HUNTER'S  BASEBALL

            MEMORIES

         

                                              

                                               Redbird Memorial dedicated to Gladys & Larry Hunter

                                                      

                                               Introduction by Ben Hunter

                             I am very pleased to be working with Sherry to record for your enjoyment
                             "Baseball Memories." Working on this project with Sherry and me are Nan
                             Hunter Castle and Ann Mays Harlan. If you like to purchase a copy of the
                             book, "Memories of Hunters" copies are available at the Coca-Cola offices in
                             Minden, Louisiana. If you would like to submit a memory e-mail it to this site.

                                      mindenmemories@aol.com

 

                                                                    

                                                                         KID ELBERFELD AND MR. LARRY HUNTER                                                      

That year, 1940, was the year I learned how to play real baseball, the year that Norman 'Kid' Elberfeld came into my life.

 He was known as the "Tabasco Kid," and Mr. Hunter had brought him in to coach us. He was smart and tough and the best.

  Stephen P. Cole

Norman Arthur "Kid" Elberfeld

By Ben Hunter

The friendship of Norman "Kid" Elberfeld and Larry Hunter left a legacy in Minden, Louisiana. In 1938 Larry Hunter became

 a dedicated baseball fan. A regulation baseball field was built. Teams were organized for ages 12-18. Out of the older boys,

 Carter Norman, showed talent enough for Larry Hunter to enroll him in the Elberfeld Baseball School that he read about in

The Sporting News. Grady Jeter was enrolled in an umpire school at the same time. They went to Florida and Larry Hunter

went fishing as planned. He returned later to check on the result of his gamble. Before they left to return home, Larry Hunter

had shared his pre-arranged fishing trip with Babe Ruth.  Cater Norman posed with Babe Ruth and Larry Hunter and Kid

 Elberfeld had made a deal to come to Minden.

 

 

 

 

Babe Ruth and Carter Nor  I  was nine (9) years old, too small and not old enough to be on a team. Being Larry Hunter's son,

I did some of the training sessions that were of his design. Kid was always encouraging the players, but if they did not perform

as instructed, they were "ROCK" heads. The first year was so successful that he signed up to return in 1941.

By then, everyone was comfortable with him. Kid Elberfeld told the Ty Cobb Story as often as requested. By the end of the

second summer the players knew baseball strategy very well. They received and gave signals, knew where to throw the ball, etc.

World War II got in the way of 1942 and he did not come. When did return in 1943 all of his baseball knowledge that was left

with us was paying off with a very good American Legion team. They scheduled the Little Rock Doughboys. An article in the

Little Rock paper showed the Kid and his team and titled it "The Kid Returns." He had managed the Little Rock Travelers in the

early 20's. Kid Elberfeld provided the baseball seed, Larry Hunter the support and both made it grow.

At the end of his last summer, Elberfeld had become a real hero to me and a couple of hundred would-be baseball stars. He

wrote on a baseball "YOUR FRIEND" KID ELBERFELD. The ink has faded, but I still have the baseball. People still ask about

 him today. He was a man that was so competitive he was called "The Tabasco Kid." To do what he did here in Minden, La. and

 just be called "Kid," he must have this final chapter recorded with all the "Ty Cobb" stories.

 

 

 

"Mr. Hunter had brought in some former big league players to coach us. The first one was Norman Kid' Elberfeld. He usually

called me 'Rock' or 'Hardhead'

Norman Arthur 'Kid' Elberfeld
Baseball Teacher and Storyteller

By Stephen P. Cole

MINDEN, LA (1942) -- I was just a kid whose hero at that time was JoJo Vitter with the old Shreveport Sports in the old Texas

League. I had not seen him play but listened to the games being broadcast from KWKH in Shreveport. I was thirteen years old

and never played the game on an organized basis. Larry Hunter, owner of the Coca Cola Bottling Co. in Minden was sponsoring

a baseball program for kids in Minden because he loved kids and baseball. Along with many other young boys in Minden,

I went to the old baseball park by the bottling plant. To our surprise we found this former New York Yankee, The Kid himself,

here at the ballpark. Mr. Hunter had brought him there for the summer to teach us the game.

I guess you might imagine how we felt. A real baseball player. A former Yankee. There he was. Not a big man but small in

 stature. Some of us did not have baseball shoes or much of a glove. It didn't matter to this man. He taught us how to hold the

 bat, how to field the balls in the infield, how to throw the ball, how to hit the ball, how to run the bases and how to slide. We

listened to everything he said. He even taught us how to get on the pitcher from the dugout. We learned what "YOU HARD HEAD" meant when we screwed up. We learned the fundamentals of the game and how hard we should try to win the game. There was also storytelling time. Stories about Ty Cobb , Honus Wagner and many others that he told us after practice and games were over.

This was well after his playing days were over and I can't help but wonder why someone like him would take the time to come

 to a small town like Minden and spend time with a bunch of Rock Heads like us teaching the game he loved when he could

have stayed in Florida and lived the good life. Just the work of the Good Lord in putting two great men in touch who must have shared the same thoughts about young boys who needed some guidance during a hard time in our country. He may not be in Baseball's Hall of Fame but he is not forgotten by all of us old Rock Heads who are still around today.

 

Memories of Kid Elberfeld

by Carter B. Norman (Minden, LA)

In February of 1940, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend Norman “Kid” Elberfeld Baseball School in Palatka, Florida where Babe Ruth was an instructor. Mr. Larry Hunter, owner of Coca-Cola Bottling, Co. in Minden, Louisiana, brought me to Florida for this great experience.

The school lasted for a period of six weeks. At the end of the second week, (Kid) asked if I was the boy Mr. Hunter had brought

down. I assured him I was and he asked if I thought Mr. Hunter would be will to take Babe Ruth fishing. I told him Mr. Hunter

 would be delighted to take Babe Ruth fishing and I promised him I would ask him that afternoon after practice. At night we

would meet at a theater to watch films on baseball techniques, etc. Later that afternoon when I saw Mr. Hunter I told him of my

conversation with Kid. That night he went with me to the theater to meet Kid and Babe Ruth. They arranged the fishing trip and

that started our association with Kid ElberfeldKid’s first name was Norman and my last name was Norman, so it's possible

 that accounted for our becoming good friends.

 Kid’s playing weight was 135 lbs and I weighed 130 lbs. As the end of the session was drawing near, one day I asked Kid

what he would charge to come to Minden and coach a bunch of baseball boys such as myself for the summer (three months).

He was interested and agreed to come for three months, for $150.00, plus room and board. I knew my parents would let him

 sleep at our house if I could get 15 boys to put up $10.00 each, making it possible to swing the deal. That night when I told Mr.

Hunter my idea of bringing Kid to Minden for the summer to teach boys he was delighted and said, “Carter, let me talk with Kid

 and set this up.” The following day Mr. Hunter went out to the ballpark and he and Kid talked. Later that day Mr. Hunter told me

 he and Kid had made a deal for him to come to Minden for the summer. I was VERY EXCITED! That was the beginning of a

relationship with Mr. Hunter, Kid Elberfeld, myself and the baseball boys of Webster Parish.

In 1941 World War II started and Mr. Hunter’s baseball players entered the various branches of service and Mr. Hunter wrote

letters! He kept in touch with all the boys, reporting to all of us where everyone was once a month. In May 1946, I returned from

 the war and was very saddened to learn Kid was dead. Kid Elberfeld played a very important part in my baseball training.

At the end of the 1940 baseball season I entered LSU. In the spring of 1941, I made the freshman baseball team. Our first

game was a road trip to Mississippi Southern where I hit a single the first time at bat. On the second pitch I stole 2nd base

on a close play, using a hook slide taught to me by Kid Elberfeld. I repeated this by stealing third base and still no one was out.

 Stealing 2nd and 3rd with my knowledge of hook sliding taught to be by Kid Elberfeld made me feel real good.

 The second batter struck out. The third batter hit a fly ball to center field and I tagged up and scored.

As I was sitting in the dugout, the manager yelled “Norman, come here” He asked “Who gave you the sign to steal 2nd?” I could

tell by the tone of his voice he wasn’t happy. “No-one,” was my answer, but I could see the opening. He then asked who told me

 to take third. By this time I could see I was in trouble, so I did not answer. After a pause, the manager asked who had taught

 me to hook and slide. My answer was “Kid Elberfeld”. The manager was very surprised and said he was the bat boy when

 Kid Elberfeld managed The Little Rock Travelers. He then said, “Since you had your training from Kid Elberfeld, you know more

about baseball than I do. From now on you have a free run on the bases.” All boys that played baseball for Mr. Hunter and under

the teaching of Kid Elberfeld during the 1940, 1941, and 1943 showed the influence and guidance that these two men had on

their lives.

 

 

LETTER FROM KID

  • LETTER FROM KID ELBERFELD


"The 'Kid' used to love telling about when he played major league ball, and how his teammates sharpened their cleats, making

their shoes weapons for sliding into home plate. After he quit coaching, he always sent Papa a crate of Golden Delicious

apples every year." -- Nan Hunter Castle

Kid Elberfeld had played for the New York Knickerbockers in the majors, and they played rough in those days. He still

had scars on his legs to prove it. He knew great players like Ty Cobb, and he told us all sorts of stories about them.

 During baseball season he lived at the little playhouse, and being invited there after a game and listening to his

 stories was one of the greatest thrills any of us experienced." -- Steve Cole

 

 

 

 

 

Norman Arthur "Kid" Elberfeld
Memories and Photographs from Minden, LA

By: Stephen P. Cole

The friendship of Norman "Kid" Elberfeld and Larry Hunter left a legacy in Minden, Louisiana. In 1938 Larry Hunter

became a dedicated baseball fan. A regulation baseball field was built. Teams were organized for ages 12-18. Out of

the older boys, Carter Norman, showed talent enough for Larry Hunter to enroll him in the Elberfeld Baseball School

that he read about in The Sporting News. Grady Jeter was enrolled in an umpire school at the same time. They went

to Florida and Larry Hunter went fishing as planned. He returned later to check on the result of his gamble. Before

they left to return home, Larry Hunter had shared his pre-arranged fishing trip with Babe Ruth (see picture),

Cater Norman posed with Babe Ruth (see picture) and Larry Hunter and Kid Elberfeld had made a deal to come to

Minden the summer of 1940. He came in 1940, 1941, and 1943.

 was nine (9) years old, too small and not old enough to be on a team. Being Larry Hunter's son, I did some of the

training sessions that were of his design. Kid was always encouraging the players, but if they did not perform as

instructed, they were "ROCK" heads. The first year was so successful that he signed up to return in 1941.

By then, everyone was comfortable with him. Kid Elberfeld told the Ty Cobb Story as often as requested.

By the end of the second summer the players knew baseball strategy very well. They received and gave signals,

 knew where to throw the ball, etc.

World War II got in the way of 1942 and he did not come. When did return in 1943 all of his baseball knowledge

that was left with us was paying off with a very good American Legion team. They scheduled the Little Rock

 Doughboys. An article in the Little Rock paper showed the Kid and his team and titled it "The Kid Returns." He had

managed the Little Rock Travelers in the early 20's. Kid Elberfeld provided the baseball seed, Larry Hunter the support

 and both made it grow.

At the end of his last summer, Elberfeld had become a real hero to me and a couple of hundred would-be baseball

 stars. He wrote on a baseball "YOUR FRIEND" KID ELBERFELD. The ink has faded, but I still have the baseball.

 People still ask about him today.

He was a man that was so competitive he was called "The Tabasco Kid." To do what he did here in Minden,

Louisiana and just be called "Kid," he must have this final chapter recorded with all the "Ty Cobb" stories.

 

ELBERFELD'S JUNIORS, 1941


"You couldn't find any uniforms back then, and this old guy, a scout for the Dodgers, came through Minden

checking out the talent. He somehow raked up a bunch of old Giants uniforms for us to wear. I wound up with one

that a big pitcher named Fat Freddy Fish Simmons [sic] had worn." -- Gene Rogers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ELBERFELD'S BASEBALL FIELD, 1940

"My understanding is that Mr. Larry built his ballpark in the late thirties, a regulation park

with a fence. That was one of the great things he did for the things of Minden." --

Jimmy Rogers

We were all amazed to hear that he had paid the bulldozer operator the tremendous sum

of thirty dollars a day! Once the field was laid out, he had two player houses built in center

field some three hundred feet from the spector stands. A huge Coca-Cola sign was placed

behind the two buildings."

John W. "Johnny" Davis

 

  1. I

IN THE BEGINNING

  • There was and still is a bond that the earliest and the latest teams share. The common thread

that binds these teams was their sponsor manager, boss, and friend, LARRY HUNTER.

I am loving the Minden site.  My name is Judy Hamner Dodson, class of 1963.  My dad, Buel Hamner, class of 1941,

is in the baseball picture with #1 under it and with the dog in the picture.  I have the picture cut out of the paper and the

names are: front row: Budge Dennis, Freddie Stanford, George Calvit, Shorty Baugh, Carter Norman, Babe Lowe and Mike

McCollum.  Standing l-r: Wales Martin, Gurvey Sheppard, Billy Sugg, Albert McKitchen, Sam Harper, Fritz Spencer and Buel

Hamner.  This was the first team in 1939.  Dad died in Feb. 1997.  My mother was Norman Miller Hamner, class of 1943.  Mom

died in Feb. 2000.  My uncle, dad's brother, is Gene Hamner who is in many of the baseball pictures. My brother is Michael

Hamner, class of 1969(?).  Michael lives in New Orleans now but recently traveled to Minden, Germany and is writing an article

to be published on the sister city.  Michael was photographer for the Tide Talk and took and developed many of the pictures that

are in the Grig.  He is going to see if he has any left.  Mom & Dad's house burned in 1964 and we lost almost all of our pictures. 

 Thanks again for all your hard work and I am planning to attend the next meeting.  Judy Dodson
 

 

Eddie Mitchum

The American Legion Baseball team enjoys a meal at the Hunter dinner table

 

  We are sorry. The computer has lost this page.

 

                            GENE HAMNER

For months I have thought about Larry and Gladys Hunter without leaving out words that need to be said. Finally I came to the conclusion it would be impossible to say everything I would like to.
I can't even remember when my relationship with the Hunters began then I realized the reason is I feel I have always been a part of the Hunter family.
Ben, Jim Sparkman, Jimmy Wall, and I were close until we graduated from high school. We played together and worked at the coca cola bottling company together. (Billy Dennis Worked with us too.)
Mr. Hunter took me on my first real vacation (a trip to Mexico), took me to my first big time college football game, (Notre Dame VS Tulane), and took me to Florida to see the
major league during their exhibition season spring training. I almost left out the trip we made to see the cardinals play in St. Louis.
This country boy was in awe to say the least.
I remember Mr. Hunter calling me the day to come by his house he said he had something to give me. He gave me the first real baseball glove I ever had. He claimed I had won it be finishing with the top batting average. I really believe he had seen what I had been using and decided to give me a real glove.
I can't remember how life existed without the Hunters when I was growing up They gave me my first job, took my on my first vacation, took me to see my first major college football game, took me to see my first big league baseball team, and gave me my first real baseball glove.
I would eat with them, swim with them, play tennis with them, play basketball with them, try to dance with them, and oh yeah, played baseball with them.
I was part of the baseball program for at least eleven years, and it would have been longer except for four years in the service.
Baseball with the Hunters gave me the opportunity to see and do things that would never have been possible on my own. Being a coach, teacher, and athletic director for 25 years and more of less the results of my years spent playing ball at the Hunters.
I would like to take this opportunity to say something to the Hunters that has been in my heart for 57 years. Thanks for all you have done for me . I will never forget you or the many experiences and opportunities you offered to me.
On the lighter side here are a few memorable times:
Losing to St.Thomas in Houston when I threw a wild pitch on a squeeze play that cost us two runs. Mr. Hunter was so mad he wouldn't let me in the car. Then started driving off with me running behind them. When we returned them, I had to work on the squeeze playwith Waterworks at bat and a runner on third racing home. I threw the ball and hit waterworks in the head. He said I couldn't throw hard enough to hurt him.
Losing the gas tank on the bus coming back from somewhere. Wayne Thrash, our handyman mechanic put the tank inside the bus, and we headed home. We stopped for gas and went inside to get something to eat. The gas attendant came inside and told us he couldn't fill the gas tank because we didn't have one.
Swinging from the pipes in a YMCA in Little Rock and being caught by Mr. Hunter. Since I was naked he gave me the name "nature boy".
Cheering for this girl in a tennis tournament in Galveston I didn't realize you can't do a lot of cheering in tennis. She sent the police to get me and Mr. Hunter Mr. Hunter had to rescue me.
Coaching first base and stealing the catchers signals, I was giving them to everyone except Bob Weaver because he was batting left handed. He got in the worst batting stance
I've ever seen in order for me to steal the signals between his legs.
I was stealing them in Bastrop and I called a curve ball, and they throw a fast ball right at Coach Farrar. He got up off the ground at started yelling "No! No! " to me.I looked in the Bastrop dug out and saw Ed Hood their manager and a former major league pitcher, laughing. He caught on to what I was doing.
Trying to throw a spit ball warming up on the sidelines. It slipped out of my hand and hit Red Schumfessler in the jaw. He was sitting in the dugout. I thought I was dead.
Wearing uniforms that Mr. Hunter had gotten from a major league team. They were old and about five sizes too large; but I was thrill out of my mind. Mine had Ducky Medwick's name inside of it and he was one of my favorite players.
Hollis Morton asking for a new ball when we were playing Homer there. The umpire wouldn't give him one so he threw the ball he had out of the ball park.
Milford Andrews claiming the ball slipped out of his hand when he threw it against the screen where the Michaels were subbing. They constantly stayed on us with their remarks, but they scattered when he threw that ball.
Playing baseball with Jack Moreland and then having the opportunity to coach his son
in high school.
The friendships and the fun times I had with some great people.
Thank you again Mr. Hunter. I know that where you are there has to be a baseball field and a lot of kids ready to play.
Gene Hamner

WILLIAM L. 'BILL" GLOVER
1943-44

My family moved to Minden my junior year in high school thus my introducti  to baseball  was as at the Hunter playground. If I could have been involved in the baseball
program earlier in my life I sure would have been a much better player because
Larry Hunter and ex-major league player "Kidd Eberfield helped you improve
your game in a hurry. That Kid Eberfield was something special. That was why      
Mr. Hunter brought him in to coach and improve the players.
My first game or so the at the playground Mr. Hunter gave some instructions
that I did not follow for I did not hear him. After a dressing down he later learned
that I had a hearing problem. From then on he would say the instructions loudly
and say "Billy, we will send you a letter." Neither of us dreamed that later in life
he would write me many nice letters.
Most people, particularly Minden people, never received a letter from Mr. Hunter.
He was an excellent writer and could have been an excellent journalist. This was a talent that a lot of people did not realize he possessed.
While in service I dropped Mr. Hunter a note. Back came a lengthy letter, a subscription to the sporting news and the Minden paper. Whatever you did, he out did you.
After many years and some success in life I wrote Mr. Hunter for as we get older
we sometimes start doing some of the things we should have done long ago.
Basically my letter to Mr. Hunter was a letter of thanks and telling him that I was
a better man because of him. In all honesty it made me feel very good to give Mr.
Hunter that message. In his reply he made me feel even better for he was so
happy to hear one of his boys say that. Thank God I told him while I could.
This time came back from Mr. Hunter another special letter along with group
pictures of the American Legion playground and high school teams on which I played.
As I said before, he always outdid you.
I did get Mr. Hunter to let me send him a pair of boots for fishing trips. Later on I sent him a cardboard display replica of a fisherman in the mountains. This was about a 4x8
foot display with our company name and logo on the scenic view. Back from Mr.
Hunter came a photo of the display that now adorned the wall in his den. Mrs. Hunter
had painted over the company name/logo in a very artistic manner so the display had now become a familiar project.
Here was a man who could afford expensive paintings but had on his wall an eight
dollar cardboard painting replica because it was from one of his boys. Anyone wonder where his priorities where?
His last letter to me was from the hospital in New Orleans where he was having
health problems. He told me that he was going to be the one that brought his body
home and that he did.
Not long after that he brought his body to " home - base" his last score.
Larry Hunter is most certainly in my "Hall of Fame" and I would bet that he is in that category for a lot of people.
Sincerely,
William L. Glover

 

                                                                    "Gone But Not Forgotten"

                                                                   American Legion Team 1945

                                                         Jack Gamble, Tap Gilbert, David Hadwin

                                                      Linwood Ouzts, Charles Harper, Larry Hunter  

                                                                           Sammy G. Staples                                                     

                                               

                                                                Father of Rusty and Jeff

  

 L

   From ..Jackie Gamble

         

                                                                  William Johnson

                                                               Pat Nation

 

                                                            

 Phillip Cook and Lamar Pace

                                                     

Gayle & Betty Wise

   

Abe Miller

HARRY DAVIS III                                                                             

 

 Compliments of Neil Baker

 1952 Redbirds Advertisers in the Program, compliments of Neil Baker

  Compliments of Neil Baker, Class of 1956

             

 Compliments of Neil Baker

 

  Compliments of LeVerne Kidd Langheld

Back row l-r: Sam Harper, coach--- David Nadrchal -- Ed Monk -- ? -- Jack Moreland --Richard Yates -- Ken McMichael -- Bud Humphries -- Harry Andress 
Front row l-r: -- James McCabe --James Love -- Lem Grigsby -- Tommy Stewart -- Rheet Cranford -- ? -- Cecil Maxey

Compliments of LeVerne Kidd Langheld

    Jim Knotts, Jack Moreland, Billl Hunter,& Richard Yates are deceased.