Bank robbery offered employment baseball didn’t

“Richard Schmidt at Newton-Conover [in the Western Carolina League] was a first baseman who ended the [1960] season hitting .333 with 14 triples. He repeatedly told his teammates his ambition in life was to become a bank robber. Little did they know, as they chuckled away, that he had already begun robbing small-town banks around western North Carolina, an activity that continued after the season and eventually landed him in prison.

“Jim Poole [manager of the Rutherford County Owls] told me later it was a crying shame that because there were so few jobs in baseball Schmidt had to go into robbing banks. I joined in lamenting the paucity of jobs in baseball but suggested there might have been something for Schmidt between bank robbery and baseball.”

— From “The Continental League: A Personal History” by Russell D. Buhite (2014)

The Western Carolina League was the primary minor league for the short-lived Continental League, Branch Rickey‘s attempt at forming a third major league.

Buhite, now professor emeritus of history at Missouri University of Science and Technology, played first base and left field for Rutherford County.


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