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December 15, 1983


PIX #1 - View of the Redbirds playing field.

PIX #2 - George Silvey and Tony Lucadello 47 years ago. Silvey was team manager.

PIX #3 - Fred Morgan, business manager, and Jack Farmer, team manager of the Redbirds.

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the third and final part of a series of articles about the Redbirds baseball team in Fostoria back in the '30s, also about Tony Lucadello, a player on that 1936 team, later to become a well-known scout.

In addition to being a good baseball scout, Tony Lucadello also has a knack for remembering and telling unusual stores related to the game of baseball... like last week's "The Greatest Catch in Baseball."

Often when he is present at meetings where officials and players gather, the common request is, "Tony, tell us a story."


Tony is in the process of putting together material for a book. He has been working with a writer for more than a year and hopefully the content will be completed soon.

The book will obviously be about the sport in which, Tony has spent more than 40 years of his life. However, it will not be about the mechanics of the game...such as game statistics and player statistics. It will be human inter- est material about some of baseball's notables and how they got into baseball.

Mixed in with the stores of the game's heroes will be an ample sprinkling of Tony's stories.

I can say some are almost unbelievable with the ingredient of mystery in many like, "How could that happen?"


When I was gathering material for this series of articles, I happened to be at Tony's house one evening while he was having a telephone conversation with Pete Wahonick, Cleveland, one of the young men who played second base and shortstop on the 1936 team that was illustrated in the first article.

Tony then introduced me by phone to Wahonick, and we talked, Tony had explain- ed that I was doing an article about the Redbirds. Wahonick has resided in the Cleveland area for many years, engaged in the machine shop business.

There is so much more that could be said about Tony in the period of time between his connection with the Birds and when he joined the Chicago Cubs as a scout.

I learned that he worked at Fostoria Screw Co. and later at Fostoria Pressed Steel, doing machine and tool work at both.


At that period of time he was also active in organizing baseball teams of older boys in this area, and finding and developing material for pro ball. So in essence, he was developing himself as a scout even then.

One of his "finds" was a young man at Gary, Ind., who showed great promise as a pitcher. Having an "in" with the Chicago Cubs, Tony arranged to have the young man demonstrate his pitching ability. The cub manager brought out the best hitters, and they were all struck out. The manager was amazed and was anxious to sign the young man right then..."before someone else grabbed him."

At that meeting, P.K. Wrigley, the Cub's owner, was present. He said, "wait a minute, before we sign him (the young pitcher), let's get Tony on our pay- roll as a scout." They hired both of them.

That's how the young man, Ed Hanyzewski, got into big league baseball and went on to make a name for himself playing a number of years with the Cubs. And that's how Tony got his official start as a scout for the Cubs.


A Redbird player who needs special mention is George Silvey, mentioned in "Potluck" article No. 1, where he was pictured in the 1936 team photo.

Silvey, along with Dave Danaher and Steve Vargo, was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals to join the group. Out of that threesome, Silvey stayed with the Cards for over 50 years. In addition to playing for the Cards he also became assistant farm director, farm director, a scout, director of scouts and manager.

Lucadello recalls that Silvey was well-liked by players and spectators alike when he was manager of the Birds...always mild-mannered, congenial and fair.


There are probably many people in Fostoria who remember the Birds and special things about certain players. But there is one, Florence Beatty, 168 E. Fre- mont St., who was not only a fan but also a "mom" to many of them.

Back when the Birds team organized she was Mrs. Rinehard, and she and her hus- band lived at the corner of South and Poplar Streets in a big house with lots of space. When the young ball players began coming to town to try out for the team, officials had to find places for them to live. The Rinehards re- sponded and fitted-out two rooms to accommodate eight of the boys.

Stuart Heiss, one of "her boys," came from Chicago. "He has kep up corres- pondence with me through the years," said Florence. On one occasion she was in Chicago and telephoned his home, hoping to be able to see Stuart. "He and his family entertained me royally," she said. I knew Stuart right away when he came to my hotel to pick me up. He wa heavier, older and slightly bald, but I knew him."

Mrs. Beatty said she and her husband must have had 75 to 100 of the young ball players stay with them during the time the Birds team was in existence. Other families with extra space also took in players she said.


Another Fostorian who has a special reason to remember the Birds is Mrs. Namon Fruth since her husband was much involved as one of the group of busi- ness men who sponsored the team. She recalls that their daughter Carol drove her dad to all of the games and stayed to watch the boys play.

Walter Kramb, now one of the local Post Office employees, also has a special reason to remember the Birds. He was just a boy then and a member of the "Review Knot Hole Gang," having a card issued him by E.M. Hopkins of The Fostoria Daily Review, which admitted him free.

Tucked away with his "Knot Hole" card was a clipping about the Birds from which I was able to excerpt data for these articles.


Another person should be mentioned because of his contribution to the Birds, and if he was alive he would recall many events about the organization of the team and about the players...Virgil "Poody" Switzer, sports editor of The Review back then. He not only saw to it that the populace was kept informed by the important first page news pertaining to the development of the sport in Fostoria, but also through his column "Sports Shots." At one time he also served a secretary of the group who sponsored the team.

"Poody," a friend and co-worker of this author, later became editor of The Review Times. His skill and contributions to the newspaper and this town were shortened by an untimely death. The newspaper business was in the blood of the Switzer's son, John, who is on the staff of The Columbus Dispatch.


(1) Lynne Mabus, who originally suggested the article about the Redbirds. (2) Mrs. Frank Beltz, Mrs. Florence Beatty and Mrs. Namon Fruth, who furnished photos and data. (3) Tony Lucadello, who gave unstintingly of his time to provide much information, answer questions, and guide the author in prepar- ation of the articles. The end of the series.


An unusual reader response came from the second installment of the Redbirds and Tony Lucadello articles.

It was a telephone call from a woman reader, whose name I will not divulge. She started by saying, "It was a beautiful article and Tony deserved all that was said about his success as a scout, but it would have been appropriate to give some credit to Mrs. Lucadello, who stayed home to raise the family while Tony was away from home earning his success.

My only defense for not having anything in the article about Mrs. Lucadello is that the article was about Tony.

The telephone call from the reader accents the age-old fact that the woman of the house doesn't get enough credit for being a wife, a mother, a cook, a seamstress, an economist, the character molder, the one who does most of the planning, and perhaps a few more accomplishments.

I am sure Tony knows full well the part his wife, Virginia, has played in his success. I am also sure it never occurred to him to mention her part in his success, just as I didn't.

Thank you reader, for expressing your view which many others, both men and women, will share too.


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