The Baseball world lost a great this week with the passing of former Yankee Steve Kraly. Kraly only played five games in the majors and five in the minors. He was more well known as the longtime broadcaster of the Binghamton Mets (a minor league affiliate of the Mets). Kraly played with the likes of Mickey Mantle and Lou Skizas with the Joplin Miners in 1950; which is the focus of today’s post.
Here you can see their 1950 Road Jersey from Ebbets.com:
It’s nothing fancy; the script is even in block form. However, the level of talent on the 1950 Miners more than makes up for the minimalism of this jersey. The minors compiled a 90-46 record over the season with Kraly posting a 2.79 ERA with an 18-6 record. On the offensive side, an 18-year-old Mickey Mantle led the way posting a line of .383/.638/.331 with 199 hits, 30 doubles, 12 triples and 26 homers. The 1950 season is considered to be the greatest season in the Miners history.
The Joplin Minors were founded in 1902 as a part of the Missouri Valley League, playing in that league until 1094. In 1917 the Minors joined the Wester League, playing until 1921 and then again in 1933. The most consistent incarnate of the Miners played in the Western Association from 1905-1911, 1914, 1922-1932, and then from 1934-1954.
The Miners held an affiliation mostly with the New York Yankees (1935-1942, 1946-1953), but were also affiliates of the St. Louis Browns (1933), the Red Sox (1936) and the St. Louis Cardinals in 1954. The minors also had a notable exhibition game against Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers in 1920.
Being an affiliate of the Yankees the Miners have a long list of notable alumni the most notable being, as stated before, Mickey Mantle and Whitey Herzog.
Here you can see a picture of an 18-year-old Mantle courtesy of the Joplin Globe:
Seeing an 18-year-old Mantle play in Joplin was probably something a lot more special than anyone watching that season could have realized.