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Texas League History
The Texas League, founded in 1888, is among the oldest active circuits remaining in minor league baseball. Its history is rich with players, managers, executives, teams, and cities, and the League has produced some incredible performances and events, both on and off-the-field. From murderers and bank robbers to ministers, the Texas League has had its share of characters over the years, but the days from it’s founding up until 1910 offer some of its best stories. Over the years, some 38 cities have been represented in the league, with San Antonio the only remaining original member.
With so many cities, players, and teams, the amount of information to be uncovered about Texas League history is seemingly limitless. In his decade of researching the League’s early history, Kris Rutherford has discovered many never-before published facts including the true identity of the unfortunate pitcher who played all 9 innings of a 51-3 loss in 1902; the ancestry and name of long-time Texas Leaguer “Cy” Mulkey; how the 1900 Galveston Hurricane and cotton boll weevils helped propel the Buccaneers to the 1934 championship; why the 1902 Paris franchise became known as “Eisenfelder’s Homeseekers”; and how one of the founding fathers of Texas League Baseball in Sherman is tied to the John F. Kennedy assassination.
The Texas League has so much to research and so much to write about, Kris could be kept occupied for far longer than the over 125 years since the League made its debut.
Youth Sports Fiction
As a youngster, Kris wasn’t particularly fond of reading; in fact, he’s not particularly fond of reading today. He has always fit the mold of the “Reluctant Reader.” Fiction was and remains the toughest pill to swallow, with classics of literature including David Copperfield, Little Britches, and The Grapes of Wrath, still giving him nightmares today. But, if his parents wanted Kris to read something other than the sports page, they knew they could count on two authors to keep him captivated for hours: Matt Christopher and Alfred Slote.
Christopher and Slote were the deans of 1970’s youth sports fiction. Matt Christopher turned out books by the dozens including classics like The Kid Who Only Hit Homers, The Lucky Baseball Bat, and The Home Run Kid. While Kris enjoyed Matt Christopher’s work, it was Alfred Slote who wrote the stories he found most interesting. My Father, The Coach and Matt Gargan’s Boy remain favorites, but Hang Tough, Paul Mather remains the most influential book in Kris’ life. At the age of 9, when Kris first read Slote’s classic, he knew someday he wanted to write sports stories. He stopped and started a thousand times, until 2008 when he finally completed his first novel, Squeeze Play, a book later picked up by a publisher under the title, Batting Ninth. Since then, in between Texas League assignments, Kris has also written Nothin’ But Net, an out-of-the-ordinary sports story with an important message about sports, the environment, and facing obstacles. In 2013, the Future Fisherman Foundation found the book so compelling they published it as a resource for their programs such as “Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs.” Kris has an agreement with them to publish two sequels to provide a series including the same characters and a continuing story line.
From time to time, Kris works with other authors on their books either anonymously or as a co-author. Click here to see recent projects.