Nebraska Minor League Baseball
Nebraska State League
The second iteration of the Nebraska State League lasted two years (1922-1923). It then morphed into the Tri-State League in 1924. The Tri-State League did not last a season. The league was dormant until 1928 when it was resurrected and survived until WWII.

Norfolk Elkhorns 1923
Photo courtesy of Larry Horton

The league upped the salary cap to $2,300 for the 1923 season over the objections of Hastings and two other clubs. This included $2,000 for the players and $300.00 for the manager. The league set admission at 35 cents for the bleachers, 55 cents for the grandstand and 75 cents for double headers.

Hastings followed the lead of Grand Island and made home date ladies day. Ladies were allowed in the bleachers free but paid a 20 cent tariff to sit in the grand stand.

The league rules allowed teams to have 18 players on the payroll for the first 20 games then cut to 14 for the rest of the season. The league also stipulated that a team could have no more than three players who played in a higher league. During the season Lincoln was called for violating this rule as they had Ed Zink, Art Stokes, Dye and Fred Conkey on the roster. Eventually, Lincoln was exonerated as Fred had not played in 15 games at a higher level so his experienced tag was removed. The league chose Wilson as their official baseball for the season.

WJAG was one of the first radio stations in Nebraska. Located in Norfolk Nebraska it was known as an innovator in live programming under the inspired announcing of Karl Stefan. On May 17th, the radio station did its first live broadcast of a Nebraska State League. The station installed a telephone at the stadium and the broadcast was relayed by telephone to the station where a microphone was held close to the telephone receiver.

Nebraska State League 1923
President: Clarence Miles, R. Grote
Standings Wins----- Losses--- GB
Lincoln Links 72 63 --
Norfolk Elkhorns 68 65 3
Grand Island Champions 68 66 3 ½
Hastings Cubs 65 66 5
Beatrice Blues 64 68 6 ²
Fairbury Jeffersons 62 71 9

BA:Fred Conkey, Lincoln, .390
Runs:Fresco Thompson, Grand Island, 91
Hits:Fred Conkey, Lincoln, 169
HRs:Jim Hudgens, Fairbury, 13
Wins:Art Stokes, Lincoln, 23
SOs:Art Stokes, Lincoln, 207
Pct:Edward Shupe, Grand Island, .720, 18-7

Lincoln Star
Opening Day Ad

Fresco Thompson was a 21 year old second baseman from Centreville Alabama. He led the league in runs scored and batted .291 in 133 games for Grand Island. At the end of the season Barney Burch, owner of the Omaha Western League franchise purchased his contract. He played for Omaha during the 1924 season. At the end of the year Barney sold Fresco to the Pittsburg Pirates. Fresco debuted with the Pirates in September 1935 and had a nine year career in the major leagues.

Burch also bought the contract of Louie Koupal of the Hastings Cubs. Koupal played for Barney's "Burch Rods" during the 1924 season then was also sold to Pittsburg.

Pid Purdy was a colorful outfielder from Beatrice Nebraska. He batted .296 in 130 games for Lincoln during the 1923 season.

Jimmy Hudgens was a twenty year old from Newburg Missouri. He led the Nebraska State League in home runs with 13. At the end of the season his contract was bought from Fairbury by the St. Louis Cardinals. He made his major league debut on September 14, 1923. He played for St. Louis in 1923, 1925 and 1926. In all he played in 26 major league games.

Art Stokes led the league in wins and strike outs. He made his major league debut in 1925 with the Philadelphia A's. In all the right handed flinger played in twelve major league games.

Team Batting Averages 1923 Team Fielding Averages 1923
Individual Batting Stats 1923 Individual Pitching Stats 1923

Lincoln Links 1923 Norfolk Elkhorns 1923
Grand Island Champions 1923 Hastings Cubs 1923
Beatrice Blues 1923 Fairbury Jeffersons 1923

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