The Kitty’s Kentucky Return: The One-Off 1935 Paducah Red Birds

This article was written by Michael Tow

This article was published in the Fall 2021 Baseball Research Journal


 

1935 Paducah Red Birds B.B. Hook, Jr. is the child in the very front. Front row (L–R): Joe Grace, Floyd Perryman, Venable Satterfield, and Louis Perryman. Middle row (L–R): Lowell Green, Mel Ivy, E.R. Jones (more behind the row than in it), Robert Brown, Benny Sanders, and an unnamed child listed as “mascot.” Back row (L–R): Aubrey Mitchell, Vollie Bishop, Jett Mason, Gerald Veach, Don Anderson, Clarence Owens, and B.B. Hook. (AUTHOR'S COLLECTION)

1935 Paducah Red Birds
B.B. Hook, Jr. is the child in the very front. Front row (L–R): Joe Grace, Floyd Perryman, Venable Satterfield, and Louis Perryman. Middle row (L–R): Lowell Green, Mel Ivy, E.R. Jones (more behind the row than in it), Robert Brown, Benny Sanders, and an unnamed child listed as “mascot.” Back row (L–R): Aubrey Mitchell, Vollie Bishop, Jett Mason, Gerald Veach, Don Anderson, Clarence Owens, and B.B. Hook. (AUTHOR’S COLLECTION)

 

The fifth life of the on-again, off-again Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee (Kitty) League began in 1935. The first four attempts to establish rookie-level, Class-D professional baseball in the small cities of the Upper South and Midwest states of Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, and Indiana were unsustained from 1903 to 1924. While about a dozen players from these earlier inceptions of the league did advance to the major leagues, the Kitty League itself never lasted more than five years at a time.1 Nevertheless, the “reorganization bug” continued to bite those who “insisted that the territory [was] ready to resume its place in organized baseball,” and the Kitty League returned in 1935 for its longest phase to date.2

The new-for-’35 Kitty League brought Portageville (Missouri), Lexington, and Union City (Tennessee) into the league for the first time, while the league’s return was welcomed in Jackson (Tennessee), Hopkinsville, and Paducah (Kentucky), three of the original Kitty League cities.3 The 1935 season would give approximately 100,000 people access to professional baseball across parts of three states, and it would be the first time a team from Illinois was not in the Kitty, and the first time a team from Missouri was.4

Of the six cities competing in 1935, Paducah was the largest with a population of around 33,000.5 Paducah is an old Ohio River town (established in 1827) in far western Kentucky, fifty miles upstream from where the Ohio terminates into the Mississippi River at Cairo, Illinois.6 Local legend suggests baseball in Paducah is as old as the War of the Rebellion, having been brought there by Union soldiers from the northeast as they marched through Paducah on their way down to Vicksburg, Mississippi, in the summer of 1863.7

Thirty-four years later, Paducah got its first professional team, the Little Colonels, when the city’s street car company agreed to back an entry in the newly formed Central League.8 That team, along with the Cairo Egyptians, would be the only two left in the black when the league faltered at the end of July 1897.9 The financial resilience that kept the Little Colonels afloat would endure as Paducah fans continued to support the home team as three waves of the Kitty League crested and collapsed by 1924.10

After ten years without professional baseball, Paducah fans were believed to be ready to support a team again in 1933. B.B. Hook, Paducah pharmacist, baseball promoter, and owner of Hook Park (located on Paducah’s north-west edge between North Eighth Street and the Ohio River), was so confident of the Kitty’s resuscitation that he ordered fifteen new uniforms and scheduled a practice for a team that hadn’t yet been formed.11 Hook’s hopes were for naught, however, as the Kitty was not revived and the city’s team instead became the independent Paducah Merchants.12

When the Kitty failed to return in 1934 as well, Hook again forged ahead and formed his own six-team league — the Little Kitty League — that played a seventeen-game schedule on Sundays and holidays starting June 10.13 Finally, in late November 1934, the Kitty League made its official application to the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues for a 1935 return.14

Reformation efforts gained two competent and capable organizers in January 1935 in Dr. Frank Bassett and “Honest John” McCloskey.15 Bassett, the founder and three-time former president of the Kitty League, had sponsored the league’s application to the National Association at Louisville the previous November, and afterward, spent his time gauging interest among the leaders of various cities in his “organization for the development of youngsters.”16

In late April, Bassett would again be elected president and vowed “not to have a repetition of the league failure 12 years ago.”17 McCloskey, once believed to be held back from being “the greatest manager of all time” by “players [who] lack the quickness and the brains to follow his orders,” was a highly-respected baseball man who had founded the Texas League in 1887 and was now tasked by the National Association with the field work in Kentucky, Illinois, and Tennessee.18

By month’s end, the two had secured financial support from teams in the International League in exchange for those teams holding options over players of the Kitty League, and set the ground rules by which the Kitty would operate: a guaranteed monthly team salary between $500 and $1000 divided among the fourteen players, no players with any prior professional experience, a minimum of three games per week, and a $500 bond from each team guaranteeing the team would play its schedule through the end of the season.19 Many of the rules that guided the 1935 Kitty League were written in direct response to the issues that had led to the collapse of previous installments of the league.

Once McCloskey reported “unlimited enthusiasm” among potential players and fans in the cities he visited, organizers such as Hook set about bolstering the likelihood of their city being included in the new Kitty.20 In early March, Hook believed he had secured assistance from the St. Louis Cardinals and agreed to cover the remaining costs himself as official sponsor of the team, greatly improving Paducah’s chances of scoring a franchise.21 Next, Hook began searching for a team manager and the funds to light Hook Park, estimated to cost $2500.22 Hook believed the St. Louis Cardinals would provide him with a player from one of the organization’s minor league teams to serve as manager, but neither of the two men reported in the Paducah Sun-Democrat — Wally Schang and Johnny Hodapp — ever managed in Paducah.23

On May 1, three days after the Kitty League was announced to be officially reorganized, forty “green youngsters” answered an invitation to try out for Paducah’s yet unnamed team.24 Immediately, a need for pitching was realized and interim manager George “Skin” Griffin identified players from his Paducah Merchants team whom he’d like to see audition for the city’s Kitty club.25 Over the next three weeks, Griffin continued to drill the growing number of young auditioners and work them into exhibition games as he determined who would make the final roster. Griffin desired to find and keep five pitchers on his fourteen-man roster.26

One week before the first game of the season, the Paducah team was named the Red Birds, either as a nod to the Cardinals’ loose sponsorship or in hopes that Hook could secure future designation as a Cardinals farm team. One day before the first game, the opening day roster was revealed: pitchers Bernie Walters, Aubrey Mitchell, Jett Mason, and Palmer Pinnegar; catchers Floyd Perryman and Gene Ruoff; infielders Bob Mason, Jenks Mason, George Cooper, and Roger “Sonny” Fields; and outfielders Pete Zimmerman, Louie Perryman, Connie Lee, and Griffin himself as manager and reserve infielder.27

Opening Day 1935 was twelve years in the making, and both excitement and expectations were high. Exhibition games had been well attended by Paducahans and well played by the Red Birds. Paducah Sun-Democrat sports editor Sam Livingston (named one of the league’s official scorekeepers by President Bassett) wrote that the Red Birds could be a “title contender,” but “must improve their hitting…to be able to win the pennant.”28

Right-hander Aubrey Mitchell was given the ball for Opening Day against the Hopkinsville Hoppers after Griffin’s other choice, Bernie Walters, had tweaked his knee in an exhibition game three days before.29 Mitchell pitched all nine innings in front of an estimated eight hundred fans, giving up seven hits and two earned runs while striking out ten.30 The Red Birds only had two hits off Hoppers’ starter Tucker Joiner, but after he left the game in the sixth inning with a sore arm, the Red Birds began to hit, scoring a run in the sixth, two in the seventh, and three in the eighth. The Hoppers added tension in the ninth inning when the first two batters singled then scored on a ground out and an error, giving the Hoppers four runs to the Red Birds’ six. Mitchell remained in control, however, and ended the game by striking out the game’s final batter.

As good as Mitchell was on Opening Day, Bernie Walters was even better the next day.31 Walters, a screwball pitcher, allowed only two hits through seven innings but gave up three in the eighth that, paired with two Paducah errors, led to three Hopkinsville runs. the Red Birds tied the game in the ninth, but the Hoppers took the lead for good on a wild pitch by Walters in the tenth inning. On Friday, Paducah amassed twelve hits but only five runs, winning another one-run game — and the opening series — against Hopkinsville.32

Through the Red Birds’ first series, two areas of concern presented themselves: late-inning pitching and suspect fielding, both to be expected among young men playing professionally for the first time. In the first six innings of the three games against Hopkinsville, Red Birds pitchers had an excellent earned run average of 1.50. Beyond the sixth inning, however, that ERA rose to 5.25, which could be indicative of fatigue (pitchers’ arms not fully conditioned after only three weeks of spring training) or a limited pitch selection (pitchers not being able to get outs with their secondary, or even tertiary, pitches against batters who have already faced them earlier in the game). The Red Birds also committed nine errors in the series, leading to two unearned runs in the opener. The poor fielding of the outfield led Sam Livingston to urge Griffin to “abandon his plans to have an outfield composed only of players who also can pitch, play first, catch, or mend broken bats and give Paducah’s Kitty League team a genuine outfielder.”33 Given the constraints of a fourteen-man roster, Livingston’s request would be hard to fulfill.

Two series later, the Red Birds were not improving and found themselves with five wins, five losses, and in need of help. On June 2, the day after the Red Birds scored nine runs — and still lost by five — it was announced that a pitcher and a slugger were to be added once the team returned from a two-game road trip to play the first-place Lexington Giants.34 Later that afternoon, the Red Birds “suffered their customary late inning letdown,” when the Giants scored two, two-out runs in the eighth off of Jett Mason, underscoring the team’s needs.35

Manager Griffin rejoiced when rain washed out the game the next day, giving his pitchers an extra day of rest.36 Since “there [was] little prospect…of any team running away with the Kitty League baseball championship,” adding the right players this early in the season could allow any of the six teams to get ahead of the others.37 With that in mind, team president B.B. Hook signed nineteen-year-old slugging first baseman Benny Sanders out of Marion, Illinois, left-handed starting pitcher Gerald Veach, a freshman at Southern Illinois Normal University from Simpson, Illinois, and former Paducah Merchants third baseman Harry Williams who hoped to play in the Red Bird outfield while he was home for the summer from the University of Tennessee.38 To make room for these additions, Hook released outfielder Pete Zimmerman, utility player Gene Ruoff, and Nelson Hughes.39

The improvement brought about by these signings was immediate, propelling the Red Birds to win seven of their next eleven games. On June 4, back from the team’s first road trip of the season, Harry Williams and Benny Sanders were both in the lineup as Paducah tried to distance themselves from Jackson, who trailed them in the standings by only half a game.40 The two newest Birds “dazzled” with plays described as “sensational” and “polished,” while Aubrey Mitchell remained undefeated with his fourth pitching victory of the season.41 Moreover, Sanders “flashed more pep and more color than any ball player has shown in Paducah this year.”42

The next day Williams and Sanders combined to go 5-for-10 with four runs batted in to support Don “Lefty” Anderson’s eight innings of relief pitching as the Red Birds won on successive days for the first time all season.43 On June 9, eleven hundred fans saw Aubrey Mitchell defeat the Lexington Giants almost singlehandedly. In nine innings Mitchell allowed only two runs, struck out seven, drove in all three Paducah runs with two hits, and ended the game with an immaculate ninth inning by striking out all three Giants on nine total pitches.44 It was the Red Birds’ best game to date.

The next day, Anderson bested Mitchell by allowing only one run in nine innings as the Red Birds played only their third game without committing an error.45 Mitchell won his sixth game on June 16 and Gerald Veach won his first game the next day as the Red Birds collected fourteen hits against the Portageville Pirates.46 During the two-week tear, the team’s once problematic late-inning ERA improved by more than two runs and five Red Birds raised their season batting average to .300 or above as the Birds flew into second place.47

After the Red Birds’ 7–4 run, they were the hottest team in the Kitty League and only a game-and-a-half behind the league-leading Lexington Giants on June 17. Then the Birds lost for a week straight. For whatever reason, there was a “jinx” on them during “nocturnal tilts.”48 One telling correlation was the number of errors they made in night games. In the four games the Red Birds played under lights the week of June 18 — all losses — they committed fourteen errors that led to eleven unearned runs.49 In those same four losses, opponents outscored the Red Birds by a total of only eight runs. Red Birds’ pitching remained solid with a 2.43 ERA in the 37 innings of the four losses but the errors were too much to overcome. On June 19, Bernie Walters pitched through “wildness,” but it was the “wobbly” defense in the field that allowed Jackson to score five unearned runs, and win 8–6.50

After a rainout, Aubrey Mitchell tried for his seventh straight victory of the season on June 21, and despite allowing only one earned run in all nine innings, Mitchell took the loss as three errors allowed the Union City Greyhounds to score three unearned runs.51 Two days later, on “Southern Illinois Day” at Hook Park (a promotion honoring the three Red Birds from southern Illinois: Benny Sanders, Gerald Veach, and Joe Grace), Veach “turned in a marvelous exhibition of pitching,” but three unearned runs led to the team’s fifth straight loss and pushed the Red Birds into last place.52 Dissatisfied with the “skidding,” Hook intervened for the second time in less than a month, suggesting lineup changes to Griffin, who “prepared for a shakeup of his club.”53

The first change implemented by Griffin was to move recently-acquired outfielder Joe Grace to the leadoff spot. Grace had slugged his way onto the team nine days prior by batting .682 for the Anna, Illinois, State Hospital team.54 In seven games batting third for the Red Birds, however, Grace was batting only .182. After being moved to the top of the lineup on June 24, Grace had ten hits in the next six games — four of them Paducah victories — while raising his batting average to .348.

The last Paducah victory in that six-game stretch was also Bernie Walters’s last game. The tough-luck loser of five well-pitched games, Walters’s confidence was compromised and he “began to worry about his inability to win and lost his control.”55 Also released on the same day as Walters was Harry Williams who batted .230 in fifteen games for the Red Birds while playing left field and third base. The team was reluctant to release Williams, but granted him his release so he could accept a job with the Illinois Central Railroad.56

Although the Red Birds were in last place on June 30, they trailed the league-leading Lexington Giants by only three games.57 None of the Kitty’s six teams was dominant in the first half, and any of the six that could string together a handful of victories over the next eleven games could still take the first-half championship. The odds were favorable for the Red Birds; they would play eight of the remaining eleven games at home, ending the first half with three games against Lexington.58

On July 2, Aubrey Mitchell “turned in another highly effective pitching exhibition” as he won his seventh game and moved Paducah one game closer to the first-half championship.59 The next day Paducah played “raggedly,” committing almost a dozen “boners” in what was arguably the team’s worst game of the season.60 Seven unearned runs twisted a potential 5–2 Red Bird victory into a 9–5 defeat against Hopkinsville.61

In the first game of an Independence Day doubleheader, another unearned run in the twelfth inning spoiled 8⅓ innings of one-run ball pitched by Mitchell and the Red Birds lost, 2–1.62 Losing the nightcap of the doubleheader eliminated Paducah from contending for the first-half championship, but, with three games remaining against Lexington, the Red Birds could stall the Giants while the Hopkinsville Hoppers, Union City Greyhounds, or Jackson Generals overtook or tied the Giants for the league lead.63

On July 8, the Red Birds played flawlessly behind Jett Mason, defeating Lexington, 2–1.64 The following day, Griffin concocted an experimental lineup for the first game of a doubleheader that consisted of new shortstop Louis Bertoni, first baseman Ferrell, third baseman Milkovich, and the return of former Red Bird Palmer Pinnegar.65 The experiment failed and the Red Birds lost, 15–2.66 In the second game, Vollie Bishop made his Red Bird debut and held the Giants to two earned runs as the Red Birds won, 9–3, to close out the first half of the season.67 By winning two of the three games over Lexington, Paducah finished the season’s first half with a 20–24 record, half a game ahead of the last place Portageville Pirates.68

The Red Birds started the second half on July 10 playing “almost perfect ball” in a 5–2 two victory over the season’s first-half champion Lexington Giants.69 The Birds played every element of the game well; Clarence Owens’s pitching was “steady,” their “defensive work was the best of the season,” and Joe Grace continued his great hitting against Lexington with an RBI-double and an opposite field “Ruthian smash” for the Red Birds’ fifth and final run of the afternoon.70

As they had done a handful of times during the season’s first half, the team again revealed its potential, and Sam Livingston called the nine who played that day “the best club [Paducah] has had on the field this season.”71 It would be the last time those nine played together. After the game, Louis Bertoni — who had become one of the team’s “main cogs” — retired from baseball, citing as his reason the everyday strain on a knee he injured while playing football for Southern Illinois Normal University.72 The next day, unearned runs again negated a good outing by a Paducah pitcher and after the loss, Milkovich and Benny Sanders were released.73

On July 13, Griffin himself was released from managerial duties, but B.B. Hook wished to retain him as a utility player.74 Griffin had played nearly every position in the infield and outfield, pitched, and was hitting .349 — all at age 42. Under Griffin’s lead, however, the team “never has been able to display a consistent winning spirit.”75 Sam Livingston was sympathetic, writing that “the situation was not ideal for Griffin. He did not have the material at hand he wished,” which was another subtle dig at Hook trying to get by on the cheap.76 Livingston would continue to lobby for Hook to raise the pay of his ballplayers, reminding him, “You get out of something what you put in it.”77

Hook hired long-time minor leaguer Fred Glass as Griffin’s replacement.78 Glass was from just up the Ohio River in Golconda, Illinois, and had a remarkable minor league career in the United States and Canada.79 In 1912, Glass had set a Central International League record when he pitched 29 innings in just three days for the Winnipeg Maroons, and, in 1914, Glass drew the attention of the Cleveland Naps when he was leading the Northern League with a .450 batting average as a pitcher-outfielder for the Superior Red Sox.80

Superior released Glass before the start of the next season so he could manage Paducah’s Kitty League team, but the league failed to organize for 1915 and Glass ended up playing for the Flint Vehicles.81 Glass returned to Paducah in 1922 as a Kitty League umpire, and when the league again failed after the 1924 season, Glass became a sheriff’s deputy in Golconda, where, in 1925, he apprehended E.R. “Kid” McGowan, who was implicated in the 1922 robbery of the Denver Mint.82

Glass joined the team in Union City on July 15 and vowed to not make any changes to the roster until he had watched a few games.83 After the Red Birds squandered a four-run lead and lost to the Union City Greyhounds on his first night as manager, however, Glass “immediately sent Scout Ralph Bishop up into southern Illinois for some new ball players.”84 Over the next week, six new Red Birds debuted, all likely recruited in Illinois by Bishop. Those signed were catcher Mel Ivy from Marion, third baseman John Lutwinski from Harrisburg, Wilson, a first baseman, infielders Harry and Sam Wright of Brookport, and first baseman Jimmy Creek from Champaign.85 In total, the Red Birds won only three of Glass’s first nine games as manager, and found themselves right where they had ended the season’s first half: a half-game out of last place.86

Through all of the roster inconsistency of Glass’s first two weeks as manager, the one constant was the hitting of Joe Grace. Benched by Glass on July 17 after going hitless for three days, Grace blasted his way back into the lineup with three batting-practice home runs before the July 18 game against Hopkinsville, and, when the game started, he kept hitting.87 Grace doubled and hit what would have been the game-winning home run that afternoon had Aubrey Mitchell not given up one himself in the ninth.88 The next day, Sam Livingston remarked that Grace “probably will develop into the best hitter of all the Paducah players” when he pulls his hits naturally into right field (where left-handed hitters like Grace usually hit) rather than pushing them to the left side, which tends to greatly diminish a hitter’s power.89

Seeing Grace could hit for power, Glass coached Grace on how to hit more consistently to the right side and moved him to the fourth spot in the lineup, where a team’s best power hitter tends to bat.90 Grace responded with another double and another home run, but, for the Red Birds, it was another loss.91 Undeterred, Grace kept hitting. He collected two hits in three at bats on July 20, one hit the next day, two hits both on July 23 and 24, another hit on July 25, and Grace hit his third home run in eight games on July 26.92 In a little more than a week, Grace had become “by far Paducah’s best individual attraction,” and he was earning attention beyond Paducah as well.93

On July 28, it was reported that the Philadelphia Athletics had made an offer to Hook for the twenty-year-old Grace, but Hook was reluctant to sell given Grace’s value to his last-place team.94 Grace stayed with the Red Birds and he stayed hot. On August 1, he singled, doubled, and hit a Kitty League-record three triples in a 10–8 win at Hopkinsville.95 Grace would get two more hits on August 2 before his streak ended at fifteen games.96 Grace batted .484 during his streak, and raised his overall batting average from .273 on July 15 to .337 on August 2.97

Through the duration of Grace’s streak, which for a dozen games was matched by Floyd Perryman’s own streak, the Red Birds won only six times. With an 8–13 record, they were in last place on August 2, five games behind the league-leading Portageville Pirates.98 To add to the Birds’ season-long struggle with errors, unearned runs, and late-inning losses were injuries to Sam Wright, Floyd Perryman, and Jenks Mason, and Harry Wright quitting the team after seeing his brother, Sam, sent to the hospital when he was bowled over by Portageville Pirates’ 200-pound catcher Bill Scheele while fielding a bunt.99

By August 1 the Red Birds were considered out of contention for the second-half championship, and on August 5, Fred Glass was out of a job.100 The timing of Glass’s firing is interesting; the Red Birds had scored 29 runs in the three games before Glass was fired and won two of them. Hook simply said he was “not satisfied” with Glass, while Glass responded that there was “too much interference from the box office.”101 Hook cited Mel Ivy’s popularity among his teammates when he named the catcher his new player-manager.102 Glass returned to Metropolis, Illinois, and resumed managing the city’s Hard Roads League team.103

The Red Birds fared no better under the twenty-year-old Ivy. Although Paducah was recognized as having the best pitching staff in the Kitty League, it was getting difficult for the hurlers to find victories when “they always have to play with anywhere from four to six errors behind them.”104 First-half ace Aubrey Mitchell hadn’t won in eight straight starts dating back to July 2, and to further upend the defense, Jenks Mason, the club’s regular second baseman, signed on to play softball with a team from Mayfield, Kentucky, once he healed from a late-July injury.105 Five different second basemen were used in the first seven games under Ivy’s management until the “sensational” Robert Brown secured the position.106 Aside from Floyd Perryman and Joe Grace, the rest of the lineup wasn’t producing much. On August 12, Perryman was batting .370, as he had done most of the season, and Grace hit a three-run home run as the Red Birds won for only the fourth time in the last twelve games, the extent of Ivy’s tenure as manager.107

With fourteen games remaining, Hook hired the team’s fourth manager right out of the stands. E.R. Jones was vacationing in Paducah watching the Red Birds and when he displayed “such a thorough knowledge of the game” to Hook, Hook hired him.108 Jones had known some of the players on the Red Birds from his managing of an American Legion baseball tournament in Marion, Illinois, where many of the team’s ten native southern Illinoisans had played.

Jones quickly had the Red Birds playing their best baseball of the season. On August 20, Jones’s second game as manager, Aubrey Mitchell shut out the Hopkinsville Hoppers on three hits to win for the first time in nearly two months.109 The next day, Jones pinch hit for starting pitcher Clarence Owens in the eighth inning and knocked in the two runs that gave Paducah the win.110 On August 23, every Red Bird in the lineup but Louie Perryman had at least one hit and the Birds beat Lexington.111 A shutout of first-place Jackson by Gerald Veach followed on August 25 and Paducah crept .005 percentage points ahead of Lexington for fifth place in the league.112 Two wins later and the Red Birds had their longest winning streak of the season at four games on August 27.113

On August 29, an “untouchable” Veach allowed only three singles and Grace knocked in a run and scored the other as the Red Birds won their sixth straight over the Union City Greyhounds, 2–1.114 Mitchell was unable to sustain the streak the next day and the Red Birds closed out August with a loss.115 At Jackson on September 1, Jones put himself up to bat in the tenth inning with the bases loaded and again won the game with a clutch hit. On September 2, the last day of the season, the Red Birds played a split-park doubleheader against Union City, but without Floyd Perryman who had injured his shoulder in the game against Jackson. With Perryman out, Grace hitless, and eleven total errors, the Red Birds lost both games and finished the second half in fifth place with a 21–27 record.116

With the season coming to a close and teams looking to stock up on promising young talent, Hook began entertaining offers for his players. As expected, the three Red Bird All-Stars — Gerald Veach, Floyd Perryman, and Joe Grace — were highly desired. Veach led the Red Birds with a 2.43 earned run average and was named the best left-handed pitcher in the Kitty League.117 The Memphis Chicks of the Southern Association were the first to show interest in Veach, but it was the National League’s Boston Braves that gave Hook $1,500 and the use of two pitchers for Paducah’s 1936 team after Veach impressed Braves’ manager Bill McKechnie at a tryout in St. Louis on September 5.118 Veach was one of Boston’s pitchers who “distinguished themselves” in spring training, and at only nineteen years old, he made the Bees’ roster (the Boston Braves were renamed the Bees in 1936).119

For two tantalizing months, the Bees gave Veach “a chance to see how it is done in the big show,” but from the dugout.120 He never made his major league debut and on June 15 was sent down to the club’s Class B team in Columbia, South Carolina, and on to the Class-D Andalusia, Alabama, Reds where he went 8–1 with a 2.38 ERA.121 Veach ended his professional baseball career after the 1938 season and returned to Southern Illinois Normal University.122

Floyd Perryman led the league in batting with his .359 batting average, prompting the Albany Senators to purchase him sight unseen from Hook for $500 and the use of two players.123 In February 1936, Perryman joined the parent club Washington Senators’ spring training in Orlando, Florida, and impressed manager Bucky Harris with his catcher’s mitt, but not his bat.124 Perryman hit so poorly that he fell from contention to be the Senators’ third-string catcher and was reassigned to the Chattanooga Lookouts, the Senators’ Southern Association team, as some questioned how he was ever a batting champion the year before.125 At the end of spring training, Perryman was transferred to the Class-D Mayodan, North Carolina, Millers, where he played in 1936.126

In 1938, playing for the Fort Smith, Arkansas, Giants, Perryman batted .260, fielded .989, and even won eight games as a pitcher, earning him the near-unanimous selection as the Western Association’s most valuable player.127 Perryman ended his career back in the Kitty League, playing for the Paducah Indians in 1941, and he was the Jackson Generals’ first baseman on June 20, 1942, the last night of Kitty League play before the league’s fourth phase folded due to financial woes in the wake of World War II.128

Joe Grace quickly made up for his slow start to the 1935 season, and just as quickly drew the eye of many suitors. In July, Hook turned down an undisclosed offer for Grace from the Philadelphia Athletics, and when the Jackson Generals offered cash and two players to rent Grace for the final two weeks of the Kitty League season, Hook again said no. Just five days later, on August 30, a scout from the Memphis Chicks was at Hook Park giving Grace a hard look, but before the Chicks could make an offer, Hook sent Grace to St. Louis to shop him to the Braves along with Gerald Veach.129 The Braves did not make an offer for Grace at first, only agreeing to invite him to spring training in a few months.130

On September 7, Hook received a phone call that the Braves agreed to purchase Grace for $1500.131 A follow-up call from manager McKechnie on September 10, however, revealed that Commissioner of Baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis had blocked the sale of Grace due to the Braves’ deplorable financial condition (the Braves were only able to sign Veach when McKechnie put up the money himself).132 In the meantime, Memphis made an offer of $500 for Grace but Hook refused to accept anything less than $1000.133 On September 11, Hook received papers from Chicks owner Tom Watkins for the transfer of Grace, but Hook claimed the Braves already had an option on Grace.134 Hook was buying time so the Braves could scrape together $1500, three times Memphis’s offer. the Braves never came up with the cash and, on October 15, National Association President W.G. Bramham declared that a telephone conversation Hook had with Watkins constituted a sale, and Hook accepted the $500 from Memphis.135 Grace batted .304 in three seasons with Memphis before making his major league debut with the St. Louis Browns on September 24, 1938.136 By 1941 Grace had become the Browns regular right fielder and he batted .309 that year with the American League’s sixth-best on-base percentage of .410.137 In 1944, while the Browns were making their only World Series appearance, Grace was instrumental in the Navy winning the Armed Service World Series in Hawaii, batting .280 for the series, including a grand slam in Game Two.138 Grace played two more years in the majors after the war, and ended his career with six seasons in the Pacific Coast League, batting .299 and earning the nickname “Old Reliable.”139

Sports fans made 1935 a historic year in Paducah. As the Depression wore on, Paducahans turned to sports like never before. Retailers across the city reported a fifteen percent increase in the sale of sporting equipment and anywhere from twenty-five to fifty percent more people attended the city’s football, baseball, golf, boxing, wrestling, and tennis events than in 1934.140 When the gate receipts were totaled at Hook Park, the team had broken even, and the sale of Veach, Perryman, and Grace “netted [Hook] a nice profit for the season.”141 Hook vowed to learn from his mistake of the 1935 Red Birds being the lowest paid players in the league, and increased salaries for 1936 so that he may have a “more harmonious team.”142 In March it was announced the Paducah team would be affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds, and when Cherokee Ben Tincup was hired as the new manager in April, fans convincingly insisted it was “only proper” to call the team by its old name, the Paducah Indians.143 On Opening Day, the Indians won big over the Mayfield Clothiers en route to the first-half championship and tied for best record for the 1936 season.144

Hook sold the team and ballpark to Holland Bryan and R.L. Myre in March 1937. The Kitty League would live its last life in Paducah from 1951 to 1955.145 

MICHAEL TOW is a history and language arts teacher living in Seattle. Originally from southern Illinois, Michael is a former assistant editor of the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, and has over a dozen historical publications to his name. Michael has contributed to both the SABR Historic Games and Biography Projects, and is currently writing a book-length biography of Joe Grace. Michael can be reached at michaelctow@gmail.com.

 

Notes

  1. Joshua R. Maxwell and Kevin D. McCann, The Kitty League (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2012), 9; and Kevin McCann, “Kitty League 101,” Kitty League (website), accessed May 24, 2020, http://www.kittyleague.com/features/kittyleague101.htm.

  2. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, January 13, 1935: 10.

  3. Maxwell and McCann, 9, 30–31; and Kevin Reichard, “Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee (Kitty) League,” Ballpark Digest (website), published November 4, 2008, https://ballparkdigest.com/20081104918/minor-leaguebaseball/news/kentucky-illinois-tennessee-kitty-league. See also “Minor League History: Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League (1903–1906 and 1910–1916),” Dutch Baseball Hangout (blog), published January 5, 2018, https://dutchbaseballhangout.wordpress.com/2018/01/05/minor-league-history-kentucky-illinois-tennesseeleague-1903-1906-and-1910-1916.

  4. “Dr. Frank Bassett Works To Reorganize Kitty Loop,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, January 2, 1935: 2; “Minor League History: Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League (1903–1906 and 1910–1916);” and “Minor League History: Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League (1922–1924 and 1935–1942),” Dutch Baseball Hangout, published January 15, 2018, https://dutchbaseballhangout.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/minor-leaguehistorykentucky-illinois-tennessee-league-1922-1924-and-1937-1942.

  5. “Dr. Frank Bassett Works.”

  6. Robert M. Rennick, Kentucky Place Names (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1984), 224.

  7. Randy Morgan, interview by Kate Lochte, Sounds Good, 91.3 WKMS-FM, August 11, 2015. Baseball historian Randy Morgan claims that baseball was brought to Paducah by “soldiers from the northeast,” where “the game had been played in New England and New York [and] Pennsylvania areas” before the Civil War. In the interview, Morgan implies these soldiers played baseball at a fort (likely Fort Anderson) that the Union Army built just outside of Paducah. A thorough search of all fifty-one volumes of War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies did not uncover any Union Army correspondence mentioning soldiers from the northeast encamped at Fort Anderson. However, a search of the National Park Service’s collection of detailed regimental histories revealed just one regiment, the 34th New Jersey Infantry, as having duty at Paducah from August 28 to December 1864, and a handful of other various regiments from New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Jersey having “movement through Kentucky to Cairo, Ill., June 4–10, [1863], thence to Vicksburg, Miss.” Though undocumented, it is possible baseball could have been brought to Paducah by soldiers in one of these units.

  8. “Evansville’s Managers,” The Sporting News, February 6, 1897: 7.

  9. “All Over Now,” Paducah (KY) Daily Sun, July 26, 1897: 4.

10. See “Post Season Games Will Be Played,” Paducah (KY) Evening Sun, August 18, 1905: 3; “Annual Revival Of Kitty Is In Order Just Now,” Paducah (KY) News-Democrat, November 30, 1916: 6; and “New Baseball League Talked,” Paducah (KY) News-Democrat, January 13, 1924: 1.

11. “Kitty League Baseball May Return Here,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, April 19, 1933: 2.

12. “Youngsters Report For First Baseball Drill,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, April 21, 1933: 10.

13. “League Formed For Baseball Competition,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 3, 1934: 10; and “Little Kitty League Schedule Is Drafted,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 5, 1934: 8.

14. Paul Mickelson, “Each Team Wants Something Free At Diamond Meet,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, November 21, 1934: 2.

15. Sam Livingston, January 13, 1935.

16. Maxwell and McCann, 9; and “Dr. Frank Bassett Works.”

17. “Kitty League Is Definitely Re-Organized,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, April 29, 1935: 2.

18. Hugh S. Fullerton, “‘Watch His Arm!’ The Science of Coaching,” in The American Magazine (New York: Crowell Publishing Company, 1911), 72: 469; and Sam Livingston, January 13, 1935.

19. “Kitty Loop’s Reorganization Seems Certain,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, January 30, 1935: 2; and Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, February 1, 1935: 10.

20. “Progress Shown In Reorganizing Old Kitty Loop,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, February 18, 1935: 2.

21. How much, if anything, Hook ended up getting from the Cardinals was not reported. Sam Livingston of the Paducah Sun-Democrat mentioned many times over the next few years that Hook had financed the 1935 team all on his own. The only assistance Hook may have received was hand-me-down uniforms from one of the Cardinals’ minor league clubs. “Cardinals To Help Paducah In Kitty Loop,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, March 6, 1935: 2; and “Round Ralph, Confident Mel Simons Will Give Paducah Good Ball Club, Urges Fans To Help,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, April 2, 1941: 10.

22. “Cardinals To Help Paducah;” and Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, January 24, 1935: 10. The location of Hook Park was determined using a 1936 Paducah map from the United States Geological Survey, https://www.oldmapsonline.org/map/usgs/5292838, accessed June 5, 2020, and Google Maps.

23. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Schang remained a player and caught thirty-nine games for the 1935 Muskogee Tigers. Johnny Hodapp’s Society for American Baseball Research biography indicates he retired from baseball after the 1934 season and returned to Cincinnati to become a mortician. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, April 5, 1935: 12; and Bill Nowlin, “Johnny Hodapp,” Society for American Baseball Research (website), accessed June 5, 2020, https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/3eff4e84.

24. “Kitty League Re-Organized;” and “40 Youngsters Report for Initial Drill of the Paducah Kitty League Ball Squad,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, May 2, 1935: 12.

25. “40 Youngsters Report.”

26. “40 Youngsters Report.”

27. “Kitty League Season Will Open Next Week,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, May 15, 1935: 6; Randy Morgan, Paducah’s Native Baseball Team (n.p.: Randy Morgan, 2015), 84; and “Kitty League Season To Open Tomorrow,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, May 21, 1935: 6.

28. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, May 20, 1935: 2.

29. “Kitty League Open Tomorrow.”

30. “800 Fans See Paducah Capture Kitty Opener,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, May 23, 1935: 10.

31. “Hoppers Beat Red Birds In Tenth, 4 to 3,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, May 24, 1935: 12.

32. “How the Birds Won Friday,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, May 26, 1935: 10.

33. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, May 26, 1935: 10.

34. “Paducah Baseball Club To Be Strengthened,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 2, 1935: 11.

35. “Lexington Puts On Rally In 8th To Beat Paducah,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat June 3, 1935: 8.

36. “Jackson Arrives Here For Series With Griffinmen,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 4, 1935: 6.

37. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 4, 1935: 6.

38. “Paducah To Be Strengthened.”

39. Outfielder-pitcher Connie Lee, first baseman Robert Mason (both opening day starters), and pitchers Palmer Pinnegar and Chief Jackaway (or Jackoway) had also been released by June 12. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Mason played professionally again from 1937 to 1941. The Paducah Sun-Democrat mentions Ruoff and Hughes playing for teams in Paducah’s semi-professional softball league after their release from the Red Birds, and, later, for the independent Paducah Merchants baseball team. Pinnegar joined the Merchants after his release, and returned to the Red Birds for one game on July 9, giving up nine runs in seven innings. “Portageville To Oppose Birds In Ladies’ Day Fray,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 12, 1935: 2.

40. “How They Stand,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 5, 1935: 2.

41. “Williams and Sanders Help Mitchell Win,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 5, 1935: 2.

42. “Williams and Sanders Help Mitchell Win.”

43. “Paducah Whips Jackson, 7 To 6, In 11th Inning,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 6, 1935: 12.

44. “1,100 See Mitchell Lead Birds To Victory,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 10, 1935: 8.

45. “Birds Beat Lexington, 2 To 1; Sweep Series,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 11, 1935: 2.

46. “Mitchell Beats Portageville For 6th Win,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 17, 1935: 8; and “Red Birds Again Triumph Over Portageville; Lefty Veach Grants Only 6 Hits,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 18, 1935: 8.

47. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 17, 1935: 8; and “How They Stand,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 18, 1935: 8.

48. “Mitchell To Pitch For Birds At Union City,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 20, 1935: 10.

49. “Jackson Wins In The Tenth,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 19, 1935: 2; “Mitchell To Pitch;” “Union City Again Thumps Paducah Birds, 6–2,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 23, 1935: 8; Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 23, 1935: 8; and “How Birds Lost Friday Night,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 23, 1935: 9.

50. “Mitchell To Pitch.”

51. “How Birds Lost Friday Night,” June 23, 1935.

52. “Veach Pitches Beautifully But Poor Support Enables Portageville to Beat Him,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 24, 1935: 8.

53. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 24, 1935: 8.

54. “Kitty League,” The Sporting News, June 27, 1935: 5.

55. Walters pitched at least one game for the Jackson Generals after leaving the Red Birds. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 27, 1935: 12; and “Portageville Wins,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 3, 1935: 2.

56. “Portageville Wins.”; Baseball-Reference.com shows Williams played twenty games with the Jackson Generals in 1940, his only other season in professional baseball.

57. “How They Stand,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 30, 1935: 11.

58. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 30, 1935: 10.

59. “Burr Pierce’s Homer With 2 Aboard Pulls Red Birds Ahead to Defeat Hoppers,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 3, 1935: 2.

60. “Red Birds Play Raggedly and Lose to Hopkinsville,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 4, 1935: 8.

61. “Red Birds Play Raggedly and Lose to Hopkinsville.”

62. “Union City Wins Pair of Holiday Tilts from Birds,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 5, 1935: 10.

63. “How They Stand,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 8, 1935: 2.

64. “Lexington Falls To Paducah, 2–1, In Hurling Duel,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 9, 1935: 2.

65. Louis Bertoni replaced Roger “Sonny” Fields — who had been the Red Birds regular shortstop all season — and hit .364 in three games with Paducah. Ferrell, whose first name is unknown, played only this one game with Paducah. Milkovich’s first name is also unknown, and the Zeigler, Illinois, native replaced “Red” Davis at third base and hit .200 in four games. As stated above, Pinnegar returned for just this one game with the Red Birds after having been released in early June.

66. “Red Birds Drop No. 1, Trounce Lexington in 2nd,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 10, 1935: 2.

67. “Red Birds Drop No. 1, Trounce Lexington in 2nd.”

68. “How They Stand,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 10, 1935: 7.

69. “Birds, Aided By Homers, Win As 2nd Half Opens,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 11, 1935: 9.

70. “Birds, Aided By Homers…”

71. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 11, 1935: 8.

72. Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue.”

73. “Three Bases On Balls And Three Errors Cost Tilt,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 12, 1935: 10; and “Paducah Red Birds To Have New Manager,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 14, 1935: 10.

74. “Paducah New Manager.”

75. “Paducah New Manager.”

76. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 14, 1935: 10; and Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 6, 1935: 12.

77. Sam Livingston, June 6, 1935.

78. “Glass Named Manager Of Paducah Red Birds,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 15, 1935: 2.

79. Upon his hiring as Red Birds’ manager, the Paducah Sun-Democrat reported Glass pitched for the New York Giants from 1905 to 1907, but neither Baseball-Reference.com nor Baseball Almanac lists Glass on the Giants’ roster for those years. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Glass began his professional career with the Jacksonville, Illinois, Braves in 1909.

80. “Fred Glass Has Exploded One Of The Theories Of Modern Baseball,” Winnipeg Tribune, August 23, 1912: 6; and “‘Nap’ Scout Looks Over Fred Glass,” Winnipeg Tribune, June 3, 1914: 10.

81. “Jesse Gilbert Is Baseball Head,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, March 12, 1915: 6; and Baseball Reference.

82. “‘Kitty’ To Open Its Season In 4 Parks On Tuesday,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, May 15, 1922: 2; and “McGown On Denver Bandit Gang in 1922,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 13, 1925: 1.

83. “Glass Named Manager.”

84. “Glass, Mason Are Put Out of Game As Birds Lose to Union City Outfit, 6 to 5,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 16, 1935: 2; and Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 16, 1935: 2.

85. The debuts of these six players were determined using the box scores reported in the Paducah Sun-Democrat from July 17–25, 1935. Wilson’s first name is unknown. In 1935, Mel Ivy had not yet shortened his name from Ivanski. By early 1936, the entire Ivanski family from Marion, Illinois, began appearing as Ivy. The reason for this change is not known.

86. “How They Stand,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 25, 1935: 10.

87. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 28, 1935: 8.

88. “Adams’ Homer In Last Frame Whips Paducah,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 19, 1935: 10.

89. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 19, 1935: 10.

90. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 21, 1935: 10; and “How Birds Lost Friday,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 21, 1935: 11.

91. “How Birds Lost Friday,” July 21, 1935.

92. Grace’s hitting statistics are compiled from the box scores reported in the Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat from July 21–27, 1935.

93. “Red Birds Will Play Lexington Here Tomorrow,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 24, 1935: 2.

94. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 28, 1935: 8.

95. “Kitty League,” The Sporting News, August 8, 1935: 7.

96. “How the Birds Won Friday,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 4, 1935: 9; and “Grace’s Streak Ends As Giants Beat Red Birds,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 5, 1935: 6.

97. “Birds Hope To Break Their Road Mark Today,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 4, 1935: 9.

98. “How They Stand,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 4, 1935: 8.

99. Both Harry and Sam Wright left the Red Birds after playing just the one game and returned to the Beer Barons, one of Paducah’s many semiprofessional softball teams. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 21, 1935: 10.

100. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 5, 1935: 6.

101. Sam Livingston, August 5, 1935; and Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 6, 1935: 2.

102. Sam Livingston, August 6, 1935.

103. “Metropolis Will Play Marion Today; Schneeman Is Gone,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 11, 1935: 9.

104. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 18, 1935: 8; and “Hopkinsville To Play Red Birds This Afternoon,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 11, 1935: 8.

105. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 11, 1935: 8.

106. “Skin” Griffin, Lake, Joe Grace, and Lauder each played second base from August 5 until Brown was signed on August 12. “Red Birds Win 5th Game In 6 Starts,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 27, 1935: 2.

107. “The Birds at Bat,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 18, 1935: 9; and “Veach Strikes Out 9 As Red Birds Win Over Union City, 9-2; Joe Grace Hits Homer,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 19, 1935: 2.

108. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 26, 1935: 2.

109. “Mitchell Blanks Hopkinsville, Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 21, 1935: 2.

110. “Red Birds Again Win Over Hoppers,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 22, 1935: 10.

111. “How the Birds Won Friday,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 25, 1935: 10.

112. “Gerald Veach Shuts Out Jackson,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 26, 1935: 2; and “How They Stand,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 26, 1935: 3.

113. “Triumphant Red Birds To Return Home Thursday For Tilt With Union City Nine,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 28, 1935: 2.

114. “Gerald Veach Untouchable In Series Opener,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 30, 1935: 13.

115. “Birds Invade Jackson For Game Today,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, September 1, 1935: 8.

116. “Union City Wins Last Two Games From Red Birds,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, September 3, 1935: 2.

117. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue, Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, September 6, 1935: 12.

118. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue, Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, August 30, 1935: 13; and Sam Livingston, September 6, 1935.

119. “By Bob Dunbar,” Boston Herald, April 2, 1936: 31.

120. “Pitcher Gerald Veach In One Year Made Way Up,” Andalusia (AL) Star, August 27, 1936: 7.

121. “Kitty League,” The Sporting News, July 2, 1936: 10; and Baseball-Reference.com.

122. Baseball-Reference.com; and “SINU Students to Complete Work by August 1st, 1941,” Murphysboro (IL) Daily Independent, June 5, 1941: 6.

123. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, September 11, 1935: 2.

124. “Young Catcher From Paducah Wins Praise of Nats’ Leaders,” Evening Star (Washington, DC), February 28, 1936: C2.

125. “Young Catcher From Paducah…”; Wirt Gammon, “Catcher Floyd Perryman Is Turned Over to Lookouts by Washington,” Chattanooga (TN) Daily Times, March 12, 1936: 11; and Wirt Gammon, “Lookouts Pack Up their Togs This Morning and Move to Daytona Beach,” Chattanooga (TN) Daily Times, March 10, 1936: 8.

126. The Millers, sometimes referred to as the Orphans or the Senators, had a loose affiliation with the Washington Nationals in 1936. “Southern League,” The Sporting News, April 16, 1936: 12; and “International League,” The Sporting News, September 10, 1936: 9.

127. John B. Foster, ed., Spalding’s Official Baseball Guide, 1939 (New York: American Sports Publishing Company, 1937), 289, 292–93; and “Perryman, Fort Smith Catcher, Most Valuable Player,” Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), August 21, 1938: 15.

128. Baseball Reference; “Barons Beat Jackson In Final Game Of Year,” Park City (Kentucky) Daily News, June 21, 1942: 6; and “Players Scatter As Turbulent Kitty Folds For Fourth Time; Curtis Goes To Atlanta Club,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, June 21, 1942: 8.

129. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue, Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, September 6, 1935: 12.

130. Livingston, September 6.

131. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue, Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, September 8, 1935: 12.

132. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue, Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, September 10, 1935: 6. See also “Fuchs Resigns As Braves Head,” Boston Herald, August 1, 1935: 22; and Bob LeMoine, “Boston Braves Team Ownership History,” Society for American Baseball Research Biography Project, accessed June 21, 2020, https://sabr.org/bioproj/topic/boston-braves-team-ownership-history/.

133. Sam Livingston, September 10, 1935.

134. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue, Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, September 11, 1935: 2.

135. Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue, Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, October 16, 1935: 8.

136. Martin J. Haley, “Browns Beat Chisox, 8–7, Then Lose to Knott, 3–2,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 25, 1938: 5C.

137. Baseball-Reference.com.

138. “Mize Leads Batters In Service World Series,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, October 2, 1944: 11; and Dan McGuire, “Grace Clouts Homer As Navy Wins,” Honolulu Advertiser, September 24, 1944: 16.

139. Emmons Byrne, “Oaks Slug Seals, Move Up,” Oakland Tribune, July 23, 1952: 40.

140. Sam Livingston, “Record Number Of Participants And Spectators Enjoyed Sports In Paducah During 1935; Desire To Play Considered Encouraging Sign,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, January 1, 1936: 8.

141. “Record Number Of Participants…Encouraging Sign.”

142. “Six Surviving Members Of Red Birds To Get Raises,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, January 17, 1936: 14.

143. Seth Boaz, “Tincup To Manage Paducah Kitty Team,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, March 17, 1936: 8; and Sam Livingston, “Down Sports Avenue,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, April 3, 1936: 14.

144. Sam Livingston, “Hayes Hurls Indians To Win Over Mayfield,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, May 20, 1936: 2; “Standings,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, July 17, 1936: 10; and “Standings,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, September 15, 1936: 2.

145. “Kitty League Baseball Team Is Assured For Paducah,” Paducah (KY) Sun-Democrat, March 12, 1937: 12; and “Minor League History: Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League (1946–1955),” Dutch Baseball Hangout (blog), published November 4, 2018, https://dutchbaseballhangout.blog/2018/11/04/minor-league-history-kentuckyillinoistennessee-league-1946-1955.

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