TWIBH Episode 55: Spokane’s Deadly Bus Crash

Hey, welcome back to TPA! This site has lain entirely unused for 2 1/2 years (aside from the odd sketchy gambling or football post that’s popped up thanks to not-us for

The Spokane team bus, post-crash; AP Photo.

reasons we don’t know), and was mostly unused for some years before that, as Mike and I have been busy with real life or other writing things, while our beloved contributors outgrew us and moved on. The site even went offline for a while, as yours truly forgot to update his credit card info. But it’s back!

We’ve been doing a weekly podcast for over a year now, This Week in Baseball History, and it occurred to me that this would be a good place to put up links to the episode with episode notes, links to stories we refer to during the episodes or other related resources, that sort of thing. We might also write extra things now and again and put them here, and the comment section below would be another fine place to get in touch with us (along with our twitter handles and email) with comments, questions, complaints, etc. [EDIT: it appears as though in the time we’ve been away, they’ve stopped allowing comments. Keep using those other things!] I’ll be doing the new episodes as they go up, but will try to go back through and add the preceding 54 over time as well. So if you’re a listener, stuff in this space should give you a chance to learn more about what you’ve heard. If you’re new to the podcast, I hope you’ll look it over and give us a try!

This week’s was a bit of an unusual episode, as the main topic that is normally the bulk of our time (here, the Spokane minor league team’s bus crash of 1946) is relatively short and handled by Mike alone, but there’s also a substantial discussion in which I sort of interview Mike, our usual birthdays and memorials, and a segment at the end that was very special to (and difficult for) me.

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Episode and notes below:

00:00: Mike introduces; Bill is back after a couple weeks away.
00:48: Mike got to go to SABR 48 in Pittsburgh and Bill did not, for reasons that will become clear as we go, so Bill asks Mike some questions about it.
13:30: 72 years ago this week, Spokane’s minor league team suffered the deadliest transportation incident in baseball history; Mike tells us about it.
27:35: Birthdays! Bill starts with Ty Cobb’s longtime teammate and sworn enemy, Bobby Veach; Mike picks up at about 34:00 with sometimes-bespectacled homer-hitting gentleman Don Mincher.
38:40: Memorials: colorful umpire Dutch Rennert; pitching coach, executive, and Mariano-Rivera’s-cutter-refiner Billy Connors; and pitcher/scout Ed Roebuck.
47:08: Special memorial: Bill remembers a man who wasn’t a baseball figure per se, but sure meant a lot to him.

Key Resources:

A long piece on the 50th anniversary of the bus crash from the Spokane newspaper, the Spokesman Review. Also, there are SABR bios of Jack Lohrke, Ben Geraghty, and of Glen Wright. Also, Proquest has a ton of contemporary articles about the bus crash, if you have access.

SABR bios of Don Mincher, Bobby Veach,  and Ed Roebuck

The New York Times and Tampa funeral home obituaries for Billy Connors

My dad’s obituary in the Minneapolis Star Tribune

And finally, of course, the YouTube video of Dutch Rennert’s otherworldly World Series strike call:

Goodbye forever, until next week!


About Bill

Bill is an employment lawyer and baseball geek. Also a comedy geek, and just a geek generally.