1910s – 1920s Joplin Miners

In honor of the soon to be named Joplin baseball team, here’s one more photograph of Joplin’s longest lasting professional team, the Miners from some time in the 1910s to 1920s.

Unfortunately, this is a private photograph with no labeled names or dates, so the scowling fellow will have to go down nameless into posterity.  We will never know what irritated him approximately 100 years ago.  For a large version of the image, just click on the photograph.

1928 and 1930 Joplin Miners

In celebration of the return of professional baseball to Joplin, here are team photographs from Joplin’s baseball past.  Below are photographs of the Joplin Miners, the first from 1928 and the second from 1930. As usual, for a larger version, just click on the photo.

Here are the names of players as numbered: 1) Red Becker, 2) Bill Diester, 3) Ted Willis, 4) Connelly, 5) Martin, 6) Frank Sidle, 7) Poirier, 8) Mitchell, 9) Delabetta, 10) Reilly, 11) House, 12) Manager Marty Purtell, 13) Brauchle, 14) Jack Hinson, 15) Robinson, 16) Jack Crouch

 

The names of the players as numbered: 1) Mallett, 2) Grant, 3) Novak, 4) Harry Kimberlin, 5) David Cheeves, 6) Bob Boken, 7) Ellison, 8) Byron Humphrey, 9) Bill Diester, 10) Ed Kallina, 11) Griffith, 12) Business Manager Wilson, 13) James Bray, 14) Emery Osborn, 15) Cato, 16) Manager Cotton Tierney, 17) Edward Halbert, 18) Luke Corbus, 19) Scofield

Joplin Miners: 1910 Western Association Champs

Our next photograph in the Joplin Miners series is the 1910 Joplin Miners.

1910 Joplin Miners: 1) Richard Rohn, 2) Marc Hall, 3) Ralph Bell, 4) George Watson, 5) Bruce Ross, 6) Harry Ellis, 7) Howie Gregory, 8 ) Ed Hawk, 9) W. Burton, 10) Earl Hamilton, 11) Thomas Harlow, 12) Lowthers, 13)Joe Kelly, 14) Bert Lamb.

In 1910, the Joplin Miners finished first in the Western Association and played their games at Cox Baseball Park. Richard Rohn, aka, Dick Rohn, was a hold over from the 1907 team. Ed Hawk, from Exeter, Missouri, made it to the St. Louis Browns in the Majors. While Joe Kelly went on to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, and the Boston Braves.

Joplin Miners: 1907

Baseball was an ever present pastime in Joplin, be it amateur or professional. Of the latter, the Miners held Joplin’s attention. In addition to our current series from the portfolio of Alfred W. Rea, we are going to present a short series of four team photographs of the Joplin Miners. Our first is the team from 1907:

1907 Joplin Miners

The 1907 Joplin Miners: 1) Owens, 2) Sylvester Oleson, 3) Charles Flemming, 4) Roy Gill, 5) Dick Rohn, 6) Jack Fillman, 7) Tony Vanderhill, 8 ) Manager Louis Armstrong, 9) Guy Harrington, 10) Abner Persch, 11) Conrad Welsch, 12) William George, 13) John Root, 14) Cecil Bankhead.

The 1907 Joplin Miners played at Cox Baseball Park in the Western Association League. Both Vanderhill and Fillman were “veteran” players who had played on previous Miners teams.

Be Like The Mick

A photo of the Miners from some time around 1910, possibly at Cox Field.

Long an institution of Joplin, the Miners baseball team entertained Joplin crowds for more than half a century. Among one of their greatest, if not greatest, players to wear the name Joplin emblazoned across the chest, was Mickey Mantle. For the low price of nearly $200 (okay, not that low), you can own a replica of the 1950 jersey that the Mick wore courtesy of Ebbets.com.  It’s a bit of flannel history.

 

Baseball, Not Just For The Adults

While we’ve discovered the baseball in Joplin played by men who were paid, and by those who weren’t, the sport wasn’t limited to adults. In the below photograph, we’ve a team of boys, perhaps a high school team, who had banded together to form a formidable looking team. Who knows, perhaps one of them eventually found himself donning a Miners’ uniform.

Perhaps a high school baseball team from Joplin's earlier days.

 

 

 

 

Source: Historic Joplin Collection

Twisters, Cyclones, and Tornadoes of Joplin’s Past: Part I

The tornado of May 22 was the worst to strike Joplin, but it was not the first.

In May, 1883, a tornado swept through Joplin and the news accounts of the event appear to echo recent events. Just this past week, a story about Laverne the cat, who was rescued after being trapped in the rubble after sixteen days aired on local news stations. In 1883, Charley Elliott’s dog was “in his store building when it fell. He was dug out next morning pretty badly bruised, but after a few hours he was alright. There were acts of generosity. E.R. Moffett, who would later die impoverished, walked up to an “old friend who he had worked with before he became a millionaire. ‘Crit, I’m damned sorry, I’m sorry $500,” and then gave a five hundred dollar check to the relief fund. Citizens scrambled to help each other. Judge Byers was “constantly busy distributing supplies to the needy who lost their all by the wild winds.” Doctors Fannie Williams and Mrs. Creech did “good work for the suffering ladies who were injured” during the storm. Miss Fannie Hall of Carthage gave her all to assist the suffering at the hospital. Oronogo, also hard hit by the storm, was the focus of a relief committee made up of some of Joplin’s leading socialites: Mrs. L.P. Cunningham, Mrs. J.B. Sergeant, Mrs. J.C. Gaston, and Mrs. Thomas Heathwood. Together these women sought to collect food, clothing, and bedding for those effected by the storm.

For others, the tornado brought excitement and curiosity. The Daily Herald remarked, “Some of the visitors Monday night seemed to regard the occasion in the light of a picnic. Frivolities and flirtations were engaged in that would have been regarded impudent at a circus. No apparent sympathy was exhibited for the crippled, bereaved, and homeless, while silly children took the place of sober sense.” Sightseers came to stare at a “bushel basket that lodged in the top of a large tree near the railroad track.” Telegraph poles at the train depot reportedly looked like “they had passed through a storm of musketry.”

And then there were those that lost their lives. Preliminary reports reported that the bodies of a Mr. Goodwin and his daughter were killed by the tornado. It is unknown how many others lost their lives.

The next significant tornado to hit Joplin was in April, 1902. The News-Herald proclaimed it was, “[The] Worst That Joplin Has Known.” A wind, hail, and rain storm converged upon Joplin around 4:25 p.m. in the afternoon in an area described as covering “Seventh Street on the north and as far as Seventeenth Street on the south” with the worst areas at Moffett and Bird streets from Thirteenth to Sixteenth streets and at Moonshine Hill. Property along Main and Ninth streets received substantial damage.

The News-Herald reporter must have not known about the Tornado of 1883 as they declared, “As Joplin has never experienced a real tornado, the people were unprepared and as it came upon them so unexpectedly, it as a wonder that more fatalities are not recorded.” Telephone and trolley poles were twisted beyond recognition making communication with neighboring communities impossible. Streetcars were unable to run due to the lack of electricity and piles of debris covering the tracks. One car caught at Twelfth and Main, Car Number 41, was struck by a telephone pole. Passengers inside were “thoroughly frightened and several actually said their prayers.” Strong wind was not the only threat to human lives. The pole was described as having fifteen double cross arms with three large cables and several hundred telephone wires. Workers roped off the street to prevent traffic and pedestrians from going near the car. Passengers shakily disembarked and walked home on foot.

Illustration of the damage from the tornado.

A “solid sheet of water, besides some hail” fell, causing people to hide inside their homes. Willow Branch, the Tenth Street branch, and other small streams in and around Joplin began to flood, leaving many to seek dry ground as the streams became “turbulent torrent[s] of water, mud, and wreckage.”

The storm indiscriminately took human lives and property. It was reported that the two room house of William Hunter, who lived on the east side of Moonshine Hill, was carried for a long distance before it shattered. Mrs. Hunter, holding her baby Esther in her arms, was about to flee the house when the storm hit. A plank of wood flew past and hit her child in the head, mortally wounding it, while Mrs. Hunter sustained serious injuries. Her husband, a miner, was at work at the Dividend Mine when the storm rolled through Joplin. A neighbor, Charley Whitehead, came to Mrs. Hunter’s rescue. Other residents of Moonshine Hill suffered the same fate. Will Douglass’ home was obliterated. Lee Whitehead [perhaps related to Charley] and family also lost their home. The Methodist church on Moonshine Hill was a complete loss.

Arthur Cox, owner of Cox Baseball Park, was one of the “heaviest losers.” The storm destroyed the baseball park’s fence, the grand stand’s roof ripped off, and sustained overall heavy damage. The losses were estimated at $1,000. Cox, however, was not one to stand idly by. Within a day, W.J. Wagy was hired to rebuild the park in time for a game just a day after the tornado struck.

The Joplin Miners

The Joplin Miners of 1902 who temporarily lost their home.

At the corner of West Ninth and Tenth streets, several homes were damaged, if not utterly ruined. An African-American family named Smith lost their house and P.B. Moser’s home was demolished. A.J. Stockton was fortunate – he only lost his kitchen.

For the impoverished residents who lived in “shanties” north of the Missouri Pacific roundhouse between Grand Avenue and the Frisco and Kansas City Southern tracks, their impermanent residences were blown away.

White and black churches were not left untouched. The First Baptist Church was “badly wrecked.” The Methodist Episcopal Church’s South Mission location at Tenth and Grand was “completely wiped away.” The African Methodist Episcopal Church on East Seventh street was also destroyed. Despite being a substantial frame structure, the roof was torn off and the walls subsequently caved in.

St. John's Hospital

The nuns at St. John’s Hospital were “buffeted and blown about by the wind as they strove in vain to keep out the sheets of water thrown against the west end south of the building which stands high and unprotected.”

Property damage was estimated at $50,000 and an estimated fifty to sixty houses destroyed. As soon as the storm passed, “ambulances and relief crews found work to do for many hours.” Mayor John C. Trigg released a proclamation that read:

“To the Citizens of Joplin – Authentic information having been received that the cyclone which visited the city of Joplin on yesterday, caused incalculable damage to many of our citizens and has been especially destructive to the poorer classes of our citizens in many instances to the extent of destroying everything they owned, leaving them destitute, houseless and homeless.

Therefore, for the purpose of alleviating the distress which prevails in the city and vicinity and to devise ways and means by the organization of relief corps, or by such practicable methods as may be suggested and agreed upon at a meeting of the citizens is hereby called to be held at the Commercial Club rooms, on the 25 inst., at the hour of 3 o’clock p.m. to consider the premises and take such appropriate action as may be deemed necessary therein.”

Mayor John C. Trigg

Joplin has always taken care of its own in times of need. When the committee met, it was agreed that many of those effected by the storm were impoverished miners who were in badly need of assistance, and a relief fund was created. Thomas W. Cunningham reported that when he checked on his rental properties in the damaged section of town he found that one of the families renting from him had been forced to cut their way out of the house. He decided that they “deserved the house” and “made them a deed for it.” His act of kindness was heartily applauded. It was thought that the family was that of I.W. Reynolds who lived at Thirteenth and Ivy. Mr. Wolfarth of Junge Baking Company pledged free bread to those in need. Arthur Cox and Don Stuart pledged the proceeds of the next baseball game to the relief fund. The Wilbur-Kirwin Opera Company decided to give a benefit performance for Joplin’s tornado victims.

Joplin rebuilt only to face another tornado six years later in 1908. That story and more in our next installment.

[Conclusion of Part I]

Joplin’s Pulitzer Prize Winning Baseball Player

“A great gentleman, a great writer, has gone.”  So concluded an obituary in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of the journalist Bart Howard.  Among the many newspaper writers to pass through Joplin on the staffs of the News Herald and the Globe, Howard is among the most prominent.

Bart Howard was born in Worchester, Massachusetts in 1871.  As a boy he walked the privileged halls of Phillips Exeter Academy.  He attended Williams College where he excelled at athletics.  Howard did not graduate from the school, but left early after upsetting the faculty with a paper which mocked certain giants of Greek history.  From New England Howard eventually made his way to Joplin around 1901 and found a job with the News Herald.  He initially provided coverage of Joplin’s triumphs and failures in the Missouri Valley baseball league.  Howard had developed a love for the game in college, and briefly played professionally as a left handed second baseman as a means to supplement the meager income of a young journalist.

Howard did not remain merely a sports writer, but expanded to general news coverage.  After a few years, the talented journalist was noticed by the owners of the Globe and they hired Howard away from their competitor and placed him on the editorial staff of the Globe.  At the Globe, Howard rose to the position of managing editor, and oversaw Ben H. Reese, later a managing editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Wesley Winans Stout, later an editor of the Saturday Evening Post.  It was also during his time in Joplin that Howard met and married Ann Picher, of the mining company Pichers.

For a number of years Howard worked at the Joplin Globe until once again his ability was noticed and this time hired by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  In the Gateway City, he worked as a journalist before a brief return to Joplin, then found work in Columbus, Ohio and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Ultimately, Howard returned to St. Louis and the Post-Dispatch and became an editorial writer.  It was in this capacity that Howard won the Pulitzer Prize in May, 1940 for a series of four editorials entitled, “Europe’s Emperor,” “After the Battle,” “The Golden Age,” and “The Kingdom of Democracy.”  Not long after his win, Williams College opted to make their former student a Doctor of Humane Letters.

Howard was unable to enjoy his laurels.  On February 12, 1941, he collapsed at lunchtime, dead of a heart attack.  The Globe made sure to note the passage of its one time editor, a man who had traded the plush and privileged world of Massachusetts for the rough and tumble streets of Joplin.  Howard may have also been one of the few professional baseball players to ever win the coveted Pulitzer.  The Post-Dispatch printed summaries of the four editorials which had won Howard his great literary prize, and wrote lovingly of its former writer.  An editorial by the paper said of Howard’s writings:

“Behind his writings was, above all, a great and passionate love for humanity and for justice.  It was a humanitarian sense, a warm affection for all his fellows, that embraced their every activity.  He could breathe righteous indignation into his pages of copy paper, when oppression or intolerance or corruption came into the news.  The leavening shaft of humor served to debunk the pretensions of the pompous, or to reduce a raging controversy to its proper teapot proportions, but Bart Howard had a flaming sword in that typewriter when there were wrongs to oppose.”

The Post-Dispatch, as noted above, then concluded, “A great gentleman, a great writer, has gone.”

Sources: Missouri Digital Heritage, St. Louis Post Dispatch, and Joplin Daily Globe.

The O’Hickeys – Joplin Baseball in the 1890′s

Before the Miners, baseball in Joplin took the form of amateur teams that emerged from a variety of places, such as the Joplin Bankers. Another such team was “The O’Hickeys.”

The O’Hickeys, which existed for several years in the 1890s, claimed an undefeated streak. Their practice ground was none other than the Kansas City Bottoms. The team was composed of an eclectic group of men of varying backgrounds, united only by the fact that all the men lived at the O’Hickey boarding house. Among them was the owner of the boarding house, third baseman “Cap” O’Hickey (seated fourth from the left – presumably in the white shirt). The gentleman in the center foreground with the baseball bat across his lap was the manager of the Keystone Laundry, Joe. W. Walker, and behind him, the Keystone Laundry bookkeeper, Charley Ryus.

A mine operator and O’Hickey catcher, Bill Borey, is the fellow seated to the right of Ryus and in his hands is an unnamed team mascot. To the right of the team mascot and Borey, dressed in a “natty white outfit” is Ralph Moore. Reportedly, Moore began as a jeweler’s assistant but ended up a successful Vaudeville actor. Robert Norris, a coal dealer, is seated to the right of Moore. Finally, the team was rounded out in the photograph by John Mathes, a dry candy manufacturer, who is standing next to o’Hickey and Ryus. Not pictured, but a member of the team was Joe Tucker, a former Southern Association pitcher.

Joplin Miners, 1902 – 1904 Team Photos

For today’s post, we thought we’d toss in something new with a couple things previously seen just for the fun of having a comparison.  That comparison is the Joplin Miners, from 1902 to 1904, in team photographs.  In chronological order, three years worth of the Joplin Miners baseball team.

A March 21, 1902 article, accompanied by a not very flattering sketch of pitcher Arthur Ragan, reported of some of the men pictured below:

“The local management received contracts yesterday from Andrew Brophy, one of last year’s most popular players and who will again be behind the bat for Joplin, from C.W. Wickizer, a heavy hitter with Nevada last year, and who is considered one of the best utility men in the southwest, from Arthur Ragan of Cherokee, Kas., a pitcher whose work will interest the fans for, while his engagement with Joplin will be his first professional ball, competent judges who have seen the young man work, declare that he is a comer. “

The Joplin Miners

The Joplin Miners of 1902

Top Row – Wright Wickizer, catcher; an unnamed pitcher; Bert Dunn, pitcher; Claud Marcum, manager; Arthur “Rip” Reagan, pitcher; Peck Harrington, catcher and outfielder; and Lefty Greer, pitcher.  Middle Row – Earl Taylor, pitcher, Don Stewart, secretary of the club; Arthur “Art” Cox, treasurer of the club; and William “Dolly” Gray, first baseman.  Bottom Row – Bert “Monk” Senter, shortstop; Jimmie Underwood, outfielder; Fred Tullar, third base; and Dick Bayless, outfielder.

1903 Joplin Miners

The 1903 Joplin Miners

The 1903 Miners: 1. Morton; 2. Lowell; 3. Adam; 4. Stoner; 5. Wickheiser; 6. Woliver; 7. McCullough; 8. Evans; 9. Allen, Captain; 10. Weldy; 11. Jones; 12. Fillman; 13. Driscoll; 14. Herrington; 15. Roedell.

1904 Joplin Miners

1904 Joplin Miners

Sources: Historic Joplin Collection, Joplin Daily Globe