Monday, September 21, 2015

1925 Knoxville Colored High School baseball team

I was able to make a return trip to the Beck Cultural Exchange Center on Saturday afternoon. I was seeking baseball info from African-American newspapers that they have in their collection.  They're currently undergoing some rearranging and that resource wasn't available to me.  So I turned to their local yearbooks.

Knoxville Colored High School was formed in 1916.  Robert Booker wrote about the history of the Austin schools in a Knoxville News Sentinel column in 2009.

This team photo came from The Echo (vol. III), the KCHS yearbook of 1926.

I think that the coach, O. C. Twyner, was Olger Conelius Twyner.  I have found him in the both the 1927 and 1928 Knoxville City Directories.
1927 - Twyner, Olger C (c) (Mary H) sec-genl mgr Western Heights Merc Co  r 1817 College
1928 - Twyner, Olger C (c) (Mary H) tchr r 1817 College
That address today is at College and Jourolman, just north of Knoxville College.

Below is his draft registration card for World War One.

 Description: Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: St Clair; Roll: 1613396; Draft Board: 3
Description: Draft Card: T

Source Information: U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls.
Imaged from Family History Library microfilm.
Searching through the public family trees at Ancestry, it appears that Coach Twyner passed away in May of 1975.

I'm assuming that Greeneville College is somehow associated with Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee.  Nelson Merry College, an African-American school, was located in Jefferson City, Tennessee.  Walnut Hill High?  There is a Walnut Hill in Sullivan County, Tennessee.  There was a Langston High School located in Johnson City.

baseball images from the Beck Cultural Exchange Center

Sunday, September 6, 2015

East Tennessee SABR Meeting in Bristol

On August 29, 2015, the East Tennessee Chapter of SABR had their summer meeting on August 29, 2015, in Bristol, Virginia.  Lucas Hobbs, the Vice President of Bristol Baseball, Inc., worked with the Bristol Pirates to make our memorable.

Bristol has a varied baseball history.  Some of the highlights are winning the Appalachian League title in 1922, 1942, 1950, 1972, 1974, 1985, 1998, and 2002.  They also had a player named Ron Necciai who struck out 27 batters in a single game.

There were three SABR members in attendance, with two guests.

The meeting started at 6pm, with Jeff Johnson, the Pirates pitching coach, talking with us about his time as a player and then as a coach.  The audio clip can be found on the audio page.  If that doesn't work (and I've been experiencing some issues with it, try this direct link to the mp3 file).

The meeting was cut short as Lucas had duties to attend to and I had the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.  Let's just say it was a bit low and inside.  Or maybe I was channeling what Jeff Johnson said about teaching his pitchers to throw down and tight.

The Pirates were hosting the Pulaski Yankees in the final game of the season at Boyce Cox Field.  The baseball was enjoyable.  One of the guests at the meeting was Tony Hightower, father of the Pirates pitcher Scooter Hightower.  Unfortunately, Scooter got his second loss as a Pirate that evening as they fell to Pulaski 6-1 (box score).

The night was beautiful.  The following is an untouched photo from my cell phone.

Marshall Adesman and I sat in the reserved seats on the first base side and spent most of the game talking baseball and swapping stories.  We ended up running into Lee Landers, president of the Appalachian League.  More swapping of stories.

All in all, a nice night.