Lewis "Lou" Weiss and Roy Smith, Capaha baseball legends, went head-to-head on the Capaha Park diamond in July 1972, pitching for teams in a charity old-timers' game.
Weiss and Smith played together for several years, but they were opponents in the contest 50 years ago. No doubt, plenty of stories were swapped by the players in the dugouts and on the field.
Capahas pitcher Roy Smith gives an autographed baseball to an unidentified fan in 1946. (G.D. Fronabarger ~ Southeast Missourian)
Published July 1, 1972, in the Southeast Missourian:
OLD TEAMMATES TO CLASH
IT'S LOU WEISS VERSUS ROY SMITH
By RAY OWEN
The Lou Weiss-Roy Smith combination of the '40s was a well-known one, not only in the Southeast Missouri area, but throughout the Midwest.
Smith, acclaimed by diamond followers of that area as one of the best from the entire Southeast Missouri district, started his pitching career in Jackson, his home town, in 1930, but he soon branched out to better things, signing with the St. Louis Browns in 1944, and playing for the Toledo Mudhens, who were training in Cape Girardeau at that time.
But, due to lack of pitching assignments, he was placed on a voluntary-retired list, returned to Cape County to pitch for the Cape Girardeau Capahas, McClure, Illinois, and Farmington Missouri teams.
During that same era, another fellow was gaining recognition as a hurler, Lewis "Lou" Weiss, who also carried a big stick at the plate, and doubled over as a catcher when he wasn't on the mound.
Smith and Weiss played together several years, but Saturday night (Actually, Sunday. The game was moved back a day because of the wet conditions of the field. -- Sharon) in sort of a Capaha reunion contest, they'll be opponents in the Cerebral Palsy benefit game to be held at 6:30 p.m. at Capaha Park.
Also to be on hand for the grand occasion is Elam Vangilder who pitched for the old St. Louis Browns, and faced some of the best of the major league players. Vangilder will toss out the game ball Saturday.
Undoubtedly, Vangilder and Smith will have a lot to talk about. Smith beat Vangilder twice, while the former was throwing for the Caps, and the latter for Gordonville.
Doing the receiving for Weiss Saturday will be Albert "Junior" Gross, an infielder who always "caught" Weiss when the duo was playing together. The second half of the battery for the Smith team will be Clarence Wessell, another former Capaha.
H.T. Miles, who managed the Capahas at a time when both Smith and Weiss were playing, will manage the Smith team Saturday, while Weiss will play a manager-player role for the team.
"Doc" Miles' crew will be stationed in the third-base dugout at Capaha, with the Weiss squad on the first-base side.
Other members of the Miles team include Charley Templeton, Gordon McBride, Jack Burris, Garnet Williamson, Pete Job, Jack Hinton, Ronnie Fischer, Gary Rust, Hank Dumey, Virgil Hopkins, Jim Drury and Mark Seyer.
Completing the Weiss roster will be Weldon Hager, Morris Gaines, Larry Burford, Walter Joe Ford, Allen Hill, Bill Mabrey, Bud Lemond, Joe Uhls, Fred Ostendorf, Ken Haas, Ken Hargens, Bob Miller and Noah Kitchen.
Following the old timers contest, the present-day Capahas will host a highly regarded Carbondale, Illinois, team.
The Capaha hopes were boosted this week when pitcher Don Miller, returned from Chicago.
"He will be with us the rest of the season," remarked manager Jess Bolen, "and, it comes at a good time. We enter the state tournament in middle July."
Other pitchers n the current staff include Tom Reinagel, Kim Godwin and Gene Schlick.
Lou Weiss, 1957. (Southeast Missourian archive)
Published Monday, July 10, 1972, in the Southeast Missourian:
It was a day out of the past at Capaha Park Sunday as former members of the Cape Girardeau Capahas gathered for an old-timers game. The teams of H.T. "Dock" Miles and Lewis "Lou" Weiss played four innings, with the final score deadlocked at 1-1. From left above, Doc Miles' team, Charles Blattner, Garnet Williamson, Paul Dumey, Jim Drury, Virgil Hopkins, Joe Burris, Jack Hinton, Gordon McBride, Gary Rust Roy Smith, Ed Rellergert and Charles Templeton. (Southeast Missourian archive)
OLD TIMERS HAVE THEIR DAY
By RAY OWEN
There was this time when Roy Smith was a pitcher with the Toledo ball club. Now, every knows a ball player must get his sleep, and that is what Smith was doing in the dugout one afternoon when his manager yelled:
"Hey, Smith, you asleep?"
"Then, get out there and coach first base."
Smith put forth his efforts and stalked slowly toward the first base line.
Then, he realized that the other team was batting.
* * *
Then, there was Don "Diz" Anderson, who played for the Cape Girardeau Capahas many years ago. Perhaps he was daydreaming one afternoon, when called on to pinch-hit. Anyway, he headed for the plate without his bat.
"Hey, Don," chirped a teammate. "No wonder they call you Dizzy."
* * *
They still tell the story about Lou Weiss, on an afternoon when he faced the famed Rogers Hornsby.
"Somebody told me Hornsby couldn't hit the sharp-breaking, outside pitch," said Weiss. "He stood far back in the box, and I could see that perhaps this may be true.
First three times up, however, Weiss tossed inside, and Hornsby smashed the ball, only to be caught in the outfield.
"Then, I decided to fan him the fourth time he came up," said Weiss. "I had two strikes on him, so I served him that outside pitch he couldn't hit. He sent it over the center field wall."
Fascinating tales, colorful anecdotes and a few bits of humor were passed around freely at Capaha Park Sunday afternoon, as "old-timers" gathered to play the cerebral palsy benefit game. On hand were players of past Capaha teams.
Many of the fellows logged playing time with major league farm clubs at one time or other.
Roy Smith was there, and was the starting pitcher for H.T. "Doc" Miles' team. Lou Weiss was around to do the pitching for a squad which he coached.
Marty Radmer, another former pro, was on hand, along with Charlie Templeton, Walter Ford, Albert Gross, Garnet Williamson and Charles Blattner.
One time in past history did Smith and Weiss face each other on the mound. During most of their playing days they were teammates, sharing pitching duties, with Weiss taking turns behind the plat to catch the hard-throwing Smith.
But, on a day in the late '40s, Weiss was pitching for McClure, Illinois, and Smith was doing the hurling for the Capahas.
"I beat him that day," recalls Smith, "but the game was close, 2-1."
In the old-timers action Sunday, Weiss had the lead on Smith after two innings. But, then Ed Rellergert took over for Doc Miles' team, and a home run by Gordon McBride in the third deadlocked the count at 1-1, and that's the way the four-inning contest ended.
"That's the way it should be," said Weiss. A 1-1 score is a good one for an old-timers game."
The many fans who turned out to see the old-time stars perform may have been surprised at the defense of the teams.
The Miles-coach team turned in a double play in the third inning when Walter Ford slammed a grounder to first baseman Jim Drury, who scooped it up, fired to second to get the first runner, then scrambled back to first to take the throw from McBride for the double-play.
"A double play?" exclaimed Weiss. "Who ever heard of a double play in an old-timers game?"
Bob Miller of the Weiss team made an outstanding catch of a line drive in the second inning, and Weiss' shortstop, Allen Hill, came up with a couple of great infield stops to throw out runners.
The Weiss team scored its run in the first inning when Yallaly walked and Walter Ford doubled. In the second frame, Hill and Mabrey led off with back-to-back singles. After a fielders play, Weiss walked to load the bases. But, Mr. Smith fanned the next two batters to end the threat.
Weiss, throwing a lot of change ups and curves, gave up only one hit in the four-inning fracas, but that was a home run pitch.
"Lou threw me my favorite pitch, a fast ball about letter high," said McBride. "I just hit it, and it went."
The ball cleared the right-center field fence.
"I hadn't walked anybody, and didn't want to," said Lou. "I had a 4-2 count on him (McBride), so instead of trying to curve him, I just whipped it up there."
There was no winner in the game, but the cerebral palsy fund came away a winner. All the proceeds from the game went to the cause.
Lou Weiss' squad, from left -- Noah Kitchen, Albert "Junior" Gross, Bob Miller, Walter Ford, Bill Mabrey, John Yallaly, Larry Burford (behind Yallaly), Radmer and Allen Hill. (Southeast Missourian archive)