Monday, October 29, 2007

Vern Kohout

Names of ball players get butchered in newspapers all the time. I must admit, I carried on this tradition by misspelling the occasional name of a Vancouver Canadians player on the web site at work this past season. In going through 1949 stories, one of the most commonly misspelled named was that of Bremerton lefthander Vern Kohout. Apparently, newspaper writers were thinking of some conspiracies and that he was in ka-houts with someone.

He pitched in 1947 and 1948 with the Salt Lake Bees of the Pioneer League and started 1949 with the Visalia Cubs of the California League before moving up to Bremerton. The Bremerton club moved to Wenatchee in 1950 and Bob went along, but was during spring training, he ended up with Spokane. The Indians released him (his last game was July 6th) with a 2-3 record and was signed in mid-August by the Lamesa Lobos of the West Texas-New Mexico League (the team noted for firing its official scorer because it didn't like his calls) and pitched in the playoffs. Here's Vern and a teammate with one of those nose-cone Ford station wagons (Studebakers had the ultimate in nose cones).

It appears Vern wasn't the only Kohout playing pro ball. His brother Bob Kohout made his pro debut in 1941 for Big Spring in West Texas-New Mexico League after a fine season for San Francisco State College the year before (he was with Santa Barbara in the California League in 1942, Danville of the Three-I League in 1946 and Pueblo of the Western League in 1948).

And what did he do after baseball? Let the Salt Lake Tribune of Nov. 6, 1968 reveal all:

Sports Mirror by
John Mooney
Tribune Sports Editor
Disa and Data About People
On the Sports Scenes

Vern Kohout, a southpaw pitcher for the Bees in 1947-48, was a Salt Lake visitor last week.
Only now he's sporting a Ph.D. as program coordinator of vocational guidance for the Appalachia Educational Laboratory in Charleston, W. Va.
Vern spent four years “in Europe, trying to teach natives how to improve their conditions and he's lectured and studied all over the United States.
“It's quite a change from the days at Berks Field when I'd be standing on the mound, with the bases full, wondering how I could insure my future,” he added.
After kicking around baseball for two or three years after leaving the Bees, Vern decided to forget baseball and concentrate on his studies.

Vern is in the Tacoma-Pierce County Old Timers Baseball-Softball Hall of Fame with a pile of other WIL players, like Dick Greco, Gordy Brunswick, Cy Greenlaw, Morry Abbott, Ray Spurgeon and, well, the list is a long one.

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