Bert Thiel (OOTP BASEBALL)

Bert Thiel

This article was written by Dennis Degenhardt - Thomas Van Hyning

Bert Thiel (OOTP BASEBALL)Bert Thiel pitched four games for the 1952 Boston Braves, the extent of his major-league career. He had a long minor-league pitching career with 145 wins. He pitched two seasons of winter ball with Caguas, in Puerto Rico; managed in the minors; and scouted. His baseball mentors were George Selkirk, his manager with the 1953-55 Toledo Sox; and Charlie Root, Toledo’s pitching coach.1 Before his death on July 31, 2020, Thiel was one of the last two surviving Boston Braves along with Del Crandall.2

He was born on May 4, 1926, in Marion, Wisconsin, as Maynard Bert Thiel, the fourth child of Arthur and Anna (Klement) Thiel. His older brothers were Wilbur, Wallace, and Art Jr.; Carl and Jack followed Bert. Lavaun, the youngest, was the only girl. Art Sr. worked in the logging business; Ann was a homemaker. Once the boys were old enough, “they helped in the woods.”3

Bert Thiel attended Marion High School where he was one of two students, both pitchers, to reach the major leagues.4 He didn’t finish high school; his father needed someone for a big logging job in the fall of his senior year. Because of World War II, Marion High School did not have a baseball team but Thiel played locally with different teams. One, located nearby in Leopolis, played on Sundays and was managed by his father.

Thiel drew interest from several big-league teams, especially the Boston Braves — Glen Miller plus their Milwaukee Brewers farm-club leadership, Charlie Grimm, and Red Smith — who actively tried to sign him. But first, like many men of his generation, he was drafted into the US Army, in 1944.5

At 18, Thiel arrived in Europe after the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944-January 1945) and helped push the Nazis back into Germany until they surrendered in 1945. He took part in liberating several concentration camps. After the war he was part of a unit that taught German children how to play baseball;6 they were more interested in soccer than in any other sports. Thiel enjoyed attending portions of the Nuremberg Trials in 1946 since they provided key historical insights.7 While he was overseas, the Brewers brain trust stayed in touch with him.

After returning to the States, Thiel saw that the Milwaukee Brewers were holding a tryout camp. Instead of contacting the team to discuss a contract, he showed up at the trial. Since the Brewers were very familiar with Thiel, he signed a contract with the parent Boston Braves after a five-minute tryout before the 1947 season. They finally got their man.8

Thiel’s professional baseball career began close to home with the Eau Claire Bears of the Class C Northern League. The right-hander was 10-10 with a 3.60 ERA. Thiel moved up to Class B in 1948, hurling for Jackson, Mississippi, in the Southeastern League where he enjoyed his career-best season. Thiel had his only 20-win season, second on the team and in the league to Zennie Brit’s 21. His 2.99 ERA led the Senators and was the league’s second best. His 262 innings pitched were second on the team and league to Brit, again. Finishing fourth, Jackson made the playoffs, losing the finals in five games. Thiel had the only victory in the series finals but then lost a 2-0 pitching duel in the finale.9

Not only was Jackson where Thiel had his career year, it was where he met Jean Helen Duncan, born in Philadelphia, Mississippi, on October 24, 1925.10 They were married on October 16, 1948, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Leopolis, and had nine children — five girls and four boys: Susan, Greg, Deb, Kevin, Brian, Lisa, Pat, Kelly, and Jenny; 17 grandchildren; plus great-grandchildren. Jean was a Morse Code operator for the Illinois Central Railroad during World War II, helping move prisoners to camps and dispatch troops. Thiel’s son Kevin, a left-handed pitcher, was drafted by the Angels in 197211 and played two seasons in the minors before Tommy John surgery ended his career.

The next two years were spent in Class A with Hartford of the Eastern League. In 1949, in 20 starts, Thiel was 9-10 with a 4.60 ERA. On June 10, he threw his first no-hitter, beating the Elmira Pioneers, 7-0. His season ended in early September to have bone chips removed from his pitching elbow. With the elbow issue resolved, Thiel returned to his winning ways in 1950 with a 15-7 record in 30 games. His wins led the Chiefs as did his 222 innings pitched, which also topped the Eastern League.

Thiel returned to play in Wisconsin, again, in 1951, with the Milwaukee Brewers of the Triple-A American Association, one of the best minor-league teams of all time. With a 14-9 record, both starting and working out of the bullpen, he was one of five pitchers to win 12 or more games. Ernie Johnson (15-4) and Murray Wall (15-5) were Milwaukee’s top winners. Six of Thiel’s losses were by one run.12 On August 16 Thiel threw a second no-hitter, blanking Toledo 5-0, the last hitless pitching performance for the minor-league Brewers. How good was the ballclub? All 14 members of the pitching staff spent time in the majors during their careers. Other noted players included George Crowe, Rookie of the Year and the American Association leader in hits (189) and RBIs (119). Catcher Al Unser was the league MVP. Johnny Logan and Gene Mauch were utility infielders. Eddie Mathews played in 12 games. The Brewers finished atop the American Association for the seventh time in their history and then won the league playoffs, beating the Kansas City Blues in five games and the St. Paul Saints in six. Thiel relieved in the fifth inning of Game Three of the finals after the Blues had grabbed a 7-2 lead. He stopped their rally, tossing 1⅔ innings, fanning three, and walking two, but the Brewers lost 7-5.

As the Association champs, the Brewers faced the International League Montreal Royals in the Junior World Series. Milwaukee won one of the first three games of the series with Montreal; then won three in a row for their third and last Junior World Series championship. Thiel relieved twice in the Series, stopping the bleeding in Milwaukee’s losses. In Game One he worked three scoreless innings after Wall surrendered four runs but the Brewers’ rally fell short, 6-3. Thiel tossed nine innings in relief of Charlie Gorin, entering the game with two outs in the first inning after Montreal scored twice. He surrendered two hits, including Al Gionfriddo’s double that tied the score, 2-2, in the bottom of the 10th. Virgil Jester replaced him for the final out, then surrendered a two-run homer for a 5-3 loss in the 11th frame. At the plate, Thiel, a career .178 batter, was 3-for-5 in two games. The Royals jumped to a 10-2 lead before the Brewers batted a third time, but Milwaukee battled back to tie the game in the sixth. Luis Olmo’s seventh-inning bases-loaded triple off Tom Lasorda was the key blow in the Brewers’ 13-10 win to clinch the series in six games.13

After the season, Olmo, player-manager of Caguas in the Puerto Rico Winter League (PRWL), asked five of his Milwaukee teammates, including Thiel, to play for his squad. Thiel was not fond of the long bus trips to Ponce and Mayagüez, but Olmo allowed him and two teammates to drive to these away games in a used Cadillac. “Luis just wanted to make sure we got to the games on time,” said Thiel. “We respected and liked Luis — a great guy.”14 Thiel received cases of Don Q rum for his pitching, but left them behind at season’s end. Thiel, Jean, and two children, aged 2 years and 6 months, lived in a nice apartment.15 He won one-third (14-7) of second-place Criollos’ 42 triumphs. His 2.50 ERA was third-best in the PRWL and his 176⅓ innings pitched were second. After laboring in 153 innings with the Brewers, his combined workload was 329⅓ innings pitched.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound hurler’s baseball dream came true in 1952 when he made the Boston Opening Day roster. The first game as a big leaguer for the 25-year-old was against the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 17, 1952, the third game of the season; the major leagues’ 8,480th player. He entered the fray at Braves Field with his team trailing 4-0 in the fifth, a runner on second and no outs in relief of Gene Conley. He got out of the inning on Carl Furillo’s fly out, pitcher Johnny Schmitz’s groundout, and Pee Wee Reese’s foul out. Thiel came back out to work the sixth and after a groundout, he hit Jackie Robinson and got his first strikeout victim, fanning Roy Campanella looking. Then the wheels fell off as he gave up run-scoring doubles to Duke Snider and Andy Pafko before ending the inning on a Gil Hodges grounder. Of the nine batters he faced, four became Hall of Famers. “I was upset that I gave up two runs with two outs. But I’ll never forget that day,” said Thiel. “It was a dream come true to pitch in the majors. It was what I wanted my whole life from when I was playing baseball with my father.”16 It was special for Thiel that the second baseman for his first game was Billy Reed, a fellow Wisconsinite from Shawano, 20 miles from Marion. They were minor-league roomies for six years and they always said to each other, “We need to get up there to earn that $5,000.” Reed debuted two days earlier and he played on the Braves only six days longer, demoted back to Milwaukee on May 6, ending his time in “The Show.”17

Thiel earned his first victory in his next outing, on the 19th at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park. Stepping in for Sheldon Jones to start the seventh, he hurled two scoreless innings. He earned the win when the Braves scored three times in both the eighth and ninth, coming back to defeat the Phillies 9-7. He pitched twice more, yielding five runs in three innings before being demoted to Milwaukee, ending his only stint in the big leagues. In four games, he pitched seven innings, yielding 11 hits and six earned runs, for a 1-1 record, 7.71 ERA, and 2.143 WHIP.

Thiel returned to the Braves’ top farm club in Milwaukee, where he started only seven times in 33 appearances. He contributed eight wins to the Brewers’ 101 victories as they repeated as the American Association pennant winners. Unlike the previous year, they lost in the finals to Kansas City in seven games. Thiel earned victories pitching in relief in the first two games of the semifinal sweep of St. Paul. Toiling again as a reliever in the finals, he suffered a loss in Game Four, giving up five runs in the seventh inning, including a Bill Skowron grand slam.

When the Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953, their Triple-A minor-league ballclub relocated to Toledo, which became available when the Mud Hens moved to Charleston, West Virginia, in the middle of the previous season. Thiel moved with the franchise, spending the next three years with the Toledo Sox, posting an overall record of 27-22. He split the first season starting and relieving but played in only 18 games. He missed action due to shoulder issues, including sitting out nearly a month. Returning on August 20, he won his fifth contest, going the distance against Indianapolis, but pitched only once afterward, in relief. For the season he was 5-4 while Toledo won the pennant, their third in a row.

Thiel developed a special friendship with, and respect for, George Selkirk, who took over Toledo’s managing reins a month into the 1953 season. He led the Sox to a 90-64 record, a two-game edge over second-place Kansas City. Toledo played Kansas City in the league finals, where the Blues prevailed in seven games. Thiel bonded with Charlie Root, his Toledo pitching coach from 1953 to 1955. “They taught me so much about the game and about pitching. I was a winner everywhere I went because of them,” affirmed Thiel. “I had a better fastball before I went in the Army, but Charlie, he showed me how to pitch in different situations.”18

Healthy again, Thiel was back in the rotation in 1954, starting 29 times in 31 games. He was added to the all-star team19 and finished the season winning nine of his last 10 starts. Thiel led the Sox with 16 wins, fifth in the league, and 201 innings pitched. After the strong season, but no room for him on the parent club, he returned to Toledo in 1955. As the Opening Day starter, Thiel tossed a three-hit, 4-0 shutout but he started only five more times in 1955. The vast majority of his work was out of the bullpen, laboring in 40 outings. For the year he was 6-6 with a 4.57 ERA.

Thiel pitched one more winter with Caguas, after a three-year hiatus, joining the club halfway through the 1954-55 season. He had offseason arm problems as a logger, when he asked his boss if it was OK to go to Puerto Rico. “My doctor sent me down to Puerto Rico,” recalled Thiel. “He felt the warm weather would be helpful.”20 He had the opportunity to face Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente, who starred for Santurce. On pitching to Mays, Thiel stated: “Willie, he was a bad-ball hitter. You could throw it anywhere and he could hit it. Sometimes you were better off throwing it down the middle,”21 adding, “Buster Clarkson, Crowe, and Clemente could really hit [for Santurce].”22 Caguas (42-30) had a good season, under skipper Ben Geraghty, when nine imports were allowed per team. In Thiel’s only action in the semifinals, he won the decisive game, beating San Juan 5-423 to advance and play Santurce. He was hammered in his only start in Game Four in a 14-0 loss to the Crabs, who won the championship in five games. During the shortened season, Thiel was 3-4 for Caguas and 1-1 in the postseason.

On November 27, 1955, Thiel’s days in the Braves organization ended when he was selected by the New York Giants in the Rule 5 draft. The righty was sent to their Dallas farm team in the Double-A Texas League in 1956 and he had one of his best years in Organized Baseball. The Eagles had a 17-game winning streak in June and Thiel tossed three complete games during the stretch.24 On July 22 he twirled his second consecutive shutout, running his scoreless streak to 22 innings.25 Thiel set a Texas League record with 33 consecutive innings without allowing a walk.26 He was named to the postseason all-star team and was chosen the Texas League Pitcher of the Year. Thiel finished second in the league in wins (18) and innings pitched (249). His career-best 18 complete games tied for the league’s top spot. The 30-year-old was 18-11, with a 3.11 ERA and a career-finest 113 strikeouts.

The second-place Eagles, participating in the Texas League playoffs, swept the Fort Worth Cats in the semifinals on a pitching gem by Thiel to complete the sweep. Thiel was tangled in a scoreless pitching duel with the Cats’ Carroll Beringer in regulation. He then held Fort Worth scoreless in the bottom of the 10th, giving way to a pinch-hitter in the top of the 11th. Dallas scored five times and Hisel Patrick threw a three-up, three-down inning to close the 5-0 victory. Thiel spread nine hits over 10 innings while fanning three and allowing only one free pass. In the finals, the control pitcher took charge, staving off a sweep by Houston, for a day, going the distance to win Game Four, 4-2.27 Houston won in five.

After the season the Boston Red Sox purchased Thiel’s contract in October, giving him a shot to make the big club in the spring. Thiel roomed with Jimmy Piersall, a “real character,” during spring training. Piersall once brought a water pistol to the plate and squirted the umpire when he struck out, per Thiel.28 Although he made the Red Sox out of training camp, he was sent out to their Pacific Coast League affiliate in San Francisco, where he actually played, without getting into a game with the 1957 Red Sox. Working again primarily in relief, only three starts, he was 5-4 in 41 games with a 2.79 ERA for the 1957 PCL champs (101-67). One of the starts was a 10-inning effort, a win. “You made more money in the PCL than in the majors,” said Thiel.29 At the end of the season, he was recalled to the Red Sox for the 1958 season.

For the second time in Thiel’s career, the city where he played became major league but he didn’t. Boston sent him to the 1958 Minneapolis Millers, now a Red Sox farm team, where former Brewers teammate Gene Mauch was the player-manager. His sixth victory, on June 22, was his best outing of the season, a seven-hit shutout of the Louisville Colonels. He didn’t win another game, finishing with a 6-6 record in 18 starts and 14 games out of the bullpen. The third-place Millers won the Association’s semifinals, beating the second-place Wichita Braves in six games. Thiel worked 1⅓ innings of relief, giving up three earned runs in the third game, a 9-2 loss. In the AA finals, Thiel entered Game Three in the fifth with the Millers trailing Denver, 8-1. He pitched two scoreless innings in a contest that became an extra-inning barnburner won by Minneapolis 14-13 in 11 innings. The Millers swept the finals and went on to win their first and only Junior World Series, sweeping the Montreal Royals. Thiel did not pitch in the Series.

Thiel was released by the Millers after 1959 spring training. He reluctantly signed with the Corpus Christi Giants of the Texas League but he dreaded the long bus trips. He pitched twice for the Giants when Mel Parnell, the New Orleans manager, reached out to Thiel needing a veteran pitcher. He asked him to seek his release from Corpus Christi and join the Pelicans, a request that was granted.30 Thiel was instrumental in halting a Pelicans losing streak and sustaining a winning streak. On May 23 he took a shutout into the ninth inning with two outs before beating the Mobile Bears 2-1 and stopping a six-game skid.31 Then on June 6, his three-hit, 7-2 victory over the Nashville Vols stretched their consecutive victories to seven in the first game of a twin bill.32 The streak ended in the second game in 11 innings, 4-3. Thiel had an 11-10 record with a 4.63 ERA as his career as an active player (temporarily) came to an end at age 33.

The next chapter of Thiel’s baseball journey started in 1960 as the manager of the Albuquerque Dukes in the Class D Sophomore League. In Thiel’s first year at the helm, the Kansas City Athletics farm team finished fifth in the six-team league at 57-72. He managed five eventual major leaguers — Billy Bryan (eight years), Héctor Martinez (two years), José Santiago (eight years), Larry Stahl (10 years), and Rupe Toppin (one year). Santiago, age 19, called Thiel his “second father,” a “good teacher,” an “exquisite human being,” and a “good manager.” Santiago opined that Thiel had a lot of credibility as a veteran pitcher in the minors, in Puerto Rico, and [with the 1952] Braves.33 Santiago (15-6, 3.30 ERA, 217 strikeouts) led the league in ERA and strikeouts, and pitched a no-hitter on June 13, 1960, versus the Hobbs Pirates.

Staying within the A’s organization, Thiel moved to the Pocatello Bannocks of the Class C Pioneer League in 1961. In addition to managing, Thiel pitched in four games, to teach his young charges a lesson when they whined about not feeling good, until his GM asked him to stop.34 In three starts for his final time in pro baseball, Thiel posted a 2-1 record with a 2.67 ERA in 27 innings. He again finished fifth of six teams with the same 57-72 record. The only major leaguer he managed was Fred Wenz with three years in the big leagues.

Thiel became a scout with Washington from 1963 to mid-1968, when he became the Senators’ roving pitching coach. As a scout, he recommended that the Senators draft Bill Gogolewski in the 1965 June amateur draft. Noticing Toby Harrah was left unprotected by Philadelphia, Thiel was instrumental in Washington taking him in the 1967 Rule 5 draft. (Harrah spent 11 years with the Senators/Rangers.) Thiel stepped out of his pitching-coach role temporarily to manage the Burlington (North Carolina) Senators from May 27 to June 11, 1969. Substituting for manager Bill Haywood, who returned home due to a family illness, he managed 16 games, going 9-7. The next move was scouting for Atlanta in 1970 and 1971.

Thiel returned to coaching with the Chicago White Sox in 1972. After assisting in spring training, he became the manager of Appleton in the Class A Midwest League. Thiel led the Foxes to the league’s best record, 76-51. As the North Division second-half winners, they faced and defeated the first-half winners, the Wisconsin Rapids Twins, in a one-game playoff. They lost the league championship to the Danville Warriors, South Division winners of both parts of the season, in two games. Five future major leaguers played for Thiel: Mike Buskey (one year), George Enright (one year), Jeff Holly (three years), Bart Johnson (eight years), and Lamar Johnson (nine years). He started the following season, 1973, as the White Sox’ roving pitching coach. That changed when his successor with the Foxes, Deacon White, one of the first Black managers in the minors, returned to his roving hitting instructor role when Appleton finished in last place in the first half of the season. They lost their first 15 games. The managers’ combined record for the year was 44-76. Future big leaguers included Enright, Santiago Guzmán (four years), Holly, and Nyls Nyman (four years).

Thiel’s final stint as skipper came in 1974 with the Dubuque Packers, an unaffiliated team in the Midwest League. He ran into Hank Peters, the Kansas City A’s GM, at the annual Red Smith dinner, who asked him to establish the new team, including sodding the field. “He paid me $10,000 to do so, the most I ever earned.”35 They finished last in the Northern Division with the league’s worst record. The final players he managed who made the majors were George Cappuzzello (two years) and Sam Perlozzo (two years).

After baseball, Thiel returned to Wisconsin. He primarily logged until he took over the bar and restaurant his parents operated in Pella,36 Wisconsin, when his mother was unable to continue after his father died and her health failed. Along with Jean, they renamed it the 10th Inning Lounge and owned it from 1983 to 1992. In 2001 Thiel participated in a player panel along with Felix Mantilla, Andy Pafko, and Johnny Logan at SABR 31, the Annual Convention in Milwaukee. He also threw the first pitch at the Saturday, July 14, Twins-Brewers game that conventioneers attended. The Brewers lost to the Twins, 5-3.

Jean Thiel (1925-2009) died at home in Pella on April 17, 2009. Bert’s father, Art, died in 1978, and his mother, Ann, in 1983.

Thiel said he was impressed with modern players. “They’re better athletes than we were; they work on baseball all year long. Me, I was home in the winter working as a logger and sawing trees.”37 Thiel considered himself very lucky to have two loves, baseball and the outdoors. He told the authors he still fished, and did turkey and deer hunting.38

Bert Thiel died on Friday, July 31, 2020, at his Pella, Wisconsin, home, one he had lived in since 1953. The 94-year-old Thiel was survived by nine children, 17 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, a brother (Carl) and other relatives. A private funeral Mass was held for Thiel, on August 7 in Leopolis, Wisconsin. With Thiel’s death, Del Crandall became the sole surviving member of the Boston Braves.

 

Acknowledgments

Grateful acknowledgment to Bert Thiel for April 13-14 and May 17, 2020, phone conversations with the authors, as well as to his son, Greg, who helped fill in the blanks. Luis Rodríguez Olmo and José “Palillo” Santiago shared insights on Thiel. Jorge Colón Delgado furnished Thiel’s Caguas pitching stats.

This biography was reviewed by Bill Nowlin and Len Levin and fact-checked by Kevin Larkin.

Photo Credit: forums.ootpdevelopments.com/showthread.php?t=276359&page=42

 

Sources

ancestry.com/boards/localities.northam.usa.states.wisconsin.counties.shawano/15684

baseball-reference.com/bullpen/1951_Junior_World_Series

baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=thiel-001may

baseball-reference.com/teams/BSN/1952-schedule-scores.shtml

beisbol101.com/tag/bert-thiel/

statscrew.com/minorbaseball/roster/t-mb13021/y-1951

Crescioni Benítez, José. El Béisbol Profesional Boricua (San Juan, Puerto Rico: First Book Publishing of P.R., 1997).

Johnson, Lloyd, and Miles Wolff, eds. Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, Third Edition (Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 2007).

Van Hyning, Thomas E. The Santurce Crabbers: Sixty Seasons of Puerto Rican Winter League Baseball (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland Publishers, 1999).

 

Notes

1 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Tom Van Hyning, April 13, 2020.

2 Peter Abraham, “Bert Thiel, One of Two Surviving Boston Braves, Played Four Games and Has a Lifetime of Memories,” Boston Globe, April 11, 2020, online: bostonglobe.com/2020/04/11/sports/bert-thiel-one-two-surviving-boston-braves-played-four-games-has-lifetime-memories/.

3 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Tom Van Hyning, April 14, 2020.

4 The other pitcher from Marion High School is Ken Frailing; he was born less than a year after Thiel’s pro baseball debut. He pitched for both Chicago teams over five years in the 1970s before shoulder issues ended his career.

5 Abraham.

6 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Tom Van Hyning, April 13, 2020.

7 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Tom Van Hyning, April 13, 2020.

8 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Dennis Degenhardt, May 17, 2020.

9 “Southeastern League,” The Sporting News, September 29, 1948: 36.

10 Jean Helen Duncan grew up in Tucker, a census-designated place (CDP) in Neshoba County, Mississippi, one of the eight communities of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Its population was 662 as of the 2010 census.

11 “Kevin Thiel Drafted,” Appleton (Wisconsin) Post-Crescent, June 8, 1972: 42.

12 Sam Levy, “No-Hitter Thiel Helps Soften Jolly Cholly’s Job,” The Sporting News, August 29, 1951: 25.

13 In-person interview, Luis R. Olmo and Tom Van Hyning, January 3, 1992; Lloyd McGowan, The Sporting News, October 10, 1951: 23.

14 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Tom Van Hyning, April 13, 2020.

15 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Tom Van Hyning, April 13, 2020.

16 Peter Abraham.

17 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Dennis Degenhardt, May 17, 2020.

18 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Tom Van Hyning, April 13, 2020.

19 “Herb Score Tops All-Star Voting; Six Indianapolis Players Picked,” The Sporting News, August 11, 1954: 29.

20 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Tom Van Hyning, April 13, 2020.

21 Peter Abraham.

22 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Tom Van Hyning, April 13, 2020.

23 Pito Alvarez de la Vega, “Caguas Wins First Round of Playoffs,” The Sporting News, February 9, 1955: 28.

24 Bill Rives, “Eagles Soar High on Hurlers’ Wings,” The Sporting News, July 4, 1956: 33

25 Bill Rives, “Battle Royal Spices Fourth-Place Fight,” The Sporting News, August 1, 1956: 31.

26 “Intentional Pass Finally Ends Joe Baliga’s Record Streak,” The Sporting News, July 30, 1958: 36.

27 “The Texas League Playoffs,” The Sporting News, September 19, 1956: 40-41.

28 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Tom Van Hyning, April 13, 2020.

29 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Tom Van Hyning, April 13, 2020.

30 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Dennis Degenhardt, May 17, 2020.

31 George Leonard, “Crackers, Chicks Shake Off Slumps,” The Sporting News, June 3, 1959: 31.

32 George Leonard, “Second Half Chase Seen as Wide Open,” The Sporting News, June 17, 1959: 33.

33 Phone interview, José “Palillo” Santiago and Tom Van Hyning, April 13, 2020.

34 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Dennis Degenhardt, May 17, 2020.

35 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Dennis Degenhardt, May 17, 2020.

36 Pella is an unincorporated village with a Marion mailing address. The bar was named Thiel’s Place.

37 Peter Abraham.

38 Phone interview, Bert Thiel and Dennis Degenhardt, May 17, 2020.

Full Name

Maynard Bert Thiel

Born

May 4, 1926 at Marion, WI (USA)

Died

July 31, 2020 at Pella, WI (USA)

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