Posts Tagged ‘1933 Houston Buffs’

The 1933 Houston Buffs

May 8, 2015
The 1933 Houston Buffs from an online photo find by John Watkine, SABR

The 1933 Houston Buffs
from an online photo find by
John Watkins, SABR

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Thank you, John Watkins, for providing the visual that made this column desirable. Even if the figures appear smaller in the photo size we are forced to use here, we shall begin with your identification of the players and two club executives featured in this picture from old Buff Stadium in Houston:

“1933 Houston Buffs

Front Row, L-R: Mike Cvengros (P), Bill Beckmann (P), Gene Moore (OF), Ernie Parker (OF), Tommy West (C).
Middle Row, L-R: George Payne (P), Ken O’Dea (C), Carey Selph (Manager), Ival Goodman (OF), George Binder (SS), Ed Hock (3B).
Back Row, L-R: Fred Ankenman (President), Stan Keyes (OF), Oscar Fuhr (P), Ed Greer (P), Robert Kalbitz (1B), Albert Fisher (P), Andy French (Secretary).”

– John Watkins, SABR (and great-nephew of Watty Watkins, the famous former Houston Buff and St. Louis Cardinal).

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The 1933 Houston Buffs were a nifty little ball club. They simply ran into the Shaughnessy Playoffs and the hazard of losing everything in a short series down period. Ever hear of that happening since 1933?

The ’33 Buffs posted some pretty fair individual marks. Playing manager 2nd baseman Carey Selph played in 149 games, led the Buffs with 184 hits, 40 doubles and a .310 batting average.

Outfielder Gene Moore led the Buffs with 13 homers. His .299 batting average and 38 doubles were second highest on the club among players who were on the roster for most of the season and who regularly played. It was the ’33 Buffs’ pitching, speed and defense, however, plus the do-as-I-do leadership modeling of Manger Selph that propelled the club to a first place finish in the Texas League with a record of 94 wins, 67 losses and a .623 winning percentage.

Their pitching strength included Ed Greer (22-10, 2.75), former Pittsburgh Pirate Mike Cvengros ( 21-11, 2.38), veteran ace George Payne (19-11, 2.56), Bill Beckmann (14-11, 2.75) and Elmer Hanson (8-2, 1.96).

The Buffs were well represented on the postseason 1933 Texas League All Star team: Houston members included: Jimmy O’Dea (.269 BA), one of two catchers; Carey Selph, 2nd Base; George Binder (.235 BA), shortstop; and Ed Greer, pitcher.

Among 1933 Texas League statistical leaders, Ed “Bear Tracks” Greer tied another for most pitching wins with 22, and pitcher Mike Cvengros owned the league’s lowest earned run average at 2.38.

Unfortunately for the 1st place 1932 Houston Buffs, they fell in three games to the 4th place San Antonio Missions in the first round of the post-season playoffs, as the 2nd place Galveston Buccaneers were eliminating the 3rd Dallas Steers, 3 games to 2. San Antonio went on to defeat Galveston, 4 games to 2 in the finals for the 1933 Texas League championship pennant before going on to a six game loss to the New Orleans Saints of the Southern Association in the Dixie Series.

The 1933 Houston Buffs

October 25, 2010

TOP ROW: Fred Ankenman, President; Stan Keyes; Oscar Fuhr; Ed Greer; Bob Kalbitz; Al Fisher; Andy French, Secretary. MIDDLE ROW: George Payne; Jimmy O’Dea; Carey Selph, Manager; Ival Goodman; George Binder; Eddie Hock. FRONT ROW: Mike Cvengros; Bill Beckman; Gene Moore; Ernie Parker; Tommy West.

The 1933 Houston Buffs were an interesting bunch. They are often forgotten for having played only a couple of years beyond the far more famous 1931 Texas League Champion Buffs of Dizzy Dean and Joe Medwick, but their 94-57 record was good enough for a 6.5 game finish in first place ahead of the Galveston Buccaneers.

Unfortunately, the ’33 Buffs quickly buried good memories with a three-game sweeping loss to fourth place San Antonio in the first round of the Shaughnessy Playoffs. The Missions would go on to defeat Galveston, four games to two, for the Texas League title as the ’33 Buffs basically faded into oblivion.

As a style note, the ’33 Buffs ditched the eye-catching buffalo logo that adorned the forehead crown of their 1932 uniform caps and subbed it with one that looks more like the plain “stripes only” cap we presently use for our  19th century vintage base ball team, the Houston Babies.  Although I cannot swear for certain, I’m reasonably sure the cap was dark blue in color with white stripes. “Houston” isn’t totally relegated anonymity here. That  big “H” on the heart-side plate of the jersey is unmistakably there for the only “BIG H” city in the Texas League back then – the one and only Houston Buffaloes.

Fred Ankenman is the featured “suit” in the team photo. Fred served as a Buffs employee from the late teens decade of the 20th century. Fred served as team president of the club from 1925 to 1942.

Playing manager Carey Selph also made the Texas League All Star team as second baseman and shortstop partner George Binder also got picked for the same team honor, as did pitcher Ed “Bear Tracks” Greer. Jimmy O’Dea of the Buffs also made the all star club as one of two catchers selected.

Ed Greer tied with George Darrow of Galveston for most 1933 Texas League season wins at 22. Buff pitcher Mike Cvengros was right behind those guys with 21 wins, also leading the Texas League for the lowest ERA with a 2.43 mark.

Mike Cvengros put in a lot of time as a major leaguer in 1920s, performing for the Pittsburgh Pirates who lost a swept-away World Series to the 1927 New York Yankees. Buffs outfielder Ival Goodman later played for the Cincinnati Reds that lost a World Series to the 1939 New York Yankees, Interestingly, the ’27 and ’39 Yankees are each considered by many as the arguably greatest Yankee teams of all time.

Meanwhile, as we get ready for the 2010 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers in a couple of days, it’s simply fun to again look back on baseball history in the hope that what gains on us is a clearer memory of the players who made the game special for us a very long time ago.

Have a nice start to the new week, everybody!