THE COLEMAN BOBCATS, professional baseball team in the West Texas League in 1929, are shown in the old photo submitted to the newspaper by one of the team members, Flop Harris, who now resides of Lake Brownwood. Players were, from left, back row, Joe Moore, Jack Holloway, Rip Henson, ? Halbert, Hooks Stone, Cam Best and Hallie Crumpton; front row, Flop Harris, Tex Moore, ? Neal, Steve Myers, ? McBride, Buck Carpenter, Bryant and the batboy in front.
Coleman Had Professional Baseball Team in 1928-29
Flop Harris, pitcher on the Coleman professional baseball team in 1928-29, walked into the newspaper office the past week, with a faded photo of the Coleman Bobcats. He reminisced at length with the editor about the old days when he played baseball here. As he recalls, the Coleman team was in the West Texas League in 1928 and 1929, before the depression brought an end to the venture. The Coleman baseball park was located where what is now the southwest corner of the City Park. The field was fenced and there were covered bleachers.
There were six teams in the league in 1929, including Abilene, Big Spring, Midland, San Angelo, Ballinger and Coleman. The league played Class D professional ball. Team manager here was Jack Holloway. Harris recalls that Leon Shield was president of the local club organization and that a Mr. Snodgrass was another league officer.
Flop Harris grew up at Goldsboro and attended school there. He played with the Coleman Bobcats in 1928 and 1929. After the league folded he was not through with baseball. He played ball in Dallas in 1934, then joined a Longview team. After moving to Texon with Big Lake Oil Company he played more baseball there. Salaries were quite different in the early days. Harris recalls that he was paid $150 per month to play for Coleman. Other than Harris, many other players from the Coleman team went on to other leagues. Joe Moore played major ball with the New York Giants. Paul Richards, well known major league player and manager, played ball here in 1928. Lee Stebbins, who was not in the picture, left here to play with the Fort Worth team.
One of the more colorful characters that Flop Harris remembers in playing ball in the West Texas League was John King of the Midland team. On one occasion here King broke a number of bats in full view of the stands when the game was not going to suit him. Another time he rushed in and started a fight with one of his teammates because he did not like the way he was pitching. John King pulled a lot of antics, but he also pulled the crowds. Flop Harris always got along fine with John King, and he usually had good luck pitching against the Midland team.
Flop was a lefty with a good curve and a fine fast ball. A professional baseball team for Coleman seems far fetched these days, but it was a reality in the late 1920's and Flop Harris was a part of it. He enjoyed baseball then and he enjoys it now, observing mostly on television.
(Coleman County Chronicle, September 15, 1977.)
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