Reviews

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Reviews

The Galveston Buccaneers: Shearn Moody and the 1934 Texas League Championship

The Galveston County Daily News (September 15, 2013)

'The Galveston Buccaneers' Captures a Snapshot of Isle History

It has been written that history can be boiled down to two words: Challenge/Response. In Kris Rutherford’s new book “The Galveston Buccaneers,” he captures a slice of history, sports and culture. Kris takes a snapshot of a beautiful moment of life that united a community and honored a man whose life was tragically cut short. Shearn Moody, son of William Lewis Moody Jr., founder of American National Life Insurance Co., died in the prime of his life, yet not before making a positive difference in the lives of thousands of Texans.

The 1930s were a difficult economic time in America for most citizens as the Depression eroded incomes and destroyed estates, yet Shearn Moody saw an opportunity to bring a minor league baseball franchise to the shores of Galveston from Waco. As in all competent executives, Shearn Moody identified value and organized a seasoned management team of Vice President Roy Koehler, Sam Jack Evans and new coach Billy Web. Together they forged a team that would weather the storms and would go on to claim the ultra prize in the Texas Baseball League during the 1934 season. The colorful personalities of the players were noted with the ironman K. Molesworth who never missed an inning played along side Most Valuable Player in the league C. English and many other outstanding players. Kris does an excellent job in bringing to life the many facets of the players that endeared the fans to the Buccaneer team.

Sports play an important role in a community by providing a fun distraction from the toil and turmoil of life. It was documented the Galvestonians supported the Buccaneers with the highest opening day attendance of any team in the League during that magical season. In fact, they would travel to the road games in droves leading the league in that category as well. With the new Moody Stadium equipped with lights, the Buccaneers were one of the first teams to play night games.

Shearn Moody saw the potential of Galveston Island for the tourists and that fueled his passion for the hospitality industry.

Kris chronicles the team as they persisted through defeats, setbacks and injuries.

Shearn Moody’s premature death was the genesis of the Moody Foundation that has been serving Texans since 1942 with millions of dollars given to fund scholarships, and grants for nonprofit organizations and universities.

Kris Rutherford’ new book is a fun adventure as you travel with the players, personalities and the perseverance of competitive lives during troubled times.

As in all things, there is a beginning and an end. After the death of Shearn Moody, the fire for the team dimmed and was later sold to a group of investors in Shreveport, Louisiana.

The words of Albert Pines embraced Shearn Moody’s life, “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains immortal.”

 

Baseball on the Prairie

The Galveston County Daily News (August 9, 2015)

'Baseball on the Prairie' Explores Origins, Influences of the Texas League

Baseball is the game of summer, especially in Texas. No minor league has had a more storied past than the Texas League, now a Double-A league. The Texas League has become part of baseball’s vocabulary. A bloop hit between the infield and outfield is a Texas Leaguer.

“Baseball on the Prairie: How Seven Small-Town Teams Shaped Texas League History,” by Kris Rutherford explores the Texas League’s origins. Rutherford looks at the influence of small-town teams on the league.

Rutherford’s story covers the period from the late 1880s through the end of the first decade of the twentieth century. Its main focus is the dozen seasons from 1895 through 1907.

Texas then had major cities with baseball teams in the Texas League: Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Galveston (more influential then than today). Rutherford looks at the rest of the league, however. He examines how small cities filled out the Texas League, molding its character.

Denison, Sherman, Paris, Corsicana, Cleburne, Greenville, and Temple had ambitions to become the next big thing in Texas towns at the turn of the twentieth century. Why not? What were Dallas and Houston 50 years earlier? These small cities saw baseball as one way to establish big city chops.

Rutherford follows each city’s attempts to field a team. All baseball was low-budget during its early days, but nowhere was this more evident than with these prairie-town teams. Their fields were rough, the players were rougher, and the fans unpredictable. This created off-field adventures and misadventures which matched, and sometimes exceeded the excitement of the action seen on the playing field.

The book is populated with an eclectic cast of characters. These include Hall of Fame players, such as Bill Louden and Tris Speaker, oddball owners, E.H.R. Green among them, and some just downright weird characters. Star hurler Frank Quigg died robbing a bank. Another pitcher, Lee Garvin, shot a shoeshine man for delivering an unsatisfactory shoeshine.

“Baseball on the Prairie” takes readers into a different age, when baseball was new. It is a book to interest baseball fans, and Texas history buffs.

Mark Lardis

 

Homeseekers, Parasites, and the Texas Midland

The Paris News

Diamonds and dust: Baseball history in Paris

Baseball has a strong history in Paris, but few may remember the old professional baseball clubs that made the city home. Texas League teams graced the diamonds in Paris at the turn of the 20th Century, but the history of those teams and the players until now has been buried. The old baseball stadium they inhabited is long gone from the Lamar County Fairgrounds, and, but for a few old news items in The Paris News, that phase of the city’s history is but a fleeting memory. A former Parisian and part-time area resident has released a new book aimed at reviving the grand old days of Texas League baseball in Paris. Kris Rutherford, who has a weekend home in Roxton but lives in Maumelle, Ark., has released a new book: "Homeseekers, Parasites, and the Texas Midland: The Texas League in Paris, 1896-1904." Rutherford seeks to take the reader back in time to capture Paris baseball in its infancy when little more than a ball, a bat and 18 willing participants was needed to field a team. Rutherford’s overview of Paris baseball spans the period from Reconstruction through the early years of the 20th Century, from the game’s beginnings in Paris to the time when its ball clubs traveled the state by railroad. Rutherford discusses the successes and failures of Paris’ earliest professional teams, and looks at the arrival, achievements and demise of each club, along with the factors that ultimately sealed Paris’ fate as a Texas League city. "The game results, standings and statistics that anyone would expect in a book like this are there," Rutherford said. "But the real story is the personalities who were involved." From the famed Col. E.H.R. Green to the unknown Guy S. Rall, the book offers biographical information on nearly 100 Paris citizens, team owners and ballplayers, along with some personal triumphs and tragedies. "There weren’t any Babe Ruths or Ty Cobbs playing in Paris," Rutherford said. "That’s what makes it so interesting. These teams were made up of ordinary guys — farmers and railroad workers who tried their luck for a few years in the game then went home. Baseball history forget them and digging through the records trying to find information was fascinating."

Rutherford compiled the results of his review of hundreds of newspaper archives, census records, military records, obituaries and more to present the period of Paris history in a quick-reading format that will excite both baseball fans and amateur historians. "When I was a kid, I went sports crazy when I was about 8," Rutherford said. "It didn’t matter what sport, I was caught up in the competition." He said his book was in part the result of his love for sports. "I began digging into the history to see if there was enough to do a book, and I got into the personal lives of the people involved," he said. "That part of history was almost forgotten." "Homeseekers, Parasites, and the Texas Midland: The Texas League in Paris, 1896-1904" is currently available on Amazon.com/ The book is published by RecWatch Publishing. It is 126 pages.

Copyright © 2009 The Paris News

The Honey Grove Weekly Gazette

Long before Paris' college, high school, and little league baseball players began crowding the city's ball fields in early spring, Paris was home to a number of professional baseball clubs. The earliest graced the diamonds of the Texas League for five seasons at the turn of the twentieth century, but for decades, the history of these teams and players has been lost—until now. In the newly released Homeseekers, Parasites, and the Texas Midland: The Texas League in Paris, 1896-1904 (RecWatch Publishing), author and part-time Lamar County resident Kris Rutherford takes the reader back in time to capture Paris baseball in its infancy, when little more than a ball, a bat, and eighteen willing participants was needed to field a team.

Rutherford's overview of Paris baseball spans the period from Reconstruction through the early years of the twentieth century. From the game's beginnings in the city to the time when its ball clubs traveled the state by railroad, Rutherford discusses the successes and failures of Paris' earliest professional teams. In essay format, he looks at the arrival, achievements, and demise of each club, along with the factors that ultimately sealed Paris' fate as a Texas League city.

"The game results, standings, and statistics that anyone would expect in a book like this are there," Rutherford says. "But the real story is the personalities who were involved."

From the famed Col. E.H.R. Green to the unknown Guy S. Rall, Homeseekers, Parasites, and the Texas Midland offers biographical

information on nearly one hundred Paris citizens, team owners, and ballplayers, along with some personal triumphs and tragedies.

"There weren't any Babe Ruth's or Ty Cobb's playing in Paris," Rutherford says. "And, that's what makes it so interesting. These teams were made up of ordinary guys—farmers and railroad workers who tried their luck for a few years in the game then went home. Baseball history forgot them and digging through the records trying to find information was fascinating."

Kris Rutherford has compiled the results of his review of hundreds of newspaper archives, census records, military records, obituaries, and more to present this period of Paris history in a quick-reading format that will delight both baseball fans and amateur historians alike.

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