Carey Selph (Trading Card DB)

Carey Selph

This article was written by John J. Watkins

Carey Selph (Trading Card DB)When the legendary University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant was growing up in Arkansas in the 1920s, he and his friends eagerly followed the exploits of quarterback Carey Selph of Ouachita Baptist College in Arkadelphia.1 Then called “the greatest football player in Arkansas,”2 Selph was a fierce competitor who “simply believed no team could beat the one he quarterbacked on the field.”3 He led the Ouachita Tigers to undefeated seasons in 1924 and 1925.4

Selph’s competitive drive extended to the diamond, first at Ouachita and then in professional baseball. Although his brief major-league career – one season each with the Cardinals and White Sox – was hampered by injury, his aggressive, hard-nosed play made him a fan favorite and team leader on two Texas League champions that went on to win the Dixie Series. As a minor-league manager, he expected his players “to never stop fighting until the last man is out in the ninth inning of the last game of the year.”5

He took losses hard. In 1933, his first season as a manager, his Houston Buffaloes finished first in the regular season, having led almost wire-to-wire. However, the fourth-place San Antonio Missions swept the Buffs in the first round of the newly implemented Shaughnessy playoffs. “We beat everybody but this guy Shaughnessy,” a downcast Selph lamented after the last game.6

Carey Isom Selph was born December 5, 1901, to Robert Madison Selph and Mary Emma (Goza) Selph in Donaldson, Arkansas, a hamlet in Hot Spring County about 60 miles southwest of Little Rock.7 Robert was killed in a sawmill accident when Carey was 3 years old, and Mary thereafter moved to nearby Arkadelphia, where she operated a boarding house to support her daughter and three sons.8

Carey excelled in high school sports, as did his brothers Ira and Leland. They were able to attend Ouachita Baptist College (now a university) with the assistance of R.H. Greene, a local businessman and banker who was the benefactor of many students lacking financial resources.9 All three Selph boys played for the Ouachita Tigers, but Carey – the middle brother – was the star.

As the Tigers’ quarterback from 1922-1925, Carey guided Ouachita (enrollment then 350) to wins over much-larger schools, including Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, and the University of Arkansas, as well as the aforementioned undefeated seasons.10 In an oft-recounted 1925 game, he even drop-kicked a 45-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to avoid an upset.11 “Carey Selph could do anything with a football except eat it,” a contemporary told a reporter many years later. “Maybe he could have done that, too, but he never had to.”12

Ouachita coach Morley Jennings, a four-sport star at Mississippi State,13 was playing professional baseball in the summers when he arrived on the Arkadelphia campus in the fall of 1912.14 He was primarily a shortstop for a dozen years in the minors, eight in the American Association, and had a cup of coffee with the Washington Senators in 1913. His best season was in 1915, when he hit .307 and helped the Minneapolis Millers win the American Association pennant.15

Jennings mentored Selph in baseball as well as football. The star quarterback lettered in baseball for three years and in the summers toiled for semi-pro teams in the region.16 In 1925, his last season at Ouachita, Selph played shortstop and batted a robust .525. “He is regarded as the equal of any shortfielder that ever played with the Tigers,” a Little Rock newspaper reported, “and his friends expect him to follow in the footsteps of Aaron Ward and Travis Jackson, former Ouachita players now in the major leagues.”17 Both ex-Tigers were in New York City: Ward at second base with the Yankees, Jackson at shortstop for the Giants.

A scout for the St. Louis Cardinals, Jack Ryan, recommended that the club sign Selph but move him to second base. Although Selph could make the long throws required of a shortstop, Ryan learned that the collegian developed a sore arm when he played two or three games in a week.18 In December 1925, Cardinals vice president Branch Rickey offered Selph a contract, with the expectation that he report to spring training the following March.19 He signed in February.20

From 1926 through 1934, Selph played professional baseball, all but one of his nine seasons in the Cardinals’ organization. Football remained part of his life, however, and his decision to make it so impacted his baseball career. He returned to Ouachita as assistant football coach after the 1926 and 1927 baseball seasons – at Class C Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Double-A Syracuse, respectively – and completed work on his B.A. degree.21 In the following three offseasons, he held the same position at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where Jennings, his coach at Ouachita, had taken the top job.

During a practice at Baylor in 1928, Selph became so enthused that he took part in a scrimmage, injuring a knee.22 The following spring, he was in line for the Cardinals’ second-base job, with veteran Frankie Frisch moving to third.23 In a March 24 exhibition game, however, Selph reinjured the knee in a collision with Philadelphia A’s third baseman Sammy Hale and was carried off the field.24 “Selph had virtually won a regular job when he injured his leg,” Rickey said soon after the season started.25

Selph made the club as a reserve infielder but saw little action, batting .235 in 25 games. He made his major-league debut on May 25, when he grounded out on the first pitch he saw as a pinch-hitter in an extra-inning Cardinals win over the Cubs.26 In July, he started seven games at second base while Frisch was nursing a charley horse, but that tour of duty ended at Brooklyn on July 13 when he reinjured his knee and again was carried off the field.27 He did not return to the lineup until September 15, and his biggest contribution of the season came 11 days later: a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth that drove in the winning run against Pittsburgh to clinch fourth place and a share of World Series money.28

On September 29, Selph married Carra Veazey, a Ouachita graduate and accomplished musician, in Russellville, Arkansas. He made a whirlwind trip. After departing St. Louis, Selph stopped to scout the University of Arkansas football team in Fayetteville for its upcoming game against Baylor before proceeding to Russellville, about 100 miles to the southeast. Following the wedding, the couple quickly left for Waco, where Selph began his second season as assistant football coach at Baylor.29

Selph and his new wife decided to make their home in Houston. They moved to the city after the football season ended, and Selph began work as a salesman at a local insurance agency, W.H. Kirkland & Co.30 That job ultimately would replace football coaching as his offseason employment and lead to his post-baseball career.

The Cardinals optioned Selph to the Houston Buffs in January 1930, a move that was greeted in Houston with considerable fanfare. “Carey was the best second baseman in the Texas League in 1928, when he was one of the prime factors in winning a pennant and the Dixie Series for the Buffaloes,” said the Houston Chronicle. “Perhaps Selph may be the key to another pennant winner back at his old place.”31

In 1928, Buffs had won 104 games, brought home Houston’s first pennant since 1913, and defeated Southern Association winner Birmingham in the Dixie Series.32 In the series clincher against the Barons, Selph went 4-for-5 with a home run.33 He hit .312 during the regular season, posted a .971 fielding percentage, and was the choice at second base on an all-star team selected by sportswriters around the league.34 “He came up with balls that seemed impossible to touch, much less to knock down and turn into putouts,” a Houston sportswriter said. “But Selph was most valuable because of his fight and his determination to win.”35

The 1930 season was not a reprise of 1928 for the Buffs, who finished second in both halves of the split-season and missed the playoff, despite having the league’s second-best overall record.36 Selph re-injured his knee in spring training,37 and during the season he wore a cumbersome brace that slowed him down and on defense made it difficult to go to his left.38 Although his fielding percentage dropped to .951, he hit .343, sixth in the league among players with at least 100 games.

After another offseason coaching stint at Baylor39 – his last – Selph went through spring training in 1931 untroubled by his knee.40 Once the season was underway, a sportswriter pronounced the leg “as good as new” and said that Selph, who had been named the Buffs’ captain, was “covering 100 percent more ground” than he did in 1930.41 Selph’s good health was good news for the Buffs. He was “the sparkplug of the Houston team”42 that won 108 games, one short of the league record, en route to the pennant. The only disappointment was a loss to Birmingham in the Dixie Series.43

Selph, who hit .322 and led the league with 116 runs scored, won plaudits from the press and his opponents. One Houston sportswriter opined that he “ranks with the greatest second basemen in the league’s history.”44 Dallas manager Hap Morse put it this way: “Take Selph off [the] Houston club, and you’ll wreck a championship team; put him on any other team in the league, and you’ve just about made a champion out of it.”45 Again named to the all-star team at second base,46 Selph also was runner-up in the league MVP voting to teammate Dizzy Dean, a 26-game winner with a 1.57 ERA.47

At the end of September, the Chicago White Sox acquired Selph in the Rule 5 draft. The Chicago Tribune portrayed the $6,000 deal as a steal, citing reports that the Cardinals were planning to recall Selph from Houston for another trial with the parent club.48 However, St. Louis had another promising second baseman in its farm system, Burgess Whitehead, who in 1931 hit .328 at Double-A Columbus. And according to a Houston sportswriter, the Cardinals were aware that Selph would not report to the White Sox or any other team that drafted him. “His business future rests in Houston; his home is here,” wrote Kern Tips in the Houston Chronicle. “He would quit baseball before he would play for any other club.”

Three weeks later, Selph announced that he would play baseball only in Houston. “I believe that when the White Sox realize I am sincere in this declaration they will make no effort to force me to play in Chicago,” explained Selph, who was said to have built up a thriving insurance business in Houston.49 The White Sox, however, “wired him [that] he will play at Chicago or nowhere.”50 Selph capitulated. When the White Sox opened their training camp the following spring, he reported on time and promptly signed his contract.51

In the wake of the Black Sox scandal that broke in late in the 1920 season, Chicago finished no higher than fifth from 1921 through 1930, and in 1931 finished dead last. The 1932 team, under new manager Lew Fonseca, finished seventh but won only 49 games, a franchise low, and set a club record for lowest attendance.

For his part, Selph batted .283 in 116 games with a .712 OPS. He struck out only nine times and had streaks of 45 and 43 games without striking out, separated by a single contest in which he fanned as a pinch-hitter.52 On defense, Selph was the team’s principal third baseman. It was an alien position for him. The Sox had drafted him with second base in mind, but that plan changed when the club acquired Jackie Hayes in a trade with Washington two months later.53 In 71 games at third, 69 as a starter, Selph posted a .910 fielding percentage, by far the lowest of his professional career but best among the nine Sox players who appeared at the position. He also played 26 games at his familiar second base spot, starting 24, with a .946 fielding percentage.

Selph “failed to sparkle as a fielder” at third base, Chicago sportswriter Irving Vaughan summed up, “although [he was] fairly capable with the bat.”54 On November 2, 1932, the White Sox sent him and outfielder Jack Rothrock to the Cardinals’ Columbus farm club to complete a deal made for Evar Swanson in September. In Houston, the assumption was that Selph would ultimately return to the Buffs. “I didn’t want to leave Houston in the first place,” Selph told the Houston Chronicle. “And maybe this deal is working to bring me back to the Buffs.”55

Selph’s assessment proved correct; the Buffs acquired him from Columbus on December 24 in a cash transaction. “This deal tickles me to death,” he said. “I’ll be in great shape next spring. My knee doesn’t bother me any more, and I was stronger last year than I ever have been.”56 There was speculation at the time that he would be the club’s manager as well, a common cost-cutting move as the Great Depression deepened. The Buffs formally announced Selph as player-manager less than three weeks later.57

One of Selph’s more challenging tasks as a manager in 1933 came during spring training, when Elmer Dean, Dizzy’s older brother, arrived in camp. Elmer had played some semi-pro ball in Arkansas – emphasis on the “semi” – and it fell to Selph to determine the rookie’s best position. He did not fit in on the mound, in the infield, or in the outfield, so eventually Houston released him.58 However, Elmer, who was intellectually disabled, was given a job as a peanut vendor at Houston’s Buffalo Stadium and proved to be a great success. “Get your goobers here,” he would yell, “and I’ll tell you how I taught Dizzy Dean to pitch. He’s my brother.”59

Selph guided the Buffs to a 94-57 record and a first-place finish in the regular season, the first in several years that was not divided into halves. The club spent only seven days out of the lead,60 and the players shared a $1,000 bonus from the league for finishing in the top spot.61 But in the league’s first use of the Shaugnessy playoffs, Houston was swept in the opening round by the fourth-place San Antonio Missions, who had lost 16 of 22 games to the Buffs in the regular season and finished 15 games back with a 79-72 record.62 Eighteen years later, the Houston press still was complaining about the “dice shoot” playoffs that cost the Buffs the pennant.63

As a player, Selph had a good year. He set a Texas League record for second basemen: most consecutive errorless games, 45, during which he handled 276 chances.64 His .981 fielding percentage, the best of his career, led the league at his position. On offense, Selph hit .310, best on the club and fifth in the league among players with more than 100 games. He also led the team in doubles with 40, ranking fifth in the league. Selph was named to his third all-star team and was again runner-up in voting for the league MVP, trailing Dallas first baseman Zeke Bonura by two points.65

In 1934, the Buffs and their fans were grateful for the Shaughnessy system, as it was their only hope for a championship. The team played below .500 most of the season but swept two doubleheaders in the first week of September66 to even its record at 74-74 and move within 2½ games of fourth-place Dallas with six games remaining.67 Houston then lost to Beaumont in a sloppy game,68 and on September 6 Dallas beat Oklahoma City to clinch fourth place and a spot in the playoffs.69 The Buffs finished sixth at 76-78, and Selph was the only regular who hit above .300. His .324 average tied for fifth in the league, and he ranked first among second basemen with a .969 fielding percentage.70

In mid-November, Selph retired from baseball to devote all of his time to his insurance business.71 When Fred Ankenman stepped down as president of the Buffs in 1942, he chose an all-star team of players from his 22 seasons with the club. Selph was the second baseman.72 Two years earlier, no less an authority than Branch Rickey had praised Selph’s managerial acumen. “If Carey had stayed in baseball,” Rickey said, “he would be a big-league manager now.”73

Upon leaving the Buffs, Selph was employed full time by Houston-based Great Southern Life Insurance Company, where he had worked the previous offseason.74 He kept his hand in baseball, however; in February 1935, he was elected president of the Houston Amateur Baseball Federation, a position he held for four years.75 He also played amateur ball on a team fielded by First Baptist Church; in his May 4 debut, he played third base and contributed a double in a 3-0 win over Zion Lutheran.76

Selph and his wife, Carra, decided to start a family after he left professional baseball, and she became pregnant in 1935. However, tragedy struck December 24, when Carra died giving birth to their daughter, Carey Veazey Selph, at a Houston hospital.77 For the next three years, Selph immersed himself in his church, his job, and his work with amateur baseball.

A devout Baptist, Selph was chosen a deacon in his church, South Main Baptist, and director of its teaching program for young people.78 He was also a lay leader who spoke at other Baptist churches in the city.79 At Great Southern Life, Selph became one of the insurance company’s leading salesmen. In 1938 he produced more than $1 million worth of business, earning membership in the Million Dollar Round Table.80 And as president of the amateur baseball federation, he spearheaded a major effort to expand youth leagues in Houston.81

On April 10, 1939, Selph married Faye Tucker of Barksdale, Texas, in San Antonio. The ceremony was performed by Rev. E.H. Westmoreland, who had been Selph’s classmate at Ouachita and was then pastor at South Main Baptist Church.82 Just over a year later, Faye gave birth to their only child, daughter Ouita, whose name is a contraction of Ouachita. Born prematurely and weighing less than 2 pounds, she was not expected to survive. “Not one chance in a thousand,” the doctors said, but she defied the odds.83

Selph remained active in baseball, serving as director of the annual Houston Post semi-pro tournament 1940 and 1943-1944 and as a member of the tournament committee in 1945.84 The event, which he helped launch in 1935, held “a cherished spot on the Houston baseball calendar for a full 20 years.”85 He also played ball on occasion, usually in a game staged for charity.86

In the summer of 1949, Selph and longtime friend John Froelich opened Ozark Boys Camp in southwest Arkansas near the small town of Mt. Ida. The camp, situated on a 180-acre tract alongside the Ouachita River, offered two five-week sessions for boys ages 7-16. Activities included baseball, basketball, tennis, archery, hiking, fishing, and float-trips. A nine-hole golf course was added later.87

Pat Ankeman, who played for Selph on the 1934 Buffs and later managed in the minors himself, acquired Froelich’s interest in the camp in 1952 and six years later became its sole owner.88 The camp added a session for girls in 1977 and was renamed Camp Ozark; it went co-ed two years later.89 Ankenman turned over management of the camp to an employee in 1979 and sold it in 1985. The camp continued to grow and remains in operation today.90

Selph maintained his home in Houston and continued to work in the insurance business. He ultimately left Great Southern and in 1953 was with United Fidelity Life Insurance when he attained life membership in the Leaders Roundtable of Texas, “the highest honor for underwriters in the life insurance industry in Texas.”91 His baseball activity was limited to occasional old-timers’ games, including an exhibition in 1961 to mark the final season of minor-league baseball in Houston before the Colt .45s joined the National League the following year.92

Selph was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1962 and the Texas League Hall of Fame in 2007.93 Ouachita Baptist University named him a distinguished alumnus in 1964 and inducted him into its Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004, along with his coach, Morley Jennings.94

On February 24, 1976, Selph died at age 74 in Houston after a long battle with cancer. He was survived by his wife Faye, both of his daughters, and five grandchildren.95 Selph was buried near his parents at Pleasant Hill Haven of Rest Cemetery, about five miles east of Donaldson, Arkansas. His wife Faye and their daughter, Ouita, later were interred there as well.96

“Death,” a longtime sportswriter commented, “was the only opponent able to stop Carey Selph.”97



This biography was reviewed by Gregory H. Wolf and Mike Eisenbath and fact-checked by Paul Proia.

The author also would like to thank Cassidy Lent, manager of reference services at the National Baseball Hall of Fame Giamatti Research Center, for her assistance.



In addition to the sources cited in the notes, the author consulted the SABR Bio-Project, Carey Selph’s player file at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and his player contract card maintained by The Sporting News, available at



1 Jim Bailey, “The Bear Not Thinking About the Hogs – Yet,” Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), December 15, 1979: 1B.

2 “Ouachita Wins State Title by Crushing Reddies, 46-7,” Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), November 27, 1925: 19.

3 W.H. Halliburton, “Ouachita Was Undefeated for Many Seasons,” Arkansas Democrat (Little Rock), November 1, 1953: magazine, 8.

4 “Ouachita Football Year-by-Year History,”, accessed November 23, 2022.

5 “Selph Promises Fans a Fighting, Hustling Club of Buffs This Year,” Houston Chronicle, January 12, 1933: 13.

6 “Missions Sweep Buff Series,” San Antonio Light, September 10, 1933: sports, 1.

7 Birth certificate of Carey Isom Selph, State of Arkansas Bureau of Vital Statistics, available on

8 “Ouachita to Honor Selph, A.B. Hill,” Arkansas Democrat (Little Rock), May 3, 1964: 9A.

9 “R.H. Greene of Arkadelphia Dies,” Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), August 29, 1933: 5. “He helped a lot of boys,” Selph once said, “but I doubt he helped any as much as he did me.” Jim Bailey, “The Man Who Did It All,” Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), January 15, 1962: 1B.

10 Jimmy Wilder, “Deception Was Carey Selph’s Key to Ouachita’s Grid Glory,” Arkansas Democrat (Little Rock), January 14, 1962: 1B; Ouachita Football Year-by-Year History.

11 “Selph Beats Mountaineers With Long Kick for Goal,” Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), October 25, 1925: 16.

12 Bailey, “The Man Who Did It All.”

13 “Condensed Record of Baylor’s Coach,” Waco News-Tribune, April 6, 1926: 6 (football, baseball, basketball, and track).

14 “Ouachita Signs Football Coach,” Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), September 14, 1912: 11.

15 lists Jennings as “Bill Morley,” an alias he used so as not to jeopardize his college eligibility. He began playing professionally when he was a college student at Mississippi State University. “Morley Attracting Writers’ Attention,” Bristol (Tennessee) Herald Courier, March 16, 1913: 6; see also “Bill Morley Has Been Released by Washington to Atlanta Squad,” Knoxville Sentinel, November 22, 1913: 12 (“Morley Jennings played with the Knoxville team [in 1912] under an assumed name because he was a college student at the time, and he did not want his name tainted with professionalism”).

16 E.g., “Riverside Wins,” Memphis Commercial Appeal, July 11, 1923: 17; “Dardanelle White Sox Douse Russellville 3 to 1 in Second Western Arkansas Play Off,” Southwest American (Fort Smith, Arkansas), July 17, 1924: 6; “Red Sox of Newport Defeat Warren, 5 to 0,” Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), June 9, 1925: 10. In 1924, Selph played for Dardanelle in the Western Arkansas League, mistakenly listed as a Class D circuit in some sources. E.g., Lloyd Johnson and Miles Wolff (eds.), Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (Durham, North Carolina, 3d ed., 2007), 295. The league sought approval as a Class D loop but was rejected because its six cities were too small. “Still Hoping for Class D Rating,” Arkansas Gazette, March 29, 1924: 14; see also “Western Arkansas League Is All Set,” Southwest Times-Record (Fort Smith, Arkansas), May 4, 1924: 8 (“the league has not been admitted into organized baseball”). The league is not listed in the 1925 Spalding Guide, which includes results of Organized Baseball’s minor leagues from the 1924 season.

17 “Carey Selph Hits .525 During Past School Season,” Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), June 13, 1925: 19.

18 Norman E. Brown, “Texas Leaguer looks Good,” Brownsville (Texas) Herald, April 11, 1929: 13.

19 “Selph, Jacoway to Try Pro Baseball,” Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), December 6, 1925: 24. Selph’s teammate Walter Jacoway, a left-handed pitcher, also received an offer and signed a contract. He pitched three seasons in the minors.

20 “Ouachita Players Join Cards Soon,” Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), February 21, 1926: 21.

21 “Carey Selph Assumes Coaching Duties at Ouachita,” Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), September 24, 1926: 13; “Carey Selph Returns to Aid College Coach,” Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), September 18, 1927: 12.

22 Fred Hartman, “Only Death Could Stop Him,” Baytown (Texas) Sun, February 29, 1976: 2B.

23 “Cards Will Start with New Pilot and Revamped Infield,” Memphis Commercial Appeal, January 9, 1929: 15 (Associated Press); George Kirksey, “Cardinals to Have No Extras at Training Camp; Farms Big Help,” Decatur (Illinois) Herald, February 3, 1929: 20 (United Press).

24 Raymond V. Smith, “Sherdel, in Season’s Debut, yields 2 Hits in 4 Innings; Selph Injured in Collision,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, March 25, 1929: 11.

25 Lloyd Gregory, “Looking ‘em Over,” Houston Post-Dispatch, May 11, 1929: 10.

26 J. Roy Stockton, “Cards Regain First Place, Beating Cubs in 12 Innings,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 26, 1929: 1S.

27 Martin J. Haley, “Cards Blow Lead in Eighth and Robins Score 9 Runs to Win, 15-8,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 14, 1929: 9. A few days later, an Associated Press report said that “[t]he bad knee that took Selph out of the Cardinal lineup . . . and put him in the hospital was the result of his coaching efforts” at Baylor. “Football Hurt Selph,” Austin American, July 26, 1929: 11.

28 Maurice O. Shevlin, “Cards Rally in 9th to Down Pirates, 2-1, and Clinch Fourth Place,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 27, 1929: 24. That amount turned out to be $9,702.17. “World Series Nutshell,” Pittsburgh Press, October 14, 1929: 16.

29 “Carey Selph, of the Cards, Weds,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 1, 1929: 18.

30 Lloyd Gregory, “Looking ‘em Over,” Houston Post-Dispatch, November 4, 1929: 14; Houston City Directory 1932-1933 (Morrison & Fourmy Directory Co., Houston, Texas, 1933), 1272. The 1930 city directory lists him as a ballplayer, and the 1931 directory is not readily available.

31 “Buffs Get Carey Self on Option from Cards,” Houston Chronicle, January 14, 1930: 18.

32 William B. Ruggles, The History of the Texas League of Professional Baseball Clubs, 1888-1951 (Texas Baseball League, 1951), 142.

33 Lloyd Gregory, “Houston Wins Dixie Series Title,” Houston Post-Dispatch, October 4, 1928: 14.

34 “Five Houston Men on All-Star Team,” The Sporting News, November 1, 1928: 7.

35 Lloyd Gregory, “Looking ‘em Over,” Houston Post-Dispatch, January 16, 1930: sec. 2, 2.

36 Wichita Falls had the best overall record, 95-68, followed by Houston at 89-65. Wichita Falls won the season’s first half and Fort Worth the second, with Fort Worth prevailing in the playoff and defeating Memphis in the Dixie Series. Ruggles, The History of the Texas League, 145-146.

37 Lloyd Gregory, “Holm May Start Season at Second,” Houston Post-Dispatch, April 2, 1930: 13.

38 Kern Tips, “Sports Lines,” Houston Chronicle, August 19, 1931: 16; Kern Tips, “Sports Lines,” Houston Chronicle, June 5, 1931: 29.

39 E.g., “Baylor Mentors Prepare Attack for Purdue Game,” Lafayette (Indiana) Journal-Courier, October 1, 1930: 11.

40 “Buffs are in Great Shape; Rookies Cut,” Houston Chronicle, March 12, 1931: 7.

41 Tips, Houston Chronicle, June 5, 1931.

42 Tips, Houston Chronicle, August 19, 1931.

43 Ruggles, The History of The Texas League, 147-148.

44 Lloyd Gregory, “Houston Club’s Strong Defense Big Factor in its Flag March,” The Sporting News, November 5, 1931: 6.

45 Kern Tips, “Sports Lines,” Houston Chronicle, June 14, 1931: 20.

46 “Houston Buffs Dominate All-Stars of Texas Loop,” The Sporting News, November 5, 1931: 6.

47 “Dizzy Dean is Voted Most Valuable Texas Leaguer; Player; Selph Second in Ballot of Sport Scribes,” Houston Chronicle, September 1, 1932: 14.

48 “Sox Draft One Player; Cubs Pick Up Two,” Chicago Tribune, October 1, 1931: 29.

49 “Selph Will Not Leave Houston to Play for Sox,” Chicago Tribune, October 20, 1931: 23.

50 Bill Parker, “Ankenman Thinks Buffs Will Win Title,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, February 10, 1932: 10 (Associated Press).

51 Edward Burns, “Selph Signs Sox Contract,” Chicago Tribune, February 27, 1932: 17.

52 For many years Selph was credited with a streak of 89 consecutive games. As a review later found, however, Selph struck out as a pinch-hitter on July 15, 1932 to end a 45-game streak. (His streak of 43 games began the next day and lasted through his last game of the season on September 18.) The supposed 89-game streak was considered a major-league record until 1958, when Nellie Fox went 98 games without striking out. “Nellie Fox Pops Selph’s Whiff Mark,” Houston Post, August 24, 1958: sec. 3, 1. Overlooked, however, was Joe Sewell’s 115-game streak in 1929, which for some reason was not recognized as the record until 1976.

53 “Lassoed, But Not Branded,” The Sporting News, December 24, 1931: 1; Irving Vaughan, “Passing of Wrigley is Shock to Nation,” The Sporting News, January 28, 1932: 1.

54 Irving Vaughan, “White Sox Put 38 Players on Reserve List,” Chicago Tribune, November 3, 1932: 21.

55 “Cards Move to Return Carey Self to Buffs,” Houston Chronicle, October 30, 1932: sec. 3, 2.

56 Kern Tips, “Houston Buffs Buy Carey Selph from Columbus Club,” Houston Chronicle, December 24, 1932: 6.

57 “Selph Promises Fans a Fighting, Hustling Club of Buffs This Year.”

58 “Selph Shifts Newest Dean to Mound Task,” Wichita Daily Times (Wichita Falls, Texas), March 16, 1933: 6; Lloyd Gregory, “Houston Fans Warm Up to Selph and His Buffs,” The Sporting News, April 13, 1933: 3; “Elmer Dean Fails to Hit Old Family Stride; Gets Release from Buffaloes,” Houston Chronicle, April 14, 1933: 14; “Dean Fails at Houston,” The Sporting News, April 20, 1933: 2.

59 Robert Gregory. Diz: The Story of Dizzy Dean and Baseball During the Great Depression (New York: Viking Penguin, 1992), 91.

60 Ruggles, The History of the Texas League, 152.

61 “Greer Will Face San Antonio in Playoff Opener Wednesday,” Houston Chronicle, September 5, 1933: 21.

62 “Missions Sweep Buff Series,” San Antonio Light, September 10, 1933: sports, 1; Lloyd Gregory, “Houston Fans Will Never Admit Best Team Won 1933 Texas Title,” The Sporting News, November 9, 1933: 7.

63 Clark Nealon, “Leave Us Not Have Another 1933 in Baseball,” Houston Post, September 7, 1951: sec. 2, 8.

64 “Selph Lowers League Record for Errors; Other Marks are Helped,” Houston Chronicle, September 10, 1933: sec. 2, 2. The errorless games record stood until 1950, when it was surpassed by George Hausmann of the Dallas Eagles, who had a 57-game streak in which he handled 286 chances. “Breaks Fielding Record,” Dallas Morning News, August 10, 1950: sec. 1, 12.

65 “Texas League All-Star Team,” The Sporting News, November 9, 1933: 7; “Bonura Voted ‘Most Valuable” in Texas,” The Sporting News, November 9, 1933: 3.

66 “Beckman and Payne in Rare Form as Buffs Trim Indians,” Houston Chronicle, September 2, 1934: 6; “Herd Downs Bucs in Twin Bill to Advance in First Division Race,” Houston Chronicle, September 5, 1934: 14.

67 “Herd Downs Bucs in Twin Bill to Advance in First Division Race,” Houston Chronicle, September 5, 1934: 14.

68 Dick Freeman, “Buffs Play Ragged Ball to Cut Down Play-Off Chances,” Houston Chronicle, September 6, 1934: 18.

69 Dick Freeman, “Buffs Win Game but Lose Slim Chance at Loop Play-Off,” Houston Chronicle, September 7, 1934: 10.

70 “Carey Selph Best Fielder at Keystone,” Houston Chronicle, September 26, 1934: 16.

71 “Carey Selph Resigns as Manager of Houston Buffaloes,” Houston Chronicle, November 18, 1934: sec. 2, 9.

72 Johnny Lyons, “All-Time Buff Club Selected by Ankenman,” Houston Post, February 7, 1943: sec. 2, 2; “Ankenman’s All-Houston Team,” The Sporting News, February 18, 1943: 8.

73 Dick Freeman, “Press Box,” Houston Chronicle, April 11, 1940: sec. 2, 8.

74 “Our Twenty-Fifth Birthday,” Houston Chronicle, November 1, 1934: 4 (advertisement listing Selph as an agent in the company’s Houston office); “We Have Safely Served Our Policyholders for 24 Years,” Houston Chronicle, February 12, 1934: 5 (same).

75 “Amateurs to be Headed by Carey Selph,” Houston Chronicle, February 9, 1935: 6.

76 “Costa Blanks S.P., 5-0; First Baptist Defeats Lutherans in Y League,” Houston Chronicle, May 5, 1935: sec. 2, 13.

77 “Mrs. Carey Selph Dies; Rites in Arkansas,” Houston Chronicle, December 24, 1935: 1; “Mortuary – Selph,” Houston Chronicle, December 24, 1935: 18.

78 “Baptist Church Officers for Year Are Announced,” Houston Chronicle, January 19, 1936: sec. 4, 7.

79 E.g., “Church to Observe First Anniversary,” Houston Chronicle, June 5, 1937: 6 (speaker at Mason Drive Baptist Church); “Church Services and Sermon Topics,” Houston Chronicle, May 14, 1938: 6 (leader of prayer meeting at Heights First Baptist Church).

80 “1938 – A Record Year for the Houston City Agency,” Houston Chronicle, January 12, 1939: 2 (Great Southern Life advertisement); see also “Insurance Men to Heart Walter Woodul Tonight at President’s Dinner,” Houston Chronicle, September 14, 1937: sec. 2, 9 (describing Selph as one of Great Southern’s “leading salesmen”); “Life Insurance Leaders to be Banquet Guests,” Houston Chronicle, January 23, 1938: sec. 1, 9 (Selph qualified for membership in the Houston Leaders’ Round Table, established by the Houston Association of Life Underwriters to recognize leading underwriters in the city).

81 “Amateur Baseball Season to Open April 16-17; New League Proposed,” Houston Chronicle, March 17, 1938: sec. 2, 7; “Junior Baseball School Starts Saturday at Buff Stadium,” Houston Chronicle, May 27, 1938: sec. 2, 6; “Sandlot Ball Leaders Will Hold Meeting,” Houston Chronicle, February 10, 1939: sec. 2, 12.

82 “Mrs. Carey Selph,” Houston Post, April 11, 1939: sec 1, 8; “Dr. E.H. Westmoreland,” Houston Chronicle, April 30, 1938: 6.

83 Bess Scott, “Ouita Selph and Faith Helped Doctors Make Own Predictions Come Untrue,” Houston Post, July 26, 1942: sec. 1, 5.

84 Bruce Layer, “Houston Post Semi-Pro Baseball Tourney Scheduled July 7-21,” Houston Post, February 4, 1940: sec. 2, 1; Vic Emanuel, “Hughes and Aloe Open Four-Game Post Tourney Card Today,” Houston Post, July 4, 1943: sec. 2, 1; Vic Emanuel, “Post Semi-Pro Tournament Aug. 20 to Sept. 4,” Houston Post, June 11, 1944: sec. 2, 1; “Houston Post Semi-Pro baseball Tourney Starts August 19,” Houston Post, June 24, 1945: sec. 2, 1.

85 Mike Vance, ed., Houston Baseball: The Early Years, 1861-1961 (Houston: Bright Sky Press, 2014), 286.

86 E.g., Johnny Lyons, “Pros Have Too Much Speed for Amateurs and Win Annual Old-Timers Game, 12-8,” Houston Post, August 16, 1940: sec. 2, 2; “Dyer’s Stars Beat Selph’s Squad, 8 to 2,” Houston Chronicle, April 9, 1945: 8.

87 “New Boys Camp at Mt. Ida Begins First Session Today,” Arkansas Democrat (Little Rock), June 5, 1949: 4; “Carey Selph Directs Boys in Ozark Camp,” Houston Post, May 27, 1951: sec. 5, 6; Bill Walker, “The Outdoor Sportsman,” The Houston Post, May 8, 1955: sec. 4, 6.

88 Bill Walker, “The Outdoor Sportsman,” Houston Post, May 11, 1952: sec. 4, 6; Orville Henry, “Like 100 Yards of Dessert,” Arkansas Gazette, August 30, 1958: 1B.

89 “Camp Ozark Will Be ‘Going Coed,’” Hot Springs Sentinel-Record, February 11, 1979: 8C.

90 DeWayne Murphy, “Camp Ozark, a True Ouachita Treasure,” Montgomery County (Arkansas) News, August 17, 2017,, accessed November 23, 2022.

91 “Names in Business,” Houston Post, June 7, 1953: sec. 4, 6.

92 Clark Nealon, “Buffs’ Old-Timers Kick Up Heels in Graybeard Game,” The Sporting News, August 9, 1961: 23.

93 Jack Keady, “Hall’s Inductees Humble, Thankful,” Arkansas Democrat, January 19, 1962: 15; “Six Named to TL Hall,” Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times, June 30, 2007: 5C.

94 “Ouachita to Honor Selph, A.B. Hill,” Arkansas Democrat (Little Rock), May 3, 1964: 9A; “Ouachita Athletic Hall of Fame Inducts Four,” The Ouachita Circle: Alumni Magazine of Ouachita Baptist University (Spring 2005): 34.

95 “Baseball Great Selph Dies,” Houston Chronicle, February 24, 1976: sec. 2, 4; Hartman, “Only Death Could Stop Him.”

96, accessed November 23, 2022.

97 Hartman, “Only Death Could Stop Him.”

Full Name

Carey Isom Selph


December 5, 1901 at Donaldson, AR (USA)


February 24, 1976 at Houston, TX (USA)

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