Saturday, October 20, 2007

More on Gus Hallbourg

The last survivor of the Spokane Indians bus crash in 1946 who died last week was signed to a pro contract in February 1939. He was in the West Texas-New Mexico League and started with Lubbock but ended up with Pampa against Lubbock in the playoffs.
Here's a contemporary sports column about him.

[The Lowell Sun, Lowell, Massachusetts, March 17, 1939]
OUT OF A CLEAR SKY BEAMS A NEW SUBURBAN star, for whom two major league clubs ran a merry race this winter with a contract as the prize.
The whole story can be told, now that Darwin Hallbourg of East Pepperell is finally and officially listed with the Chicago White Sox rookie camp at Longview, Texas.
Two years ago, rangy, strong-armed, right-handed Hallbourg was tossing 'em up for the North Chelmsford American Legion team, and then he pitched for the St. Joseph's church team of Pepperell in the Catholic Junior league. When that circuit failed to reorganize, Hallbourg applied his trusty arm to the fortunes of a crack semi-pro team in Nashua, N. H. He never hurled in Lowell, but he's the pride of Pepperell and the joy of the suburban towns, who always claim to have baseball talent as plentiful and able as Lowell proper.
The story of Hallbourg has its dramatic points. Six weeks ago, one of the scouts of the New York Yankees "got ahold" of this writer and sought the kind of information that scouts are wont to seek. For the present, the scout's identity must be held in confidence. It doesn't matter particularly anyway, but the contacts were opened for the Yankee ambassador in Pepperell by the writer, and he proceeded to the town. In no time at all, he was talking with an older relative of the prospect.
"Your boy plays quite a lot of baseball, doesn't he?" politely inquired the Yankee talent hunter.
"Oh my, yes," was the reply. "Darwin just yesterday signed an agreement to play for Chicago of the American league. Isn't that grand?"
"Swell," mumbled the scout, as he reached for his hat.
If Hallbourg had known that the Yankees were after him, it's a cinch this would be another story.
Of Hallbourg's prospects, Sec. John P. McEnaney of the Middlesex County league is more than mildly optimistic.
"He has everything," said Mac. "He's young, has a sweet variety of shoots and is big, strong and heady."
Where Hallbourg's stuff was first discerned by Chicago and New York scouts is unknown. The Yankee scout refused to impart that enticing piece of information. But down in Longview, Texas, there's a kid who was chucking for North Chelmsford's little Legion Junior team a few years ago and he is good enough to have created a contract race between two of the best operated teams in major league baseball.

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