had. If not, let me know. Nice chatting with you.

    We still remember your great city of Lincoln. We moved there in 1964 and that is where I started my career with State Farm, out on East “O” Street. I drove through Lincoln last week on my way to visit our Son who lives in Denver.
    Best Regards.

  10. Gordon Carlson says:

    As I review the earlier missile I sent this afternoon, I must note the Gibson reunion was held 40 years after the big game, in 1996 and not 2006 as I erroneously stated.

    My addition and subtraction on Sunday afternoons has always been suspect, that is why I wait till Monday to balance my checkbook.

    Hope you enjoy the article..

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