Nebraska Minor League Baseball
Nebraska State League

The Nebraska State League was resurrected in 1928. It was a class "D" league. Minor league structure during this time included "AA", "A", "B", "C" and "D" leagues.
In 1937 the league started and ended with six teams. Fairbury, which had folded in 1936 came back in 1937 with an association with the St. Louis Browns. Other agreements with major league teams included Norfolk with the Yankees, Beatrice with the Dodgers, Mitchell and Grand Island with the Cardinals. The league required that each team had to have eight rookies on their roster.

Sioux Falls, without any major league affiliation won both halves of the season. They were able to sell seven of their players contracts to higher league clubs at the end of the season. According to the local paper they drew 50,000 fans for 60 home games.

Nebraska State League
Standings 1937
President: Roy Carter
Standings Wins--- Losses- GB Manager
Sioux Falls Canaries 83 36 -- Ralph Brandon
Mitchell Kernels (STL) 75 41 6 ½ Cliff Knox
Beatrice Blues (BRK) 54 61 27 Lee Riley
Norfolk Elks (NYY) 50 65 31 Elmer "Doc" Bennett
Fairbury Jeffs (STB) 48 70 34 ½ Sonny Brookhaus
Grand Island Red Birds (STL) 40 77 42 Joe McDermott

BA: Lee Riley, Beatrice, .372
Runs: Frank J. Mahacek, Sioux Falls, 129
Hits: James Guyman, Mitchell, 175
RBI's: Harold Schmiel, Sioux Falls, 140
HRs: James Guyman, Mitchell, 22
Wins: Frank Wagner, Sioux Falls, 25
SOs: Murry Dixon, Grand Island, 209
ERA: Bobby Swan, Sioux Falls, 2.35

Lee Riley from Princeton Nebraska led the league in batting in 1937 with a .372 average. In 1938 he repeated with a .365 average and also led the league that year in RBI's with 172. He made it to the major leagues in 1944 with Philadelphia (NL). He played in four major league games and had 12 at bats. He played in the pros for more than 20 years. He is the father of NBA player/coach Pat Riley.

Johnny Lucadello was a switch hitting second baseman for Fairbury in 1937. The eighteen year old batted .316 for the year. He was promoted to Johnstown in the class "C" Mid-Atlantic league for 1938 and his play there resulted him being called up to the Browns for the end of the season. In 1939 he played for San Antonio in the Texas league and was selected to the league's all star team. Once again he was called up to the parent team for the last part of the season. In 1940, he hit two home runs, one as a right handed hitter and one from the port side of the plate against the Yankees. . Wally Schang was the last AL player to do this in 1916 and Mickey Mantle was the next one to perform this feat in 1955. Lucadello had two home runs for the season. He was in the navy from 1942 to 1945. The Texan played in six different major league seasons from 1938 to 1947. He played for Minneapolis and Toledo in 1951.

Pid Purdy played in 50 games for Beatrice and averaged .363.

Oral Escal "Mickey" Burnett averaged .352 in the 13 games he played in during 1937 for Grand Island. Born in Arkansas, the nineteen year old grew up in California and played with Paducah in the Kitty League the next year. He played for Pocatello in the Pioneer league in 1940 and 41, Mobile in the South Eastern League in 1942, Rochester in 1943. He also had experience in the Pacific Coast League with Sacramento and in 1944 and 1945, then to Rochester in the International League, and Oakland in the PCL in 1946. He ran a gas station in Oakland during the off season.

Murry Dickson (Dixon) pitched in 35 games, played in 43 and had a 14-15 record for Grand Island. He also batted .232 for the season and led the league with 209 strike outs. The right handed pitcher was born in Tracy Missouri in 1916. He played in Decatur in 1938, was married in 1939 and played the 1939 season at Houston. He made his major league debut at the end of the 1939 season. The next two seasons were at Columbus and twice pitched both games of a double header. He spent the seasons of 42 and 43 with the Cardinals. Drafted into the army he landed with the 35th division on Omaha beach on D-Day. He earned four battle stars during his time in Europe. After the war he pitched in the majors through the 1959 season.

Nebraska State League All Stars 1937

Beatrice Blues 1937 Norfolk Elks 1937
Fairbury Jeffs 1937 Grand Island RedBirds 1937

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