Nebraska Minor League Baseball
Nebraska State League
Hastings Giants 1959

In 1959, Hastings had both the Nebraska State League Giants and the American Legion National Championship baseball championship. Over 23,000 fans attended the American Legion playoffs at Duncan Field. Detroit's Thomas A. Edison Post 187 won the national crown in 1959.

On the professional front, Hastings retained manager Leo Schrall for the 1959 season, his third season of developing rookie talent for the Giants. His team consisted of a number of newly signed rookies.

They were fourth in hitting, third in fielding and fifth in pitching for the year. They wound up in fifth place in the league 20 games out of first place.

The Giants played their games at Duncan Field. The field was a pitchers dream with its long distances to the outfield fences.

Duncan Field Baseball Hastings NEbraska
Photo courtesy of Eliza Portrait Design
Photogaphy Studio

First base for the Giants in 1959 was held down by Rafael Casillas . The southpaw played 30 games at first and 22 games in the outfield. He averaged .283 for the season.

Alternating with Casillas on first was William Honnor He played in 50 games and averaged .196 while swinging from the port side of the plate.

The keystone sack was covered by Robert Davis . He averaged .108 for the season.

Third base for the Giants was defensive ace Elwood "Woody" Huyke . He was best defensive third baseman in the league and averaged .311 for the season. He also led the league in home runs and hits. In 1960 he was with the Oakland Athletics and spent nine years total in the minor leagues. He began his managerial career in 1973 with Niagra Falls and was a minor league manager for 29 years.

In the dirt at short stop was Richard McKenna . He was the third player in their infield who did not cross the Mendoza line as he averaged .118 for the year.

The Giants signed Robert Barton as an amateur free agent in 1959 and sent him to Hastings. Born in Norwood Ohio, he was their regular catcher for the year and averaged .287. He made it to the major leagues in 1965 and played for ten seasons as a catcher at San Francisco, San Diego and the Reds.

Photo courtesy of Eliza Portrait Design
Photogaphy Studio

Arthur Cole was a regular for the Giants in the outfield garden. He played in 61 games and averaged .238. Jerome Bonnabeau was another regular for Hastings. He played in 62 games, was a lefty at the plate and averaged .274. Robert Morett was a switch hitter who averaged .320 in 28 games. Willie Beaman played in 16 games and averaged .234 and James Stallings played in 15 games and averaged .270 from the port side of the plate.

Photo courtesy of Eliza Portrait Design
Photogaphy Studio

William "Froggy" "Bill" Hands was signed by the Giants as a rookie in 1959. The 19 year old New Jersey flinger appeared in 13 games and was 1-4 for the year. He travelled to Fresno for the 1960 season and Eugene for 1961. He was 14-12 for Springfield in 1962 and spent three years in Tacoma. He was brought up to the parent Giants in 1965. He pitched for eleven years in the majors.

Fred Wenz was another rookie signed by the Giants in 1959. The seventeen year old flinger appeared in nine games and had a 3-5 record. He made it to the majors in 1968 with the Boston Red Sox. He played for three years with Boston and Philadelphia and had a 3-0 lifetime record in 31 major league games.

John May appeared in 16 games. The lefty was 1-3 for the Giants. Ray Moulder , another southpaw was 1-4 with 10 appearances.

Mark Opatt flung the rock in 13 games and was 2-3, and Clell Quarles appered in 16 games and was 3-7 for the season.

Carl Shelen pitched in 7 games and managed a 2-1 record and Elizardo Toro was 1-1 in 15 appearances.

Rudy Tretter was 5-1 for the Hastings Giants while Fred Wenz was 3-5 in 9 games.

Lowell Bussler was 2-5 in 14 appearances. In 1960 he pitched for Quincy in the Midwest league. He pitched a no hitter against Kokomo in June of 1960.

Jackie Blehm appeared in 9 games and had a 1-1 record.

Photo courtesy of Eliza Portrait Design
Photogaphy Studio

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