Nebraska Minor League Baseball
Nebraska State League
Kearney Yankees 1956-1959

The Nebraska State League was resurrected in 1956 as a class "D" rookie league. The league was owned by Major League Baseball and Kearney was a farm club of the New York Yankees. The league schedule called for the first game to be held on July first and sixty three games were scheduled between the start and the Labor Day finish.

Kearney won the competition between cities for selling the most season tickets. With a reported city population of about 12,000, Kearney boosters were able to sell 760 season tickets. League headquarters was also located in Kearney as league president Harold George set up shop in the Fort Kearney hotel for the duration of the summer league season.

Games were played at Kearney Memorial , a well kept ball park built into a hillside with a natural ampitheater for fan seating. Kearney hosted the largest crowd of the 1956 season with 3,216 fans attending the August 26th game.

The Kearney Yankees of 1956 was led by manager Randy Gumpert. Randy was a lanky 6' 3" former major league all star who put up his cleats after the 1952 season. The Yankees in 1956 were led by Deron Johnson, who led the league in Runs, RBI's and home runs. He had a 16 year year major league career.

In 1957, the Kearney Yankees finished in fourth place under manager Randy Gumperts control. Leonardo Ferguson led the league in strike outs and Milt Campo led the leage in RBI's and home runs.

In 1958, the Kearney Yankees finished once again in 4th place, eight games out of first. It was the first professional experience for Horace Clarke and Pete Mikkelsen who both went on to have major league careers.

Kearney was consistent in 1959 with yet another fourth place finish. The 59 Kearney Yankees had a new manager in Jimmy Gleeson and Boyd Coffie led the league in RBI's.

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