Nebraska Minor League Baseball
Lincoln Links
Western League

Western League Standings 1927
Standings Wins----- Losses--- GB
Tulsa Oilers 101 53 --
Wichita Larks 91 63 10
Des Moines Demons 82 72 19
Denver Bears 77 75 23
Oklahoma City Indians 68 86 33
Amarillo Texans 66 87 34 ½
Omaha Buffaloes 66 88 35
Lincoln Links 63 90 37 ½
BA:Langford, DM, .409
Hits:Joe Rabbitt, Omaha, 251
Runs:Joe Rabbitt, Omaha, 172

The league dropped the rookie rule of 1926. The league went to a 154 game schedule. Amarillo replaced St. Joseph as the St. Joseph moved to the Western Association. This was the first Texas team in the Western League.

At the end of the year Oklahoma City and Tulsa tried to join the Texas League. Their move was denied by a board of arbitration in December.

This would be the last year for Lincoln in the class "A" Western League until after World War II. Lincoln was the smallest market in the league. Combined with their awful record made for financial failure. In 1924 they finished last, 46 ½ games out of first. In 1925 they improved to 24 ½ games out of first, still in last place. 1926 they were next to last 36 games out of first. For 1927, they returned to their regular last place location, 37 ½ games out of first. At the end of the 1927 season Lincoln was replaced by Pueblo for the 1928 season and Lincoln acquired a franchise in the reborn class "D" Nebraska State League.

Lincoln was selected to be the opponent for Amarillo's debut home game. Mayor Bivens of Amarillo asked all local businesses to close for the afternoon of the opening game. Their new $75,000 ball park drew 7,000 fans for the opening contest and witnessed Amarillo's first win 7-5 over the Links. The Texan's won the second contest of the series 14-13 in ten innings. The game included the first bruhaha of the season as Joe Kelly, manager of the Texans and Swansboro, playing center field for Amarillo grabbed umpire Teck and choked him until bench players separated them from the umpire. Each was fined $50.00 and they were suspended for a week.

The opening home game of the season featured the typical parade and the ceremonial first pitch was tossed by Governor Adam McMullen and Mayor Frank Zehrung served as catcher. The links were 1-9 entering their home opener. Lincoln won the home opener 5-4.

Towards the end of the year the Lincoln Star reported that the Links were one of the teams that Colonel Jacob Ruppert, owner of the Yankees, was looking to purchase as a "farm" club for the Yankees. Of course nothing came of it as the franchise moved to Pueblo for 1928 and Lincoln returned to the resurrected Nebraska State League.

Western League All Star Team 1927

Lincoln Links Roster 1927
The Links roster was pretty much a revolving door from the start. As the losses piled up the president Dick Breen tried a lot of different ball players in an attempt to improve the team. They also ran into a number of fines and suspensions for various offenses from failure to follow protocol to be reinstated in baseball to season suspensions for striking an umpire.

All Stars
George "Goose" Gottleber
George played third base for the links. In 617 at bats he averaged .329. He also had 19 triples, most of them in the large expanses of Landis Field. George broke into professional ball with Lincoln in 1925. He moved to Columbia in the Sally league in 1928.

Marty Griffin
Griffin was an all star pitcher for the Links in 1927. He pitched in 34 games and had a 14-11 record. He also had a .265 batting average in 134 at bats. The book "The Western League" lists a Clarence Griffin as the pitching all star from Lincoln while the Lincoln Star lists M. Griffin as a pitcher for Lincoln. Marty started in 1923 with San Francisco. He had a cup of coffee with Boston in 1928.

Joe Kuhel played first base for the Links and batted .271 for the season. The twenty one year old was on loan from the Kansas City Blues for the year. He made it to the majors in 1930 with the Washington (AL) franchise. He played in the majors for eighteen seasons winding up with a lifetime average of .277.

Manager John "Doc" Lavan also played shortstop for the Links. A Grand Rapids Michigan native he broke into the majors with the St. Louis Browns in 1913 and played for the Browns, Washington, and the Cardinals until 1924.

Ernest "Dutch" Lorbeer was the regular catcher for the Links. He batted .269 for the season. Dutch played for Selma in 1924, and Springfield in 1926. After his year in Lincoln he played for Springfield and Peoria in 1928, Bloomington in 1929, Indianapolis, Dallas and Evansville in 1930, Beaumont in 1931 and started his managing career with Moline in 1932. He was also the basketball and football coach at Peru Nebraska Normal School (now Peru State College). He coached basketball for eight years from 1928-1929 through the 1935-1936 seasons. His best record was 13-6 in the 30-31 season. Most of the time they played less than 20 games per year. He managed and caught for the Beaumont Exporters from 1934 to 1936. During the 1934 season he caught 76 straight games without an error.

George Steuland started the year with the Links. He lost the opening game for the Links against Amarillo. He was traded to Wichita and wound up 9-15 for the season. The Algona Iowa native played had short stints with the Cubs in 1921, 1922, 1923 and 1925.

Ed Strelecki was a mid-May addition to the Links. He played for Jackson Mississippi in the Cotton States League in 1926 and had a 18-15 record. The twenty two year old pitcher was a second team all star for the Links in 1927. He pitched in 22 games for the St. Louis Browns in 1928 and had a 0-2 record. In all he pitched for three years in the majors and had a lifetime 1-3 record.

Lynn Nelson was a twenty two year old rookie for the Links from Sheldon North Dakota. He pitched in 35 games for the Links and had a 13-15 record. He made it to the majors in 1930. He played for the Cubs, Philadelphia and Detroit as both a pitcher and as an outfielder. He had a lifetime 33-42 record as a pitcher in his ten year career.

George Bliss started the year with the Links. He sat out most of the 1926 season with a broken leg. The "Fairbury Prune Peddler" played for both Lincoln and Wichita during the 1927 season. He started his professional career with Fairbury in the 1922 edition of the Nebraska State League.

George Hughes had a difficult year. First, he was suspended for the year after hitting an umpire named Harper. Then the suspension was clarified into just a suspension from the Western League which allowed him to play in a different league. Finally, before he could latch on to another team he was reinstated "on probation" for the rest of the year and the umpire was moved to the Western Association. For all that Hughes hit .253 with 293 at bats for the Links.

John Zaepfel was a regular at second base or short stop for the Links in 1927. He hit .286 for the year.

Nebraska Minor League Baseball