Category Archives: Sports Teams

A Favorite Pastime

Baseball. The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd and an umpire yelling, “You’re out!” It is one of America’s favorite pastimes, and with the recent Kansas City Royals’ World Series success, a fan can feel the excitement in the air. What could be more exciting at this time of the year?

Zarah Baseball 2

Frank Russel and Harold Hines, players of the Zarah Ball Club, circa 1920-1925.

One hundred years ago, fans made a day out of a Sunday baseball game. It was a great outing for the entire family. Parents took their young children, and it created a lasting memory. They packed a picnic lunch and traveled to the park on the Interurban, our area’s own electric-powered streetcar system. The Hocker line ran farthest west, almost to the town of Zarah where Starwood Park was located.

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Edward “Babe” Garrett, player on the Zarah Ball Club, circa 1920-1925.

The Johnson County Baseball League included 8 towns: Olathe, DeSoto, Wellsville, Edgerton, Merriam, Overland Park, Shawnee and Lenexa. Even local companies, to improve relations with employees, created baseball teams. Eventually, with the desire to travel anywhere by owning an automobile, our Interurban’s popularity declined, but baseball has lasted!

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Kenith Anderson, player on the Zarah Ball Club, circa 1920-1925.

Today with spring upon us, each community is beginning to form its own annual team, bolstering community pride. So get out there and root for your home team!

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

By Jack Norworth (lyricist), Albert Von Tilzer (composer), Edward Meeker (singer), Edison’s National Phonograph Company (publisher) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


-Terri Bostic, Johnson County Library


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The Squire: Local Politics, Events, Fashion & Advertising in the 60s & 70s

Did you know that JoCoHistory has several years’ worth of digitized local newspapers? The Squire, also published as The Village Squire and The Country Squire, covered stories of interest to residents of “new southwest Kansas City”, including Johnson County. It’s a wonderful glimpse into local politics, community events, fashion and advertising in the 1960s and 1970s.

Some of our favorite images from various issues of The Squire:

“What the Experts Think About This Leash Law Thing”, front page of The Country Squire, Aug. 24, 1961

“Happiness is going to kindergarten…” front page of The Country Squire, Oct. 7, 1965

“It’s Football Time at Center High” front page of The Country Squire, Sept. 9, 1965

Montgomery Ward’s Department Store Father’s Day advertisement, The Village Squire, page 11, June 13, 1963

“Improbable Predictions” page 8 of The Country Squire, Jan. 23, 1969

Movie advertisements in The Country Squire, page 38, Oct. 31, 1968

Movie advertisements in The Country Squire, page 9, Sept. 9, 1971

We’d love to hear if you’ve ever come across an article or image that’s caught your eye in The Squire!  All of the issues can be found at

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Friday Fun Find: Shawnee Baseball Team, 1903

Shawnee A. O. U. W. baseball team, 1903

Shawnee A. O. U. W. baseball team, 1903

The first baseball teams in Shawnee were organized in the 1880s. The “AOUW” on their shirts stood for the Ancient Order of United Workmen, a fraternal society formed in 1868. It was the first such society to provide insurance to families of deceased members. The photo was donated by Charles S. Kiser who is the son of Mr. Harvey Kiser, a member of the team.

This photo can be found at

More baseball images >>

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Luther Taylor: Olathe’s Deaf World Champion Baseball Player

Luther “Dummy” Taylor attended the Kansas School for the Deaf in Olathe from 1884 to 1895. He went on to become a successful pitcher for the New York Giants, winning a World Series championship with the team in 1905.

Luther Taylor, center. 1894.

Luther Taylor, center. 1894.

He was not the only deaf player in baseball at the time, but he was certainly one of the most talented and personable. Taylor was known to be outgoing, mischievous and brash on and off the field.

After he retired from baseball in 1908, Taylor returned to Kansas School for the Deaf as a coach and instructor until 1923.

Taylor (back row, center) and his 1914 champion KSD football team

Taylor (back row, center) and his 1914 champion KSD football team

Because of his major league career and his long association with the school, Taylor is probably the most well-known attendee of Kansas School for the Deaf. We have a number of photos of Taylor as a student, professional and coach. Browse the photos now.

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Filed under People, Sports Teams