Jack Kloza: Home Runs, Mosquitos, Hats and the Rockford Peaches

Like so many of the players I write about, I found Jack Kloza while searching for something else. And, like so many of the outsiders I write about, what at first just seemed like a marginal career highlighted by a brief cup of coffee in the majors, turned out to be a very interesting tale on so many levels. I was drawn to this fella because the grainy 1936 newspaper article I found showed a guy who looked remarkably like a young Charles Bronson. […]

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Buzz Arlett: Another Babe Ruth of the Minor Leagues

Today there would never be a “Babe Ruth of the Minor Leagues.” Once a player starts making headlines in AA or AAA he’s called up before the ink dries on the sports page. However, back in the 1920’s and 30’s, it was a different game and many guys like Buzz Arlett were doomed to spend their career just shy of the big time, remembered only as another “The Babe Ruth of the Minor Leagues.” […]

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Big Boy Kraft: Fifty-Five and Out

Clarence “Big Boy” Kraft was the power behind the 1919-1924 Fort Worth Panthers, one of the finest minor league teams of the pre-war era. His 55 homers in 1924 was the highest recorded in the minors up to that time and only second to Babe Ruth’s major league record of 59 he set in 1921. As could be expected, after that 1924 season, everyone wanted a piece of Big Boy… […]

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Joe Hauser: Leave him alone, he’s Our Joe!

In the five and a half decades after he retired in 1942, Joe Hauser was the go-to man for “what if”, “hard-luck” and “where is he now” baseball stories. Hauser’s career stretched from the Deadball Era of Ty Cobb through the Roarin’ Twenties of Babe Ruth and on into the hardscrabble Depression Era 1930’s. That he lived to be 98 years old made him one of the most interviewed ballplayers and a direct and priceless link back to the game’s Golden Age. […]

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Bob Crues: Chamberlined

For Bob Crues, his shot at having his own place in history came down to one night in Amarillo back in 1948. For 138 games, “Home Run Bob” had ripped apart West Texas-New Mexico League pitching. With one last game to play, Crues’ home run tally stood at 69. One more and he would break the record set by Joe Hauser in 1933. […]

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