John Hall - author

"Majoring in The Minors"

Majoring in The Minors traces the history of Class D baseball in the small Southwest Missouri town of Carthage, Mo. from its entry into the Arkansas-Missouri in 1938 to the time it left the KOM League in 1951.  During the 1941 season Carthage had a Class C team and it hosted the likes of Stan Musial, Eddie Lopat who performed for Springfield, Mo. and Salina, Kansas.
The majority of the book deals with the golden years of minor league baseball, 1946-52.  Each chapter of the book follows a specific year.  The book gives the historical backdrop to what was happening on the world stage as the young men of Class D ball were working themselves to what they hoped would be Major League careers.  The book cites the success stories as well as the tragic ones such as the deaths of those killed in the Korean War.
The glimpses of Mickey Mantle, for example, were  not those of a young phenom who couldn't miss.  Rather it points out how he came close to be a one-month "failure" in the KOM League.  These stories are all written from the perspective of his roommates and teammates.
The book is a tribute to every young man who tried his hand at minor league baseball.  Many failed due to a lack of talent while others missed out due to being in an era before free agency and not having the opportunity to go to another organization.
The major strength of the book is in Appendix 1.  It traces the careers of every former KOM Leaguer in more detail than has ever been published in any baseball book.  There are many anecdotal stories in the book. A few are added to give the reader a flavor for the book.
Only 300 of these books have been printed.  A very limited number of them are available to the general public.  The book price is $60 plus $5 shipping.  John also offers subscriptions to "The KOM League Remembered" , a monthly newsletter, for $50 per year.  John's contact information is:

John Hall
1709 Rainwood Place
Columbia, MO 65203

Phone: (573) 445-8125


About the Author


Nothing much of any consequences ever happened to me until I found a St. Louis Cardinal game on the radio in 1948.  From that moment there was a magic attached to the voices of Harry Caray and Gabby Street.  It was an allurement that drew me to want to know more about the game they were speaking about on the radio.
My dad had passed away in early April of 1947 and I was probably seeking something with which to fill that void.  The St. Louis Cardinals had a farm club at Carthage, Mo in the KOM League from 1946-48.  One day my first cousin brought me a broken baseball bat that he had picked up the night before as visiting team batboy.  The first piece of baseball equipment I ever owned.... was that broken bat.
While listening to Harry and Gabby on the radio I played imaginary games in my back yard. I threw tennis balls against the side of the house until my mother and sister's inside would threaten to whip me if I didn't stop. I then took up hitting green walnuts with broom sticks or rocks with anything I could find that would last for more than a dozen contacts with a rock.
Then one night in 1949 the local undertaker called.  He had buried dad two years previously and knew I had developed an interest in baseball.  I will never forget walking into the Carthage stadium and seeing the local team dressed in the glistening white uniforms of the Chicago Cubs.  That's right, the Cardinals had left town after the 1948 season.  On the other side were those ugly gray uniforms with red numbers on the back.  They belonged to the "hated" Independence , Kansas Yankees.  I didn't know a single one of those Yankee ballplayers but sure came to know them later.  Nick Ananias was at first base, Charlie Weber 2B, Lou Skizas 3B, Jim Bello-RF, John Cimino, CF, Len Wiesner LF,  Bob Newbill C, and Bob Wiesler, Steve Kraly, Bob Mallon, Ken Bennett et. al. on the mound.  Harry Craft, the former Cincinnati Reds centerfielder was in his first year as a manager and when he was absent Burleigh Grimes filled in.  Oh yes, the kid shortstop was Mickey Mantle.
By 1950 I was old enough to peddle myself to the ballpark and if I got there early enough I was rewarded with being the visiting team umpire.  That year rookies like Bill Virdon showed up playing for Independence.  Then in 1951 my "real break" came.  I was offered the job as home team batboy and jumped at the chance even over the protests of a concerned mother.
The KOM League went out of existence following the 1952 seasons but it never left my mind.  So many things happened and so many great guys were affiliated with those clubs.  In 1994 I realized that the young men of the KOM League were quickly approaching retirement age.  I went to the archives of the Missouri State Historical Society and started reading old box scores and sports columns.  Gradually, I began to write down names.  Many were redundant due to misspelling.  I looked up games that I recalled as a kid to see what the sportswriter at the time had written about it.
Soon I had a list of names that numbered close to 2,000.  The names started to come alive.  Thirty-two of those former KOM Leaguers wound up in the Major Leagues.  Others became actors, singers, Broadway stars, business tycoons, elected officials ad infinitum.  Of course, at that point I didn't realize the names I was looking at such as Convy, Garner etc. were the ones who had first names of Bert and Jack.
Armed with those names I started searching through telephone directories to see if I could find the men I had once known as boys in the KOM League.  Amazingly, I found these fellows in fairly rapid succession.  They started sending their scrapbooks, old autographed baseball, bats and memorabilia from an age when Harry Truman was sitting in the White House.  They were as excited to hear from me as I was to hear their voices.
With the vast amount of information being accumulated I was urged to write a document about the league and place it a local library somewhere.  Before long the former editor of the Daily Oklahoman in Oklahoma City advised me that the book would be published and he would be the editor.  I had set a goal of finding 200 former KOM Leaguers.  When the book was printed in 1996 I had interviewed over 600 former players or their families. 
The book sold out fairly quickly and due to the high cost of self-publishing there were none available after 1998.  The KOM League Remembered Newsletter became the tool by which I kept in touch with the former members of the KOM League.  The list grew and by 1999 over 1100 former members of that league had been located or if deceased a member of their family and been notified that the KOM League was remembered.
Since 1994 there have been 69 consecutive monthly issues of the KOM League Remembered published.  It has been the instrument that has kindled the interest to hold yearly reunions where upwards of 400 former players or their families have attended.  The next event is scheduled for June 15-18 at Chanute, Kansas.
In 1999 the players and city of Carthage expressed their appreciated by having a bronze plaque of the 1951 Carthage Cub batboy placed on the stadium entrance at the Carthage Baseball facility.  Bill Virdon said at the time he considered the reuniting of the former KOM Leaguers the most amazing project he has seen undertaken in over 50 years in baseball.
 Due to the interest in keeping the memory of the KOM League alive it has become a family.  No one dies, gets sick or even mad at someone else without it being reported to the editor of the KOM League Remembered. 
For fans of Mickey Mantle there is no other source with photos, personal stories and events surrounding his minor league quite like what the KOM League Remembered and its associated publications possess.  At present the editor of the KOM League Remembered is writing a book about the 1950 Joplin Miners as seen through the eyes of every living member of that club.  Most of them had played for the 1949 Independence Yankees and thus were familiar with the work that had been done regarding the KOM League "revival."  At the request of all those men we have met personally, talked by phone and I have received enough old scrapbooks and photos to fill a rather large book.  At present negotiations are underway with a New York literary agent.  These negotiations will either culminate in a book printed by a national publisher about Mickey Mantle's 1950 season at Joplin, or else the editor of the KOM League Remembered will self-publish the book