Nebraska Minor League Baseball
American Assocation

American Association
President:James Burris
Standings Wins--- Losses- GB Attended Manager
Indianapolis 89 58 -- 148,626 Luke Appling
Omaha Dodgers 79 68 10 109,851 Danny Ozark
Denver 79 71 11.5 165,614 Frank Skaff
Louisville 71 75 17.5 70,550 Jack Tighe
Oklahoma City 66 81 23 184,683 Connie Ryan
Dallas-Ft.Worth 59 90 31 80,034 Dick Littlefield/Ray Murray

BA:Tom McCraw, Indianapolis, .326
Runs:Jackson Queen, Denver, 98
Hits:Wayne Graham, Dallas-Ft.Worth, 187
RBIs:Jim Koranda, Indianapolis, 103
HRs:Leo Burke, Dallas-Ft.Worth, 27
Wins:Nick Wilhite, Omaha, 18
SOs:Frederico Olivo, Louisville, 151
ERA:Conrad Grob, Louisville, 2.86

Manager Danny Ozark led Omaha to a second place finish in 1962. This was the last year of minor league baseball in Nebraska until 1969. The Nebraska State League folded after the 1959 season, Lincoln dropped in 1961 and the Dodgers folded after the 1962 season.

Baseball returned in 1969 when the expansion Kansas City Royals located their AAA franchise in Omaha and the team has been in Omaha since that year.

First base for the Dodgers in 1962 was held down by Joseph Altobelli . The lefty averaged .271 for the season. Joe was born in Detroit and had been playing professional ball since 1951. He signed with Cleveland and played his rookie year in Daytona Beach. He spent two years at Reading, two at Indianapolis before making it to Cleveland at the end of the 55 season for 42 games. From 56-58 he split his time between Cleveland and Indianapolis. Stops at Toronto, Montreal, Syracuse and Minneapolis preceeded his stint in Omaha in 1962.

In the dirt at second was David Roberts. He was second in the league with a .322 average.

Don "Ducky" LeJohn played 135 games at third and averaged .276. Ducky was born in Daisytown PA. He was signed by the Dodgers to his first professional contract in 1954. He spent the 54 season with Shawnee and was named to the Sooner State League all star team. The 55 season he was with Great Falls, in 1956 he moved to Wichita Falls. In 1957 he played for Macon and in 58 he was with Des Moines. 1959 saw him in Asheville and the spent the 1960 and 61 season in Atlanta.

Short stop saw Barton Shirley holding down the position. He went through the season with a .278 average. The 22 year old graduated from high school in Texas in 1958 and attended University of Texas. He played in the 1960 Cotton Bowl and tossed the winning touchdown pass against Arkansas. He spent the summer of 1961 playing for Atlanta and moved to Omaha for the 1962 season.

Behind the mask at catcher was T. Mike Brumley for 110 games. The 22 year old was in his fifth year of professional ball and averaged .282. Mike lived in Oklahoma City during the off season. He spent the 57 season in Kokomo, 58 in Reno, 59 in Montreal, 60 in Spokane and 61 in Atlanta before moving to Omaha for the 1962 season. Nathanial Smith put on the mask for 55 games, played in 74 and averaged .262 for the season. It was his second year in Omaha after spending time in the service. He started his career in Kokomo in 1956 and also played in Reno, Green Bay and Macon before entering the service.

James Barbieri was a regular in the garden for Omaha in 1962 and averaged .265. He was a Little League star from Schenectady New York and threw out the first ball in the 1954 world series. He started with Panama City and Green Bay in 1960 and played the 1961 season in Salem. After Omaha he spent four years in Spokane. He played in 39 major league games as a 24 year old in 1966.

Richard Smith tended the grass also in Municipal (soon to be Rosenblatt) stadium in 1962. Born in Lebanon Oregon the 23 year old averaged .255. He started his career in 1958 with Thomasville and spent time playing for Odessa, Green Bay and Greenville before coming to the Dodgers.

Another regular in the outfield in 1962 was Ken McMullen. The twenty year old from Oxnard California started his career in Reno in 1961. He averaged .282 for the Omaha Dodgers and was called up to the parent club in September where he appeared in six games. In 1963 he split his time between Spokane and Los Angeles. He played a total of sixteen seasons in the majors.

Ernest Rodriguez played in over 80 games and averaged .271. The lefty was born in Jerome Arizona and graduated from U.C.L.A. He started his pro career with Reno in 1958. He played in St. Paul, Spokane and Macon in 1959. He spent the 1960 season in Macon and split the 1961 season between Spokane and Atlanta.

Al Ferrara played 41 games in Omaha in 1962. He played most of the season in Spokane. He played in Spokane and Los Angeles in 1963 and had an eight year major league career.

J. Nicholas Willhite led the league with 18 wins in 1962. The Tulsa Oklahoma native started in 1960 with Reno. He played in Greenville in 1961 and after spending the 1962 season with Omaha he started 1963 with Los Angeles. He spent part of the 63 season in Spokane and part of 64 in Albuquerque. In all he played part of three years in the majors and had a 6-12 lifetime record.
Harold Scott Breeden was 12-14 for the Dodgers. The 6' 3" righty attended Miami (Ohio) University. Originally from Charlottesville VA, he started his career in Kokomo in 1956 and also played for Hornell that year. In 1957 he pitched for Reno and in 1958 he was 17-5 with Kokomo and 1-0 with Green Bay. Stops in Victoria, Spokane and Atlanta followed. He pitched in Omaha in 1961 and was 7-7 in 48 appearances.
Jack Smith was a twenty seven year old righty who had 17-7 record in 71 appearances. The relief pitcher lived in Matewan West Virginia with his wife and two children. He started his pro career in 1955 with Hornell then Thomasville. He also pitched for Reno, Macon, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Atlanta.
James Ward managed a 7-1 record.
Larry Williams was 8-6 in 1962. The Mississippi native had a 26-4 collegiate record at Mississippi. He started his pro career in 1960 and had a 7-9 record in Green Bay. He was 9-13 with Atlanta ("AA") in 1961.

Burbon Wheeler was 3-7 for 1962. The Waldo Arkansas native started his pro career with Great Falls in 1957. He moved to Kokomo for most of the season and managed a 9-5 record. In 1958 he was 13-8 for Reno. The next three years saw him pitching at Macon, Green Bay, St. Paul and Spokane before coming to Omaha during the 1961 season.
Nelson Chittum was 1-5 in 28 appearances and John Lutz pitched in 39 games and had a 3-3 record. The 31 year old spent his first nine years of pro ball with the Milwaukee Braves organization. He called San Diego home and had a great 1961 season. He was 8-4 with a 1.76 ERA pitching for Salem in the Northwest League. He started his career with Ventura in 1950 and pitched for Evansville, Eau Claire, Hartford, Salinas and Topeka during his years prior to Omaha. He also spent 1954 and 1955 in the service.
Richard Scarbrough was 6-3 in 30 games. The Eunice New Mexico lefty was signed by the Dodgers in 1959. He pitched for Great Falls and Odessa in 1959. He was 14-9 at Odessa in 1960. He had the lowest ERA in the Pioneer League in 1961, pitching for Great Falls and had a short stint with Greenville that same year.

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