Nebraska Minor League Baseball
Omaha Rourkes 1908

Western League Standings 1908
Standings Wins----- Losses--- GB
Sioux City Soos 88 57 --
Omaha Rourkes 86 59 2
Lincoln Greenbackers 74 73 15
Denver Grizzlies 72 74 17 ½
Pueblo Indians 62 79 23
Des Moines Boosters 54 94 35 ½

Avg: Harry Welch, Omaha, .362
Avg:Chick Autrey, Omaha, .320
Hits: Harry Welch, Omaha, 180
Pitching:Pat Ragan, Omaha, 29-7, .800
Stolen Bases Jim Austin, Omaha, 97

The Rourkes were expected to repeat as league champions in 1908. The nucleus of the 1907 team was returning and 18 year old Pat Ragan was expected to be their leading pitcher. Pat had thrown a no hitter in 1907 and the Rourkes looked to him to be their goto guy in 1908.

Omaha was looking for the league title as they went to Sioux City to end the season of 1908. The Rourkes were in first place and the final five game series would determine who would win the pennant. The first two games of the series were split. Over 10,000 Soos fans crowded into the park for the September 13th double header. Sioux City pitcher Al Furchner was called on to pitch both ends of the double header. He shut out the Rourkes 5-0 on three hits in the first game and backed it up with a 9-0 shutout in the second, throwing a five hitter. Sioux City went on to win the last game of the series and the league.

Highlights for the year included a no hitter pitched by Runty Rhodes against arch rival Sioux City.

Chick Autry
Chick Autrey Chick Autrey

James "Pepper" Austin led the league in stolen bases for Pa Rourkes clan in 1908. The switch hitting infielder played for Omaha in 1907 and 1908. He was sold by Pa Rourke to the Yankees and made his major league debut in April 1909. Born in Wales, he made it to the Yankees when he was 29 years old. He played for the Yankees and then the Browns. He was 49 years old when he made his last appearance with the Browns in 1929.

William Askew "Chick" Autry played for the Rourke club in 1907. At the end of the season Pa sold him to Cincinnati where he played in 7 games at the end of the 1907 season. He was a regular for Omaha in 1908 and averaged .320 for the year. The Humboldt Tennessee native returned to Cincinnati in 1909, was traded to the Boston Doves in May and played in 74 major league games in 1909.

Ed Householder

Dwyer batted .319 for the year.

William Belden batted .275 (the Belden who played for Denver batted .305). He started his pro career with Columbus in 1902 and his last year was with New Haven in 1910.

Red Fisher played in the outfield and averaged .249 for the season. He played for the Browns in 1910. He started in 1904 with Indianapolis and played through the 1924 season.

Bert King was a regular at second base and averaged .305. He started in Omaha in 1907 and played in Omaha through 1910 and part of 1911.

Harry Welch led the league in hitting with a .362 average, in hits with 180 and in fielding by an outfielder in 1908.

Buck Franks (Francis in some newspapers). batted .242 as a regular at short. He was from California and played for Oakland CA. for a number of years.

Johnny Gonding caught 99 games. The long time Omaha catcher batted .208.

Austin Lebrand alternated at catcher with Gonding. He played in 60 games and averaged .203.

Ed Housholder averaged .270 while tending Pa's garden. The Pittsburg native had a cup of coffee with Brooklyn in 1903.

Ed Lawler played in 10 games for the Rourkes.

Bert King
Pat Ragan Christened Don Carlos Patrick Ragan, the 19 year old from Blanchard Iowa led the Rourkes and the Western League in pitching in 1908. The right handed pitcher made his major league debut in 1909 with Chicago in the National League. He pitched for Brooklyn from 1911-1915 and Boston (NL) from 1915-1919. He made a brief appearance with Philadelphia in 1923 when he was 34 years old. Overall he was 77-104 in his eleven years in the major leagues. His name is spelled Reagan in the Minor League Encyclopedia but it is properly spelled by the Omaha papers and by "Through the Years With the Western League".

C. A. "Dusty" "Runty" Rhodes was optioned to Omaha from St. Louis. He had a 9-3 record for Omaha in 1908. He made his major league debut with St. Louis in 1906 where the 21 year old had a 3-4 record. In 1908 he had a 1-2 record with St. Louis and a one game appearance with Cincinatti. In 1909 the Caney Kansas native pitched in 12 games for St. Louis and had a 3-5 record.

War Saunders was 15-13. The 30 year old from Tennessee was a fixture in Omaha, playing from 1903 through the 1910 season with the Rourkes.

Duke Hollenbeck was 17-15.

Clyde Hall was 11-12

Charles Noah was 3-4 for the season.

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