Vernon Kennedy Link
and again in 1938. In a 12-season career, Kennedy posted a 104-132 record with 691 strikeouts and a 4.67 ERA in 1025⅔ innings.Kennedy died in Mendon, Missouri, at the age of 85 after a shed roof collapsed on him. He was active in Senior Olympics.
|Born: March 20, 1907|
Kansas City, Missouri
|Died: January 28, 1993 (aged 85)|
|Batted: Left||Threw: Right|
|September 18, 1934 for the Chicago White Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 27, 1945 for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Earned run average||4.67|
|Career highlights and awards|
|1936 All-Star Game|
American League All-Star Squad
|Luke Appling||Chicago White Sox||SS|
|Earl Averill||Cleveland Indians||OF|
|Tommy Bridges||Detroit Tigers||P||Replaced - Injury|
|Ben Chapman||Washington Senators||OF|
|Frankie Crosetti||New York Yankees||SS|
|Bill Dickey||New York Yankees||C|
|Joe DiMaggio||New York Yankees||OF|
|Rick Ferrell||Boston Red Sox||C|
|Jimmie Foxx||Boston Red Sox||3B|
|Lou Gehrig||New York Yankees||1B|
|Charlie Gehringer||Detroit Tigers||2B|
|New York Yankees||P||Did Not Pitch|
|Goose Goslin||Detroit Tigers||OF|
|Boston Red Sox||P||Starting Pitcher|
|Rollie Hemsley||St. Louis Browns||C||Did Not Play|
|Pinky Higgins||Philadelphia Athletics||3B|
|Vern Kennedy||Chicago White Sox||P||Replaced Bridges|
|Monte Pearson||New York Yankees||P||Did Not Pitch|
|Rip Radcliff||Chicago White Sox||OF|
|George Selkirk||New York Yankees||OF|
BOLD = Fan's / manager's choice to start the game.
Celebrated Athlete Set Winning Pace for Kennedy Family LegacyLike a scene from an old motion picture, hundreds of people poured into the streets shouting in jubilation and carrying their local hero on their shoulders. It was no Hollywood production but spring 1927 and downtown Warrensburg. A celebration focused on an athlete from Central Missouri State Teachers College who had set the track world abuzz.
|Brothers Vernon (upper left) and Bill Kennedy (lower right) were formidible competitors and multi-sport athletes at Central Missouri.|
Intercollegiate Athletics not only recognizes his contributions to athletics but to quality education by annually presenting the Vernon Kennedy Award to the most outstanding senior male student athlete. Athleticism is only one consideration, says Shawn Jones, associate athletic director-external operations. The recipient has to do well academically, too.
Education AchievementsA scholarship established through the UCM Foundation offers some students a more tangible way to honor the university legend.
"Although he's best remembered for his athletic career, he was also interested in kids getting a good education," says Carole Kennedy, a career educator and former president of the 28,000-member National Association of Elementary School Principals. She and her brother, Lynn, are Vernon and Maud Kennedy's two children.
"When dad passed away, we asked for contributions in his memory to help set up the Vernon Kennedy Memorial Scholarship," she says. "Then, when mother passed away in November 2005, we added enough money to endow it."
The award is presented through the College of Education to a student who wants to become a teacher. Staying true to Kennedy's small-town roots, it's for students who come from school districts with fewer than 2,000 K-12 students. Students must meet specific academic standards and good character traits.
Although the scholarship honors the memory of Carole Kennedy's father, she says it is a tribute to other family members who have pursued education careers, including her mother, her uncle Bill Kennedy and his wife, Vesta, who all became teachers. Having always admired the educators in his family, Vernon Kennedy became certified to teach driver education after a long career as a professional athlete.
"It makes you pretty proud," says Vernon's only sister, Marjorie Morgan of Box Springs, GA. "We used to listen to the ballgames on the radio a lot. Whenever he'd throw a strike, my mother would say, ‘He's going to win today.'
Long before Kennedy was throwing to great batters like Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx and Ted Williams, he was honing his lively fastball with "burnout" sessions with his brother, Bill, back in Mendon. Carole Kennedy says most towns of that day had their own community ball teams, and her dad seized every opportunity to play in the local leagues. It paid off one hot summer in 1930. A scout from the Philadelphia A's who saw him strike out 16 batters while playing against a St. Louis team offered him a $150-a-month contract.
Shortly thereafter, he joined the Burlington, IA, Bees in the Mississippi Valley League, then moved on to Oklahoma City in the Texas League, where he won 18 games. He began his 12-year stay in the majors at the end of the 1934 season when the White Sox purchased his contract.
On Aug. 31, 1935, the hard-throwing, right-handed pitcher from Mendon became the first man to throw a no-hitter at Chicago's Comiskey Park, a 5-0 shutout over the Cleveland Indians. With 21 wins the following year, his most productive as a major leaguer, he went on to make the All-Star team. He was named All-Star again in 1938, the same year he joined the Detroit Tigers.
Those days were a far cry from the glitz and glamour of today's major league baseball. In an interview with The Kansas City Star's Gib Twyman, Kennedy explains what it was like playing for one struggling Missouri team:
"Just Sportsman's Park itself gives you an idea how it was on the Browns," Kennedy told Twyman. "They'd have circuses there when we weren't playing and, as far as we could tell, nobody ever bothered to clean up the field afterward. You'd come out the next day and there'd be wagon ruts and elephant tracks all across the infield."
Of course, elephant droppings, which were left for fertilizer, provided another interesting obstacle for the fielders.
Helping AttitudeAlthough they are proud of his sports career, the Kennedy family remembers Vernon's modesty and how he only talked about baseball or track if someone asked. Don Kennedy, who now laughs about the pet alligator that Vernon gave the younger family members, remembers his generosity and what he and his wife, Maud, did for others. It's a sentiment that is shared by the rest of his family.
As Carole Kennedy recollects, "Even though my dad certainly didn't get rich playing baseball, he and my mom worked hard and were wise in the way they used their money. But if somebody needed a loan, they got it from my dad. If somebody needed to go to the doctor, my mom and dad took them. If there was a fence that needed to be put in, my dad helped build it."
As the Kennedy family can attest, this – as much as no-hitters and great track awards – is what makes great heroes.
— Jeff Murphy '76 hs, '80, '95
|Vernon Kennedy, Missouri|