Les Mueller remembered

By MARK HODAPP

A former hard-throwing righhander with the Tigers, Les Mueller may be best remembered for his single-game record of pitching 19 and 2/3 innings against the Philadelphia Athletics on July 21, 1945.

When Mr. Mueller walked off the mound for the last time that evening at Shibe Park, he had surrendered only one run to the Athletics.

Mr. Mueller died Oct. 25, at St. Paul’s Home in Belleville. He was 93.

The marathon game ended in a 1-1 tie after 24 innings called the game due to darkness, although it was about 8 p.m. on a steamy summer evening.

But rules prohibited turning on the lights for a day game.

Mr. Mueller signed with the Detroit organization after graduating from Belleville Township High School. His baseball career was interrupted by military service during World War II. After his time in the Army, he pitched for the Tigers when they were the 1945 World Series Champions.

After retiring from baseball, Mr. Mueller ran Mueller Furniture Store in Belleville with his brother Roland, with his late wife Peggy and then with his son Lynwood, who is the current owner with his son Mark Mueller.

Mr. Mueller was the last living person to have pitched against the Chicago Cubs in a World Series game.

“He pitched two scoreless innings of relief in game one,” Mark Mueller recalled Friday.

Mr. Mueller was also a Belleville alderman and was very involved in raising the money to build Citizen’s Park in Belleville, now home of Whitey Herzog’s field.

“He once played against the great Satchel Paige,” Mark Mueller said.

“In his first at bat off Satchel, he hit a triple off the top of the fence.”

Regarding the next three at bats, Mark Mueller recalled his grandpa saying with a big old grin: “And then Ole’ Satchel threw me nothing but curveballs and struck me out three straight times.”

Mueller played against Jackie Robinson in 1946 in AAA. Robinson tried to steal home on a ball that barely got away from the catcher. Mr. Mueller was quick to cover the plate. He received the throw and tagged Robinson out at home.

“He was the fastest player I had ever played against,” Mark Mueller recalled his grandpa once saying.

Mark  Mueller also recalled his grandpa struck out Joe DiMaggio on a side-arm curveball in a spring training game.

“The ump didn’t ring him up, though,” Mark Mueller said.

The umpire later admitted to Mr. Mueller  “he missed that one.”

Mr. Mueller later taught his grandson how to lower his arm angle and throw the side-arm fastball and curveball. Those have been and are still Mark Mueller’s  best ‘out’ pitches as a pitcher with the Waterloo Millers in the Mon-Clair League.

Lynwood Mueller said his dad loved baseball, especially pitching.

“Back in his era before the relief pitching specialist, the starting pitcher was expected to go out nine innings or more,” Lynwood Mueller once told his son.

“Dad always tried to go the distance. He lived more than nine full decades, because of the way he lived his life. Webelieve he should be more than credited with a win.”

 

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The Cardinals will make the playoffs

Can St. Louis Cardinals fans put their minds at ease?

Probably.

You have to like the Cardinals chances of clinching the second wild card spot.

The breaks seem to finally going the club’s way: at last.

Take last night’s 5-0 win over  Houston, for instance.

Yadier Molina and David Freese each hit their 20th home run on the season, joining teammates Alan Craig, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday who achieved the feat earlier.

The Los Angeles Dodgers could be fading fast even though they swept a doubleheader last night.

The Milwaukee Brewers could be a threat. But come on, it’s Milwaukee.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are sinking fast.

Why the sudden turnaround for the Cardinals? Jason Motte.

And how about Molina? He continues to swing a hot bat and throw runners out at will. Molina is a legitimate MVP candidate. But will likely not get the award.

New Columbia and Waterloo Sports photos

New Columbia and Waterloo High School sports photos have been added to my website.

Check them out at smugmug.com

Search Mark Hodapp

There are football, tennis, soccer and volleyball games shots from the last few days.

Let me know what you think and if you have any questions on how to order the photos.

Mark

Monroe County has long history in baseball

Note:

This is the first

in a series of articles that

looks at Monroe County’s

baseball teams from season’s

past.

By MARK HODAPP

Baseball is known as America’s

pastime and has played a

part in U.S. culture for over 140

years.

The game has made vast

leaps since the 1840s, with the

development of professional

and amateur leagues all over the

country. Major League Baseball

is the most elite baseball league

in the world and has featured

larger-than-life superstars who

have become cultural icons.

Equally impressive is Monroe

County’s early contributions

to the game.

Origins

The earliest organized baseball

club in Monroe County of

which a record was found was

that of the 1894 Elks baseball

club.

Throughout the years, baseball

clubs were organized annually

with each town or community

in the county usually supporting

a team.

Much of the history in Monroe

County is lost forever, but

some can befound recorded in

the Waterloo Republican and

Waterloo Times.

Up until 1910, baseball

teams in the county played St.

Louis teams and teams from

neighboring communities, according

to Waterloo Millers

manager Vern Moehrs.

In 1910, the M&O League

was formed, and included teams

from Columbia, Millstadt, Red

Bud and Waterloo.

The Waterloo Republican reported

on the league weekly.

The top headline in the May

18, 1910 issue of the Republican

read: “Regular teams of

Waterloo cover themselves with

glory.”

Baseball has gone up several

points this week. The high

school team led off the fire

works, defeating a picked nine

of regulars, mollies and ex’s by

a score of 7 to 3.

M&O League opened Sunday

with well played games,

detmonstrating to the fans the

brand of baseball they may expect

the coming season.

Red Bud fans turned out in

force to see their pets slaughter

Waterloo, but were doomed to

bitter disappointment.

“Old War Horse” Welsch

pitched brilliant ball and

showed all doubting Thomases

that he is still there and not a

day older than he was five years

ago.

Capt. Bickelhaupt sent Welsch

to the mound to start the

game, “Big Bill” Pieper going

to right.

On June 22, 1910, the Republican

reported on Waterloo

moving up another notch with

their 8-4 victory over Columbia.

Petrie for Columbia and

Welsch for Waterloo did the

twirling.

The win moved Waterloo,

Red Bud and Millstadt into a

three way tie for first place.

Each team had identical 3-2 records.

Columbia was in last place

with their 1-4 record.

On. Aug 3, 1910, the Republican

reported on Waterloo taking

another game from Columbia,

“and thus made another

halt in the stay march which the

northern club had been making.

The grandstand and the

bleachers were filled, several

rooters from Columbia coming

down to win or die with the

club.

The game was a professional

one for five innings, no runs being

allowed on either side.

In the sixth inning, the work

was all done.

Waterloo (6-4) ended up

winning the game 6-4 to move

into sole possession of first

place.

Columbia (6-6) dropped to

second place.

Two weeks later, the Republican

reported on Waterloo winning

two games against Millstadt.

A large crowd was present

hoping to see some good work.

They saw some good work, also

some bum stuff. It required 11

innings to decide the first game.

Waterloo ended up winning 6-5.

The second game was just as

exciting.

In the third inning the spectators

were treated to the most

disgusting spectacle ever perpetrated

to the Waterloo diamond.

That Waterloo had the

best of the controversy was evident.

That the chances were all

in their favor no one denied.

Each in turn went to bat and

deliberately struck out until the

side was retired.

Umpire Rauch then came to

the relief of the suffering crowd

and informed the club they must

play ball or forfeit the game.

This ultimatum had some effect.

Millstadt again pulled themselves

together and hammered

out six runs in the fourth inning,

just three behind Waterloo.

Thru some controversy the

game stopped here and game

was forfeited to Waterloo, 9 to

0.

Waterloo improved to 9-4

with the wins, giving them a

two-game lead over Columbia

(8-6)

Millstadt fell to 4-9 with the

losses.

On Aug. 31, 1910, the Republican

reported on Waterloo’s

winning percentage continuing

to climb after a 5-4 win over

Red Bud.

Sunday’s game was a hard

fought battle, but the hoodoo

was absent. The hoodoo has

been banished.

Two weeks later, the Republican

reported on Waterloo

clinching the pennant.

The pennant is ours.

“There are two more games

to play, but win or lose, we are

‘it.’

The success of the Mobile

League has been demonstrated.

That good local teams draw

better than dum city clubs is an

assured fact.

Of course, Waterloo is proud

of the victory. It has every reason

to be so. While there have

been bickerings and ugly

thrusts, charges and counter

charges, Waterloo has had the

least of it, but calmly and confidentially

pushed forward many

times snatching victory from the

verge of defeat, and won the

praise and applause of the spectators.

Waterloo finished the season

in first place with a 12-6 record.

The other three league teams

tied for second, each having

won eight and lost 10.

Waterloo joins Trolley

League

In 1911, Waterloo entered

the ILL-MO League, also

known as the Trolley League,

with teams from St. Louis and

the area. Many of these teams

were backed by business people.

However, it proved to be too

expensive and the local players

fell by the wayside.

In 1913, baseball was revived

in the county and lasted

until the beginning of World

War I.

On July 30, 1915, the Waterloo

Times reported on a Valmeyer-

Waterloo U-9 game.

Valmeyer had the “smithereens”

knocked out of their confidential

streak last Sunday

when they were beaten by the

local U-9 team 19 to 1. The

visitors came with good intentions

of winning, as they had

defeated our West Ends, the

previous Sunday.

The “Cherry Blossoms”

journeyed out to Coxeyville

Sunday to cross bats with the

local nine of that burg. If they

had any visions of sweet solace

for their defeat of the Sunday

previous by the U-9’s, it was

quickly dispelled for the Coxeyville

sluggers jumped onto

the Blossoms like a regular

bunch of tough necks and defeated

them 19 to 8. It is sad to

relate but what we will do. …

Better luck next time, Skaabe.

Moran Baseball League

On April 3, 1929, the Waterloo

Republican reported on a

baseball league being formed

in the county.

Valmeyer, Waterloo, Columbia,

Millstadt and Dupo were

represented at a previous meeting

held here and are in favor of

entering a league.

Red Bud has been invited to

attend the meeting tonight, but

it is doubtful however, whether

they will come in. Some want

league baseball there, while

others want independent ball,

and still others are nursing a

sore spot. Just what they will do

remains to be seen.

A week later, it was announced

that the Moran baseball

league formed.

The league was assured for

the coming season with six

clubs, Valmeyer, Dupo, Millstadt,

Columbia, Waterloo and

Red Bud, joining.

Waterloo opened the season

with a 6-2 victory over Dupo.

Valmeyer beat Millstadt,

7-4, and Red Bud knocked off

Columbia, 10-3.

On May 8, 1929 Waterloo‘s

3-2 loss to Red Bud was the top

headline in the Republican.

The game indicates a close

game, which it was. The cloudy

weather and soggy grounds

dampened the pep of both the

players and fans. The grounds

at Red Bud will not rate as the

best in the circuit, either.

Red Bud scored in the first

when Kunze, first man up, doubled

to right, advanced to third

on a passed ball and scored on

Rohlfing’s hit to center.

They added two more runs in

the third when Hahn was safe

on an error, and Kunze doubled

advancing to third. Both scored

on Rohlfing’s single.

Waterloo scored in the

eighth when Getz hit safely to

center, but was forced at second

on Conrad’s bunt. Conrad stole

second and scored on Mentel’s

hit into the water at short when

Rohlfing lost it in the spray.

The article went on to report

on Fridrich’s “nice play when

he threw out Boriske on a line

drive to right, which should

have been a hit.”

Mentel covered first Sunday

in his old style with 11 put outs

and two out of four at bat.

Bode held down left field

and had two hits in three trips

to the plate.

Conrad and Kleyer were the

only offenders with an error

each but made up it by handling

nine other chances in great

style.

…Rohlfing, an old-timer can

still hit the ball. He had three

hits in four times up Sunday.

In the last paragraph of the

story, a reminder was issued to

all of the league’s players.

All players are requested to

meet at the M&O Depot Friday

evening at 7 o’clock at which

the manager will be present to

discuss several subjects with

the players.

On June 19, 1929, the Republican

reported on Willis

Koenigsmark, old time hurler

for Waterloo, staging a come

back at Columbia Sunday and

showing the fans “some neat

pitching.” He struck out 14 hitters

and allowed the Pep Boys

only four hits. Not half bad for

any pitcher.

Ten years earlier, Koenigsmark

made his major league

debut pitching with the St. Louis

Cardinals.

On July 3, 1929, the Republican

reported on Waterloo’s

12-3 loss to the Dupo Railroaders.

This doesn’t seem possible

after the kind of ball the team

has played so far this season,

but nevertheless the score

stands and the team is a again

with Red Bud for first place.

Two weeks later, Waterloo

bounced back and defeated Valmeyer,

6-0, putting Waterloo in

a first-place tie with Red Bud.

Waterloo went on to win the

Moran title as noted in the Oct.

9, 1929, issue of the Republican.

“Lange and Binder aid pennant

victory” the paper’s top

headline stated.

“Winning ball game with his

own bat, crossing the plate with

his own feet, allowing but 28

face to him, fanning 15 of them,

allowing but one hit and no one

to get beyond first base, hitting

a home run and getting two

other safe hits out as many

times at bat and two of the three

runs, is the part Red Lange took

in the game here Sunday against

Dupo which Waterloo won 3 to

0 and incidentally winning the

second as well as the first,

which totaled makes Waterloo

the champion of the St. MoRan

League of 1929.

While Red Lange, Waterloo

pitcher and rookie, and a St.

Louis Cardinals contract man,

was the capital letter figure in

Sunday’s ball game, he was ably

assisted by eight other players,

who gave him airtight support

without an air, and the Binder

brothers, one of whom 

is also a

Cardinals rookie, shared the

honors no doubt the best and

most interesting played here for

a long time and has revived

more base ball spirit than existed

all summer.

Tears from the Heart

After years of hard work, I’m proud to announce my book is officially on the market at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.

Tears from the Heart will undoubtedly make you look at your life differently.

The book features over 35 inspiring stories and just a few of the photos I have taken over the years.

The book is available in hardback, soft back and e-book formats.

Below you will find the back cover copy as well as the introduction.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Enjoy,

Mark

Introduction
As a newspaper reporter, Mark Hodapp wrote his share of sad stories. But unlike some who deal with death and heartbreak on a regular basis, Hodapp never could forget many of the stories or the people behind the stories.
After being away from the newspaper business for a few years, Mark decided to revisit some of those stories and add a few others.
The product of that effort is a book, “Tears from the Heart,” he recently self-published.
Mark said stories involving children provided the real impetus for the book.
“I think after seeing some of these kids, I had to do something,” he said.
With stories from grieving parents and photos accompanied by poetry, the book is especially meant to help those who have lost a loved one, Mark said.
“The book is mostly for people who are grieving or who have grieved,” he said.
The book is dedicated to his father, who died in 2003, and to “all the parents who have lost a child.”
Organized as a series of stories and poems, the book deals primarily with grief and loss. Much of it is inspirational in tone, such as the following from a woman whose son had died of sickle cell anemia:
“I have never felt this way before.
“I feel a sort of loneliness, but it’s a happy loneliness.
“It’s a weird feeling, but I know Andre is all right, and he’s out of pain.”
Some of the stories come from Mark’s experience as a reporter. He worked for the Suburban Journals in Illinois from 1994-1998 and for The Messenger, a Catholic newspaper in Belleville, for three years after that. He is currently the sports editor for The Republic-Times in Waterloo, Ill.
But others come from his personal experience and chance encounters, he said.
Much of the poetry is original, which Mark said he writes out of personal feelings.
“If something catches my fancy, I just go with it,” he said. “It’s just following what you feel.”
The death of his father and his wife’s miscarriage were part of the inspiration for the book. Writing about those incidents helped him cope with them, Mark  said.
But new experiences-including chance encounters with people who have experienced recent loss-also have provided new material for the book.
“I keep finding people I want to put in,” he said.
Harry Weiner
BACK COVER
There is a principle in grief counseling that states “In telling the story the healing
takes place.” The book entitled Tears from the Heart  provides a
springboard in which the healing can begin. Death brings grief which is a response
to loss. The whole person, physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally reacts to
this loss. If the loss is not addressed appropriately, it often times goes underground
and can cause further pain. God created the human person to deal with loss, which
is a part of the human condition, by giving the human person the ability to share his
tears and his story. This work, which is a collage of stories that covers the whole
spectrum of ages from the child to the senior citizen, provides the reader an opportunity to tap into his or her own story which can lead to healing.
The season of grief, which each person experiences differently, can last for a year or more. The various seasonal photos selected in this work takes this grief reality into account. Important to the grief process is the healing role of faith which the author brings to the forefront by his use of photos and grief story selections.
No matter what stage of loss the individual may be in, Tears From The Heart could assist someone who is in the process and has faced it before. It allows them to go through the valley of tears and sadness and rise to the mountain top of hope and joy.
Reverend Monsignor Kenneth Steffen, DMin, JCL, PH, KHS
 

Cal Neeman reflects on his big league career

By Mark Hodapp

For years, Cal Neeman was the man behind a catcher’s mask.  

The long-time Cahokia, Ill. resident disappeared from major league baseball in 1963 and was gone, but not forgotten.

“I don’t do much now,” he says. “I am right now in Florida, enjoying the nice sunshine.”

At 83 years old, Neeman is as energetic as many men half his age.  

He still enjoys playing golf, and traveling with his wife of 58 years, Maryann. 

“I am not a scratch golfer,” he says and laughs. “I never was. I didn’t even have a handicap last year. The last time I had a handicap, it was a 14.”

Neeman now lives in Lake St. Louis, Mo. He recently had his right knee replaced.

“I’m down here (in Florida) trying to recoup,” he says.

Neeman was born in Valmeyer, Ill. on Feb. 18, 1929. He remembers moving to Waterloo, Ill. when he was in the first grade. His family later moved to East St. Louis, Ill. after his dad got a “good job” with Monsanto. They later  relocated to  Maplewood, Ill. (better known as Cahokia today), where he lived most of his teenage life and had a newspaper delivery route.

Neeman graduated from Dupo High School in 1947, and is still widely considered as one of the school’s most gifted athletes in baseball and basketball. 

He helped Dupo win the regional basketball title during his senior year.

Neeman was later signed as an amateur free agent by the New York Yankees out of Illinois Wesleyan University, where he also played basketball, before the 1949 season. 

The Yankees organization assigned  him to the Joplin Miners of the Class C Western Association, where he spent both the 1949 and ‘50 seasons.

Neeman hit .292 for the Miners in 95 games to win the pennant in 1950 with help from Mickey Mantle.

“Everyone who saw Mantle play knew he could run faster and hit the ball farther than anyone on the field,” Neeman recalls. 

Neeman was drafted by the U.S. military and  served during the Korean Conflict, returning in time for the 1953 season.

He served with the Army’s 105th Field Artillery Battalion, spending about a year in Korea.

After being discharged from the Army, he met his wife while playing with the Binghamton Triplets. The Triplets were a minor league baseball team in Binghamton, New York, affiliated with the New York Yankees.

Neeman spent four seasons in the minor leagues, with his best year coming in 1955 when he caught 122 games and hit .294 with the Birmingham Barons of the Southern Association.

In 1956,  he played  with the AAA Richmond Virginians and also the AAA Denver Bears.

On Dec. 3, 1956, he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs from the  New York Yankees in the Rule V Draft. “That shocked me,” he says. “I could hardly believe it.”

It was the break Neeman needed as  the Yankees were well stocked at catcher with Yogi Berra and a number of young catchers in their system, including Elston Howard, Ralph Houk and Johnny Blanchard.

Neeman jumped right in and became the Cubs’ first string catcher as a rookie in 1957, hitting .257 with 10 home runs in 122 games.

He fondly recalls getting his first big league hit off Milwaukee Braves star Warren Spahn on April 16, 1957, at Wrigley Field.

He remembers getting his first home run  a week later off of Milwaukee hurler Lew Burdette in the 10th inning on April 23, 1957, at County Stadium in  Milwaukee.    

The game ended with Milwaukee Hall of Famer Hank Aaron hitting a line drive caught by Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, killing a Milwaukee scoring rally. 

He split the Cubs catching duties in 1958 with Sammy Taylor.

“In those days, if you didn’t hit close to .300, a second division team was looking for ways to improve their team,” he says. “On a pennant winner or contender, that was a different story.”

A solid receiver, Neeman would be with the Cubs until he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies along with Tony Taylor for Ed Bouchee and Don Cardwell on May 13, 1960.

While with Philadelphia, he  became close friends with the late Robin Roberts. The former Phillies pitching great was born in Springfield, Ill., the son of an immigrant Welsh coal miner. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.

“He could throw the ball where the hitters could never hit it,” Neeman recalls.

He spent a day with Roberts last spring shortly before his death on May  6, 2010. He was 83.

“That was a sad day,” Neeman says.  “He was one of those good men we lost.”

Neeman’s game started to tail off  and the 33-year-old catcher was passed along to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1962 and he would finish off his big league career in the American League with the Cleveland Indians and Washington Senators in 1963.

Neeman finished with a .988 fielding percentage and a .224 batting average. He had 30 home runs while appearing in 376 games.

After baseball and during the offseason, Neeman worked as a railroad switchman. 

Neeman later worked as a salesman with the Nystrom Company, selling school supplies.

 

Labor of Love: Charlie’s minor league journey

 

By Mark Hodapp

It was a hard pill for Charlie Hopkins to swallow.

After spending nine seasons
in the St. Louis Browns organization,
Hopkins retired from
baseball in 1955 when he was
only 29.
“I wouldn’t take a million
dollars for the good time that I
had,” he says.
Hopkins, now 84, lives in
Columbia, Ill.
Charlie couldn’t help but
reminisce about his own playing
career after watching his
grandson, Gabe Hopkins, play
with the Waterloo High School
baseball team this spring.
A 2011 graduate, Gabe is
now playing with the Waterloo
Millers.
“The only advice I ever gave
to Gabe was just to swing the
bat,” Charlie says. “Don’t ever
get called out. That aggravates a
manager.”
For Charlie, baseball was a
labor of love.
He still loves the
game, and is sometimes its
“biggest critic.”
After graduating from Central
Catholic High School in
East Louis, Ill., in 1945, Charlie was
drafted and served in the U.S.
Navy.
Charlie was in basic training
when World War II ended, and
served 14 months.
After being discharged in
1946, he returned home and
worked as an apprentice with
the iron workers, following in
his dad’s footsteps.
He recalls his dad being un-
Browns for a $125 monthly salary
and $200 signing bonus in
1947.
Charlie was making $160 a
month as an iron worker.
“My dad didn’t think it was a
great deal,” he says.
Charlie was a catcher the
majority of his career.
However, he played in the
outfield with the Newark
Moundsmen of the Ohio State
League during his first professional
season.
Charlie, who was then 21,
had a career year. He hit .277
with 23 doubles, 17 triples, seven
home runs and 93 RBIs. He
also stole 15 bases.
He was promoted to Ada,
Okla. the following season. The
Herefords played in a rodeo
stadium, Charlie recalls.
“There wasn’t a blade of
grass,” he says. “And when the
rodeo would come to town, we
went on a road trip. When we
came home, the field was a
complete dust bowl. The guys
used to say a rabbit would have
to get its lunch across the
street.”
Charlie played with the
Springfield Barons in 1950. He
thought he had a chance to
make the big leagues that
spring.
Browns starting catcher Les
Moss underwent hemorrhoid
surgery in 1949.
But the Browns had other
ideas in mind, acquiring Sherman
Lollar from the Yankees in
a trade.
Instead of making it to the
big leagues, Charles Dewitt assigned
Hopkins to Wichita, the
Browns’ top minor league affiliate.
He played Class A ball for
two seasons.
Lollar was eventually traded
to the White Sox following the
1951 season.
In 1951, Bill Veeck purchased
the Browns.
To draw fans, Veeck gave
them “fun ‘n games.”
Veeck once asked Hopkins
to ride a white horse into a
game as part of a “Hopalong
Cassidy” promotion. Hopalong
Cassidy was a popular television
show that aired from 1952-
54.
But Charlie refused.
“I told Bill I have never rode
on a horse my life,” he says. “I
said kids would be throwing
rocks the rest of the season if
they saw me come in riding a
horse.”
Charlie never regretted his
decision.
Veeck moved the Browns to
Baltimore after the 1953 season.
Hopkins played three seasons
with the San Antonio Missions
finally before being released
after the 1954 season.
In 1955, Charlie was hired
to manage the Seminole Oilers.
“It was worse than high
school,” he says of his managing
experience.
“They didn’t have a clubhouse
or a shower. You had to
walk to a shower a block down
the street. The owner handed
out baseballs like they were
gold nuggets.”
Charlie also had many arguments
with the Seminoles owner,
who once asked Hopkins to
drive the team’s bus.
A defensive-minded catcher,
Charlie compares himself to
former St. Louis Cardinals
catcher Mike Matheny.
“I can’t say I had anybody’s
number (hitting),” he says. “But
I believe the best player I ever
played against was (former St.
Louis Cardinal third baseman)
Ken Boyer.”
Charlie once got in a fight
with Boyer during the 1954
season after a collision at home
plate.
“It seemed like we fought an
hour,” Charlie says. “But it lasted
only five minutes.”
He has no regrets about
hanging up the spikes.
Charlie says his family was
waiting for him.
“And I had to come home,
where I had a job waiting for
me,” he says.