Nebraska Minor League Baseball
Omaha Rangers

Western League Standings 1904
President: Michael Sexton
Standings Wins----- Losses--- GB
Omaha Rangers 90 60 --
Colorado Springs Millionaires 85 58 1 ½
Denver Grizzlies 87 61 2
Des Moines Underwriters 79 69 10
St. Joseph Saints 53 93 35
Sioux City Soos 45 98 41 ½

Hits: Del Howard, Omaha, 184
BA: Bill Congalton, Colorado Springs, .327
Hr's: Del Howard, Omaha, 9
Runs: George Nill, Colorado Springs, 117
SO's: Jack Pfiester, Omaha, 178

The league war between the American Associaton and the Western League came to a peaceful conclusion. The Western League gave up their franchises in Kansas City and Milwaukee. The loss created a population problem for the league. Without these two large cities the remaining cities would not qualify for class "A" minor league standing. As part of the compromise the National Association promised that the Western League would always be class "A". The Western League set a salary limit of $1,800 per month but the manager and captains salary were not counted as part of the limit. The Spalding Guide reported that this was a good year financially for Des Moines and Omaha with the rest of the league experiencing some financial difficulty.

When the season began it looked like Colorado Springs and Denver would be contending for the championship. By June both teams had a large lead on the rest of the field. Omaha was considered to have weak pitching, St. Joe had a couple of good outfielders and Sioux City was full of young players.

In June Pa Rourke signed a young pitcher who played for Drake University in Des Moines. Buster Brown pitched 28 games for Pa in 1904 and won 70% of his games. Buster and Eddie Quick were the top two pitchers in the league based on winning percentage. Pa then picked up Jack Pfiester when he was released by Pittsburg to add to their strong set of pitching arms. Jack went on to lead the league in strike outs. When War Sanders came back to Omaha after a stint in St. Louis Pa had the class of the league in pitching.

Future major leaguer Del Howard led the team and the league in hits and home runs while averaging .316.

Baseball from 1904 Omaha Team
Courtesy Dan Bretta
Courtesy Dan Bretta


Back to first after spending 1903 in the cellar, Pa Rourke's acquisition of Jack Pfiester to bolster the pitching and Del Howard for hitting made all the difference.

Del Howard hit .316 for Omaha with 184 hits and 9 home runs. He was bought by Pittsburg the next season and went on to play five years in the majors.

Jack Pfiester played for Spokane in 1902 and San Francisco in 1903. The Cincinnati Ohio born 26 year old was a stalwart for Omaha in 1904. He started the 1905 season in Omaha but was soon back in the majors and played a total of eight years in the big leagues,

Del Howard
T206 Photoshopped
Image Courtesy Bob Payne
Jake (Jack) Pfeister

The roster for Pa Rourke's team included:
Joe Dolan played in the infield for Omaha from 1902 through the 1908 season. The short stop avearaged .281 in 134 games. He played in the major leagues in 1896 and 1897 with Louisville, 1899 with Philadelphia, and 1900-1901 in Philadelphia.
Harry Welch played in the outfield for Pa during the 1904 season and averaged .300. He played the outfield for Omaha in 1903, 1904 and 1905. During the 1905 season he was tried as a pitcher. From 1906-1910 his primary position was pitcher but he also played in the outfield for Pa's team.

Charles E. "Buster" Brown was on the mound for Omaha in 1904. The Boone Iowa native was picked up by Pa in June.

Warren William Sanders was a regular on the mound for Omaha from 1903-1910.

Ed Quick pitched for Omaha in 1904-1906.

Harry T. Freese was a catcher along with John Gonding in 1904. He averaged .309 in 42 games. He also played for Omaha in 1905 and 1906.

Otto Thiel was in the outfield during the 1904 season and averaged .260 in 138 games. He also had stops in Omaha during the 1900 and 1905 seasons. He played for Des Moines and Omaha in 1900. He played for St. Joseph and Des Moines in 1901, Milwaukee and Kansas City in 1902 and Peoria in 1903. He played for Memphis in 1906, Vicksburg and Jacksonville for 1907 and moved to Savannah for the 1908-1910 seasons.

Paul Companion was a pitcher in 1903, 1904 and 1905 for Omaha.

John Gonding caught for Pa from 1901-1910. He caught for Kansas City in 1900 and moved into a long term catching position with Omaha in 1901.

William Martin Shipke was in the infield during 1904. He had a six year run in Omaha from 1904-1910. He played for Springfield Missouri in 1902 and Fort Scott Kansas in 1903. He also split his time in Omaha with Des Moines and Milwaukee during various seasons. He averaged .229 in 1904.

Robert Carter was in the outfield from 1901-1906. He averaged .257 in 142 games.

Glen Liebhardt was a pitcher in 1904. He also played for Omaha in 1903 and 1905. He was also listed as playing for Milwaukee in 1902, Spokane, Los Angeles and Omaha in 1903, St. Joseph in 1905, Memphis in 1906, Des Moines in 1906 and 1907, Columbus in 1909 and 1910

John Thomas was an infielder in 1904 and averaged .234 in 140 games. He was one of many long term Rourkes. He played for Omaha from 1902-1905.

Dusty Miller was a 27 year old from Malvern Iowa. He played for both Omaha and Des Moines during the year and averaged .290 in 136 games. He played for Chicago (NL) in 1902.

Glenn Liebhardt pitched in 8 games and played in 20 games in 1904. He split his year between Omaha and Rock Island. The Milton Indiana native made it to the show in 1906 and played four seasons for Cleveland.

The league contracted to six teams as Kansas City and Milwaukee moved to the American Association. Peoria was replaced by Sioux City.

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