Holden Chiefs Semi-ProBatboy Mike Roberts, Ralph Vossen, Jim Bodenhamer, Vick Wilde, Hank Geritz, player-manager, Verle "Stub" Roberts, Alex Zych (KC Royals HOF Equipment Mgr), Jack Pickett, Pete Vitale, and batboy Gene Hyatt. BACK - Jack Bodenhamer, Jim Griffin, Bill Delick, Ray Uniak Jim DePalo, Everett Burton, Tom Mainey, Russ Swingle, and Bill Ralahan. Holden, Missouri Chiefs 1954
From the Johnson County MO Historical Society Bulletin
The team played in the 1954 national tournament at Wichita, Kansas. The success of the team was due to Verle J. "Stub" Roberts and his wife, and the many fans of the team. Holden built a baseball field which was the best illuminated field of its size in this state. The first game under lights was played May 29, 1947.
In 1949, the second annual baseball tournament was played in Holden with 15 teams participated and 1,000 in cash prizes. In 1951, the Holden Chiefs were in second place in the state district tournament. The team had had such a winning record that they were invited to participate in the national tournament in Wichita, KS in 1954 and 1955. They finished in 4th place in 1954, and seventh out of 53 championship teams in the the nation 1955. They were awarded three trophies; Sportsmanship, Best Dressed Team and Best Town team under 5000 population.
Through the years the Holden Chiefs played over 74 different teams. Some of the teams were the San Francisco Sea Lions, New York Black Yankees, Kansas City Giants, negro team, Kansas City Monarchs (Satchel Paige, pitcher), Detroit Stars, over 60 Missouri teams.
Whitey Herzog, former KC Royals manager played for the Holden Chiefs. Among the Johnson County Boys playing for the Holden Chiefs were Jack and Jim Bodenhamer, Dale Honey, Galen Marr, Kenny Jones, Ab Kane and Verner Shippy.
Sedalia Democrat Aug. 10, 1954
The Sedalia Democrat July 30, 1954
During the 19th annual Missouri State Semi-Pro baseball tournament there have been, up to the present time. 29 home runs in the 32 games which have been played. Whitey Herzog of the Holden Chiefs is leading in the home run department with four. Jerry Lumpee, former Sedalia Ban Johnson Chiefs player, now playing with the Springfield Generals, has the distinction of having hit the first circuit drive of the tournament and has two to his credit. Griffen.Lawrence, KS World Journal July 24, 1952
The Sedalia Democrat July 30, 1954
In the second game of the evening, the Holden Chiefs moved closer to the semi-finals by defeating the Grandview Base 5-3. The victory gives the Chiefs a 2-0 record and the loss puts Grandview down to 1-1 standing. Herzog of the Chiefs put the wood to the ball in the third inning for a home run to score Uniak ahead of him after he had singled. Griffin walked as the next batter and then scored the third run on Mainey’s single. The Grandviw Bears tallied one in the top of the sixth, added two more in the seventh to knot the score. The tie was snapped in the bottom of the eighth when Griffen walked and scored on Vossen’s single. Vossen then scored on a wild pitch, to get the leading run.
|July 25, 1955 Southeast Missourian|
First baseman C.W. Suedekum of the Capahas pulls into third base with his second triple of the game as Holden Third-Sacker Mainey backs up for the throw from the outfield. It was during the Missouri State Semi-Pro Tournament second-round game at Capaha Park in which the Capahas defeated the Holden Chiefs, 10 to 7. (G.D. Fronabarger photo)
The Sedalia Democrat June 23, 1950
Cubs to Seek Win Tonight Over Holden in Sedalia to Meet Strong Semi-Pro Rivals at Park The Sedalia Cubs will face the Holden Chiefs tonight in a game at Liberty park scheduled to start at 8:15 o'clock. Two weeks ago the Chiefs defeated the Cubs at Holden during a pitcher's duel which ended 1 to 0. Lefty Pickett, of Kansas City, and Bob Newbill, of the Cubs, who opposed each other in the previous game between the two clubs will probably, meet again tonight. It will be up to the Cubs to snap, the Holden six game winning streak and to avenge their recent blanking by the Chiefs. Both pitchers in that 1 to 0 game gave up only four hits. In the Sedalia lineup, Slocum, leftfielder, is leading the team in hitting with a .410 average while Barr has .340 and Hume .318. Ken Ditton, 20-year-old rookie. who played his first game with the Cubs recently will be included in Sedalia's line-up tonight.
Former K. C. Blues In Holden Line-up.
The Holden line-up is composed of Sedalians, Kansas Citians and players from many other nearby communities. On third base, for example, is Jimmy Taylor, an ex-Cub. Roberts and Bodenhamer, of Sedalia. are key men on the Holden club. Griffin, an ex-K. C. Blues catcher, will be behind the plate. Uniak, husky six feet, four inch first baseman from Kansas City, is one of the team's power hitters. Pitching assignments will not be confirmed until game time.
Boone County’s Frank Graham, J.C. Penney share ties to 4-H
By BILL CLARK
Published Monday, May 9, 2005
What do J.C. Penney and Frank Graham have in common?
Both came from small Missouri towns, and both are members of the National 4-H Foundation Hall of Fame. In fact, they are the only two Missourians in that shrine.
J.C. Penney grew up in Hamilton, moved to Wyoming and eventually turned a small mercantile store into a multibillion-dollar mail-order and superstore empire. He developed a love affair with 4-H and became one of the youth program’s major benefactors.
Frank Graham was born and raised in Fair Grove. He was an agricultural educator who spent 50 years on the Missouri 4-H Foundation’s board of trustees and was one of the state’s outstanding amateur baseball pitchers for nearly two decades. His right arm was sought for years by the top semipro clubs for big-money games.
Frank was not one of ol’ Clark’s heroes as I grew up in Clinton. He was the hated right-hander of the Holden Chiefs, one of the Midwest’s great nonpro clubs and a rival of the Clinton Chicks, our semipro club, so named not because the Chicks were women but because Clinton was the "Baby Chick Capital of the World" with its 16 hatcheries.
The Chicks couldn’t hit Frank, who combined a live, overpowering fastball and a hard three-quarter curve. Not many could.
Frank’s early background was not with Little League but with creek gravel and jack rabbits.
The lane from the main road to his farm home was covered with the smooth, round gravel from Ozark streams, and the stones were perfect for throwing. A kid with no baseball and no catcher, even if he had a ball, developed arm strength and accuracy by throwing those smooth rocks at a knothole in the side of the barn - much to his dad’s dismay.
Jack rabbits were a tougher target. Yes, there were jack rabbits in Greene County in the 1920s.
"I threw a quarter-mile of gravel at those rabbits and haven’t hit one yet," Frank says.
When he was 16, his strong, accurate arm led to his recruitment by semipro clubs in Buffalo and Springfield, and he soon became the phenom to beat at such gatherings of Ozark talent as the Stockton Fox Hunt.
By the time Frank graduated from Fair Grove High School in 1938, he was a pro prospect who turned down an offer from the St. Louis Cardinals. He chose education first and came to the University of Missouri, where his creek gravel training was turned into Big Six championships in 1941 and 1942.
When Frank graduated in 1942 with an agriculture degree, he turned down a St. Louis Browns contract to take a position as the extension agent in Wright County. He was on his way to the big leagues, but it was not to be in baseball. Try 4-H.
After two years in Wright County, he did a yearlong tour of duty as an Army lieutenant, and he returned to the extension service in 1946, becoming the agent in Johnson County. He pitched the baseball at every stop, and it was during his three years in Warrensburg that he harassed my Clinton Chicks.
It was fun, though, watching him pitch for Holden and beat the big-city guys at places such as the Urich Reunion and Deepwater Picnic. Not even the Kansas City Monarchs or the House of David could beat him.
Frank returned to Columbia to stay in January 1949. Old-time Central Missouri baseball fans remember him as the ace of the Armstrong Merchants. Kids from all corners of the state remember him as director of the state 4-H program. Boone Countians remember him as the presiding county commissioner who was involved with major changes in county government.
The 4-H program aims to teach leadership, citizenship and life skills to both rural and urban kids between ages 8 and 18. Today there are 27,400 4-H members in Missouri, 710 of them in Boone County. More than 105,000 are enrolled in 4-H-sponsored programs statewide. Nearly 75 percent of the participants are either farm kids or come from towns of 10,000 or fewer residents.
4-H is administered by land grant universities through extension divisions. Before 1914, land grant schools were resident research and teaching institutions. In 1914, Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act, which mandated those land grant schools to extend resident programs to people who could not attend those schools. The first Missouri 4-H club was formed in 1918 in Ironton, and within a decade, 4-H was in every county.
Frank spent 17 years directing the state program, 28 years as a trustee of the national 4-H board, six years as chairman of the Missouri Council of Children and Youth, a term as chairman of the National Extension Commission on Policy and 50 years as trustee of the state 4-H Foundation. Today he lends his name to the Frank Graham Volunteer Fund to help 4-H around the state.
J.C. Penney was a benefactor of both 4-H and the University of Missouri. Among his gifts to the university was the Foremost Guernsey Farm on Highway 40 West. He had great respect for a program that helped young folks learn by doing.
When the National 4-H Youth Conference Center opened in 1970 in Chevy Chase, Md., Penney was a major financial contributor. He received the Friend of 4-H award from MU in 1960.
Penney and Frank proved to be quite a team.
After Frank retired from the extension division in 1975, he simply shifted his organizational abilities elsewhere. From 1987 to 1990, he was presiding officer of the Boone County commission and involved with three major projects: renovating the county courthouse, building the new county corrections complex and leasing Boone County Hospital.
He was president of the Boone County Historical Society from 1996 to 1999, served on The Senior Center board of directors, has held season football and basketball tickets for more than 50 years, and owns MU lifetime pass No. 630 as a three-year Tigers letterman.
His last major pitching assignment came in 1951 when he led Mendon to the National Baseball Congress championship tournament in Wichita, Kan. In his final start, he beat Arkansas. His next start came 51 years later when he threw the first pitch at the 60-year reunion of the 1942 Big Six champs.
Frank had actually returned to the diamond - the softball diamond - several seasons earlier to catch in an old-timers league with such "younger" local stars as George Hulett, Kent Kurtz and Jim Estes. He retired a second time at age 80.
Frank’s wife of four decades, Emma Jean, died in 1985. A year later he married Olive, a former 4-H member from Illinois and a retired operating room nurse. Their combined families total five children, 17 grandkids and 19 great-grandkids.
Now you know where throwing creek gravel at a knothole can take you: to a full life and the 4-H Hall of Fame alongside J.C. Penney.
Too bad that’s not good enough to get a guy into the MU Athletic Hall of Fame as well.
HART'S CUBSAnother local baseball team before the Holden Chiefs. This team was sponsored by Hart's Cafe at 123 East Pine Street, Warrensburg, MO. A famous hamburger hangout. Today known as the Stone House East Pine Street Pub.
and another famous team from Holden Missouri
Brown's Tennesse Rats