Photo Courtesy Steven Unger
After finishing fourth in 1922 the Beatrice Blues hoped to improve in 1923. Opening game was scheduled for May 4th with Fairbury as the opponent. A street parade at 3:30 was followed by the game at 4:00 P.M. The Blues looked strong in the field but "Pop" Willetts, manager was concerned about the strength of the pitching staff. His concerns were affirmed as the Blues lost their first two games to Fairbury. In the opener over 1,200 fans saw the Fairbury Coyotes defeating the Blues 7-6. It is interesting that many sources called Fairbury the "Jeffersons" however the Beatrice paper consistently listed them as the "Coyotes". Beatrice wound up being last in the league in batting with a .241 average and
The Blues went through a lot of players in the beginning of the year. Lon Jackman was traded to Grand Island but jumped his contract leading to a number of problems for the Blues.
Although the Blues stayed around .500 ball all year they were unable to
move up in the standings. Like most state league teams the Blues were in
constant financial difficulty. In August the team had a special "Boosters"
day. A newspaper report of the day states:
"Free air has been provided for those with voices suitable for rooting and all are invited to use as much of it as they may wish."
In August the Beatrice team tried out various young town team pitchers in league games. Malicky from Barneston and Oliver from Syracuse Nebraska were given try outs with the Blues.
Beatrice played games at both the "Driving Park" and at the "Athletic Park". Any details about the location/description of these parks would be appreciated.
The Beatrice uniform for the year were white with a dark stripe. The name Blues was printed across the front of the shirts.
Photo courtesy Steven Unger
Boyd who was also a pitcher, played in 57 games and had a .290 average to lead Beatrice for the year.
Fred Bowman who played in 127 games for Beatrice and Grand Island. He started the year with Beatrice, but by August he was playing for Grand Island in the outfield. He averaged .294 for the year.
Eugene Suggs played in the middle of the infield for Beatrice. The second sacker played in 125 games and had a .288 average.
T. Speaker was a regular in the right field garden for the Blues. He played in 132 games and was their cleanup hitter with a .284 average and eleven home runs.
William Quinn was the regular shortstop for the Blues in 1923. He played in 132 games and had a .281 average. He was sold to Kansas City at the end of the season. He was in the Eastern Shore League in 1924.
W. Schaefer anchored the third base spot for Beatrice. He played in 84 games and had a .259 average.
Harold Stanley Unger, the Blues catcher played in 108 games and had a .218 average.
McGrath was the Blues first baseman for 72 games and had a .217 average.
Paul McCoy was a 17 year old prospect from Prescott Arizona. He played in 100 games and averaged .243. He started his stint in professional ball as a 16 year old playing for Lincoln in 1922. He played for Salina Kansas in 1924 after the Beatrice team disbanded. In 1927 he played for Los Angeles in the Pacific Coast League.
Mike O'Leary was the leadoff hitter for the Blues. He played center field. He played in 125 games and had a .191 average.
William Novak played in mainly in the outfield. He also played backup catcher behind Unger. He played in 42 games and had a .234 average.
Pop Willetts managed the Blues and pitched in 20 games. He wound up with an 8-6 record with the Blues.
Boyd pitched 25 games and had a 14-8 record.
Clyde Kettenbeil was a 23 year old pitcher from Michigan. He had a 13-7 record.
Edward Kutina was 7-4 in 14 games for Beatrice.
Demarest started the opening game for Beatrice. For the season he was 5-5 in the 10 games he pitched. His contract was bought by Pittsburg. He wound up in Williamsport in 1924 and 1925.
A Prejean managed a 12-6 record.
Farnum was 4-4.
W. Miller was 3-3.
Oliver the young man from Syracuse Nebraska was given a chance at the end of the year. He pitched in 2 games and had a 0-1 record.
Nebraska State League Standings 1923
Nebraska Minor League Baseball Home