November 2, 2021, brought the Kids and Kubs continuous years of operation to 92, and the 21-22 season found nineteen new faces on the Club roster; among them were, Gustro “Chino” Blanco, Joe Hannah, George Houff, Donald “Cubbie” Kutchinski, Dennis Kuvalanka,Terry Miller, Frank Pizzica , Jon Wilson, Paul Fitzgibbons, Mike Footlick, Kaz Gora, Bert Valery, Barbara Ewald. Bob Kane, Mike Vander Syde, Yvan Millette, Dave Laramee, and Joe Rinehardt made probationary applications for Club membership.
Opening Day was a day of tradition with American and Canadian flags displayed and musical salutes to the American and Canadian National anthems sung by the Westminster Palm Vespers Choir. The Club officially accepted the donation of a heart defibrillator.
Team captains took command of their teams after the ceremony. Will Michaels (Kids), Frank Sirois (Kubs), Larry McCurdy (Kats), Walt Ewald (Kits) began to chase for the intraclub championship, with the competitive season-ending March 30, 2022.
Good news came on Tuesday, November 16, when Jim Scala, Jerry Mayea, and Ivan Millette appeared arriving from Canada due to the lifting of the COVID travel band by the Canadian government. Canadian Players were unable to compete in St Petersburg, during the 2021 season due to travel restrictions.
During the first seven games, team performance indicated a balance in team talent would occur after the holiday break.
In a week that the Florida State Department of Health reported 151,415 COVID19 infections, Kids and Kubs President Ed Broomes announced that the Club’s Board of Directors meeting on August 12 decided to go back to taking temperatures and social distancing at North Shore Park field.
According to Broomes, the resumption of temperature and distance requirements will not include masking or asking about vaccination proof, started on Tuesday, August 17, 2021
At an election held Thursday, March 19, 2021, Three-Quarter Century Club (aka Kids and Kubs) selected Ed Broomes, Director for the past two years, to step into the President’s role. Broomes replaced Jon Wilkinson, who held the post for the past ten years. Wilkinson leaves the Board as the longest continuously serving President in the 91-year history of the Club.
Dave Glauner, the current Treasurer, retained his seat for the next two years, while the Board welcomed two new Board Members, Bill Barrett and Lou Kalogeras, who will serve two-year terms.
Barrett and Kalogeras joined a Board that included Vice President; Will Michaels, Ed Asay, Secretary; Dave Glauner, Treasurer, and Directors Jerry Wollman, and Mitch Kanaan. The new Board convened its first meeting on April 8,2021.
Despite COVID19 playing field restrictions, the Club completed the 20-21 interclub schedule on March 30, 2021. Dave Glauner captained his “Kids.” to the championship, finishing with a three-game lead over the Kubs headed by Frank Sirois.
COVID-19 was on all Kids and Kubs club members’ minds as the 91st season opened ceremonially on November 5, 2020. City guidelines were still in place and directed wearing masks, recorded temperature, and social distancing within the dugouts and on the field where possible. Club Vice President Ed Broomes closely monitored each player’s entrance to the playing field. Club membership stood at 46 members when Hal Olver threw the opening day game’s first pitch. (November 3). New members added to the Club roster included: Tom Heiderscheit, David Laramie, Frank Pizzica, Don Hackett, George Houff, Jim Robinson. Jim Staggers rejoined the Club after a two-year absence. New players began their probationary periods as the four teams, the “Kids,” “Kubs,” Kats,” and “Kits,” started the intraclub competition for the championship season set to end on March 30, 20- 21. Team captains Dave Glauner, Frank Sirois, Will Michaels, Lou Kalogeras, led the Kids, Kubs, Kats, and Kits.
A sudden stoppage of play order on March 12, 2020, caught the Club in the middle of its annual Board election cycle. Club secretary Ed Asay announced the Board’s decision to freeze all officeholders in place until the annual election in 2021. John Wilkinson, serving his tenth year as President, led a Board composed of Will Michaels, Vice President, Ed Asay, Secretary, Dave Glauner, Treasurer, including members at large Gerry Woolman, Mitch Kanaan, and Ed Broomes.
Six games into the intraclub competition, COVID-19 concerns about holiday traveling, spiking infection rates throughout Florida and the U.S., along with the Club membership’s high-risk population, resulted in a plan to pause the scheduled games for a week after Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years’ Day.
At its meeting of Thursday, November 19, a vote of the Club members closed play after completing two games held Tuesday, November 24. Play resumed with two games on December 3.
The play’s suspension again occurred at the end of games held December 22, with action resuming with a set of games Thursday, January,7,2021.
The Membership voted in favor of the pause, seventeen (17) yes, ten (10) no, with two abstentions.
A series of events to mark the 90th (2019-20) season began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony sponsored by the St Petersburg Chamber of Commerce. St Petersburg Chamber C.E.O. Chris Steinocher and St Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman took part in the ceremony marking the historic event. Club President Jon Wilkinson joined with Kriseman and Steinocher, officially snipping the ribbon with a massive pair of scissors.
St Petersburg Yacht Club hosted the annual banquet as a part of the 90th-anniversary celebration. Mitch Kanaan and Paul Hunt chaired the event attended by 105 persons. Rob Moorman and Erik Mathre provided video and photo coverage. Sean Blair provided dance music.
The Mayor’s City Hall Stars returned to North Shore Park on March 7, 2020, seeking revenge after losing a dramatic 14-13 contest. The Hall Stars got their victory with a comeback of their own.
Leading 13-5 entering the top of the 7th inning of a seven-inning game, the host Kids and Kubs looked comfortable as they took the field to defend against Mayor Kriseman’s City Hall Stars. Five run lead with only three outs needed to claim victory.
City Hall Stars had other thoughts in mind as they plated nine runs to tie the contest at 13-13. Still holding the “hammer” with last time at bat, the Kids and Kubs appeared in control. Scoring a single run would win the game and give the home team another dramatic victory like last year’s 14-13 bases-loaded walk-off home run win.
Not this time, however, as the visitors from the Mayor’s office scored at will to tie the game. A feeble one-two-three out effort by the Kids and Kubs in the bottom of the 7th put the game into extra innings.
Many well-placed hits, including Keith Glasgow’s three-run home run over the centerfield fence, 250ft away, put the lid on a ten-run inning fueled by the precision placement of singles and doubles that found the Kids and Kubs unable to corral. The defensive unit of the home team could only watch as the City Hall Stars rained hits to all fields with uncanny “hit ’em where they ain’t” accuracy.
Down 23-13, in the last half of the eighth inning, the home team managed to score one run. Far short of the number needed to keep the visitors from taking the traveling trophy back to Mayor Rick Kriseman’s office.
Will Michaels, Chair of Club’s Communication Committee presents the 90th Anniversary publication at annual banquet January 25,2020
Club’s 90th anniversary, a commemorative publication, noted the 90-year history of the Club. Will Michaels presented the book to Club members at January’s annual banquet held at the St. Pete Yacht Club
Under Will Michaels direction archiving of the Club’s historic footprint within Saint Petersburg occurred during the summer of 2019. Rob Mormon of Mormon Photographics and Erik Mathre of Mathre Communications Inc.
Michael’s committee expressed concern about the history and records of the Club being in jeopardy in case of fire, theft, or hurricane damage.
The Club’s history (1930-2020) is preserved and available for public view. Digitized and archived Club records and pictures are available at the St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 2nd Ave., N. St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Contact the Museum at 727-894-1052. The 90th Anniversary publication: “90 and Still Playing” is currently available in limited supply.
The 2019-20 season was a good year for Club growth. Ten rookies signed on including Senior Softball Hall of Fame(1997) player Darwin Shiflett spent 25 years with the St Petersburg Half-Century Softball Club. The robust crop of rookies included: David Hall, Sibi Caliendo, Howard Seymour, Walt Ewald, Dominick Vazzano, Jim Hartman, George Houff, Tom Heidersheit, and Jim Budreau. Several of the new members suffered early injuries and did not have the opportunity to play as much as expected.
The Covid19 Chronicles
Kids and Kubs end 2019-20 season, citing COVID-19 threat
Club Secretary Ed Asay posted the following announcement Sunday, March 15, 2020:
133-days since the Kids and Kubs last game at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg.. Now even the dugout is closed. Sign reads: “Dugout closed due to lack of social distancing. Who did not obey the rules?
At Kids and Kubs, the safety and wellbeing of our members and supporters are a top priority. We recognize and understand there is growing concern regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and would like to provide an update on the measures our Club is taking.
Effective immediately, our Club will end our 2020-2021 winter season, including our March 31, 2020, final game, and inclusive picnic. Our election will be canceled probably until the October membership meeting. Our incumbents will continue in office until the next election. We will monitor health data and reports to decide when we can resume softball activities and contact all club members with this information.
At North Shore Softball Field, we want to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our Club, volunteers, sponsors, donors, and loved ones. We will take every precautionary measure possible to safeguard our members
This announcement brought hope: The City has given authority for no more than ten players to take the field at one time. President Jon Wilkinson has the “GO AHEAD” for our Club to go on the ball field starting tomorrow morning, 5/19/2020. Jon Wilkinson will be there to direct activities. The first day 5/19/2020 – the first ten players will have access to the field at 10:00. At 11:30 am, the next ten players will have access to the playing field.
Sign in with Jon when you get there. The list will determine who gets to play when.NO MORE THAN 10 at a time. The first day we will set-up a plan for our following Tues, Thurs, and Saturdays.
Bring chairs to sit 6 ft apart, Bring Mask, and follow the rules of social distancing and do not get close to each other. Currently a skeleton crew of 10 or twelves player come to the ballfield for batting practice. At age 74 and above many of the Club members feel that sheltering at home is the safest
The 2018-19 season found the Club moving toward a goal of restoring and revitalizing the Club efforts in attracting new player talent and advancing the Club image. The elements of the plan included strong recruiting and increasing the image through information in the local news and social media. A Facebook Page and revised website are a part of a continuing effort to expand knowledge of the Club both locally and nationally. This widening of the Club’s footprint is vital in stepping forward to the 100-year mark of service to the community of Saint Petersburg. Many actions are ongoing concerning this effort.
A strong emphasis on recruiting new members into the fold saw a rookie crop of thirteen applications for the 2018-19 season. Club membership rolls included: Lou Kalogeras, Dan DeRussy, Jim Crook, Dick White, Sara Gold, Terry Thomas, Lou Weidner, Dick Barcia, Pierre Goiran, Dick Ozbolt, and Lou Costas. Leading the hit parade were Roy Gardner, .808, Ed Broomes, .742, Jerry Mayea, 718, Larry McCurdy .702, and Paul Hunt .674.
Club Secretary, Ed ASay awards check to Gerald Bochert, Board Member of the Senior Sunshine Center. Photo Reynolds 2019
Kids & Kubs Club Secretary Ed Asay has announced the distribution of charitable donations to ten local non-profit organizations including Boys and Girls Club, Friends of the Sunshine Center, Habitat for Humanity Pinellas, Neighborly Care Network, Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches, Police Athletic League, St Pete Free Clinic, Suncoast Hospice Foundation, T.A.S.C.O. Center-Based Teen Center, and Gulfport Little League Club. Since 1931 the Club has donated more than an estimated $300,000 to local charities
Jim Scala launches his game saving bases-loaded walk-off home run to give the Kids and Kubs a come from behind 14-13 victory over the Mayor’s City Hall Stars.
A Dramatic Mayor’s game victory was the highlight of the 2018-19 season. Jim Scala belted a 250ft- over-the- centerfield- fence, walk-off bases-loaded, bottom of the seventh inning home run. The fence buster enabled the Kids and Kubs to turn a 10-13 “jaws of defeat” into a 14-13 victory.
In assessing this value to the City, the Club’s, the newly formed Communication committee determined that The Quarter-Century Softball Club (aka Kids and Kubs) was first, in fact, a business with a mission: healthy exercise for men and women over 74 years of age.
The Kids and Kubs have a Charter, Constitution, an official U.S. Patent Office trademark, is a Registered Florida Corporation, and a 503C(3) charitable giving unit, is operated by a seven-member Board of Directors independent the City’s budget and direction. The Club’s office located at 330 5th St North, Saint Petersburg, is the home office of the Board, where monthly Board meetings occur. Meetings of the Club’s General Membership are held monthly at the field.
The Three-Quarter Century Softball Club joined the St Petersburg Chamber of Commerce in 2018. For 90 years, the Chamber has recognized the World Renown Kids and Kubs as a tourist attraction. The Club is listed and noted as a place of interest in “Discover Downtown.com,” The “Official Guide for Downtown St Petersburg.”
History is an ongoing phenomenon, and this story will continue as long as the Three-Quarter Century Softball Club of St. Petersburg, Florida, continues its very active program. In 2017 there were 71 paid-up members with dues at $100 a year. The Club consisted of four teams of 56 active players, sometimes of equal skills and sometimes of upper and lower levels of playing abilities. There were two women players and two African Americans in the Club. Several players were on tournament teams that played around the state and occasionally traveled to play in national tournaments or special events. Four teams played the regular season from November 30, 2017, to March 29, 2018. There were also numerous games played against teams from nearby Florida cities and other states.
“We are a bunch of ‘good old boys’ — and girls! — playing softball for fun and the benefit of friends and tourists to St. Pete,” says Third-Base Ed Asay. “We are part of something great: playing for the granddaddy of all senior softball clubs.”– AARP
The rookie crop was slim the 2017-18 season. Ivan Millette, Frank Sirois Bill Barrett, and Will Michaels. Millette’s tenure was short-lived. However, Barrett, Michaels, and Sirois completed the season, hitting .589, .568, and .630, respectively.
Cleo Stinyard holds pennant from 2018. Stinyard received a transplant in 2014. Cleo is in the line-up every game his team plays
An annual event initiated by Kids and Kubs’ when player, Cleo Stinyard challenged the hospital’s Transplant Team to a softball game after living through a kidney transplant in 2014. This exhibition game is one of many that fill the Kids and Kubs schedule during the season. The annual Mayor’s game, Freedom Spirit, Gulfport Boomerangs, and Three Score. Often the months of January and February bring visiting teams from the north who are tuning up the spring season in their respective states visit the Club for a round of games. Post season games at Tropicana Field and Spectrum enables the Club members to extend their playing time.
KIDS & KUBS 1930- 2020
THE GRANDDADDY OF ALL SENIOR SOFTBALL TEAMS
No one can do justice in a few short sentences for an institution that has been around for over 90 years and has provided recreation for approximately 1000 players and enjoyment to over 500,000 fans for nine decades. The Board of Directors of the Kids & Kubs take this opportunity in appreciation of our history and legacy inherited for an overview of the significant events over those years. We recognize that many special events may have been lost in the archives of time.
The Club started playing softball in 1931, after the initial goal to be more of a social “quilting” club.
In the early years, the Club played most of its games at South Waterfront Park, the present location of the parking lot of Bayfront Center. Collections were taken during the games to offset expenses and also allow sizable donations in support of many local charities, especially All Children’s Hospital. Collections at games continued well into the early 1980s.
The Club played exhibition games against local teams in and around the area and especially “ladies” teams for more than 60 years.
The Kids and Kubs incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1938 and formed a Charter on file filed with the Florida Secretary of State.
The Club played before an estimated half-million fans since 1930. In the 1939-1940 season alone, an estimate of 50,000 fans watched the games, as noted in the St. Petersburg Times and Evening Independent. One game alone drew 8,500 fans.
In the 1930s, 40’s and 50’s, the Club enjoyed the on-field participation of baseball legends Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Feller, Hank Greenberg, Lefty Gomez, Pepper Martin, and Connie Mack.
In 1939 the Club was invited by the co-founder, Colonel Emory, a Plantation owner from Cuba, to visit the country, and they played several games there. The Kids and Kubs played exhibition games in the early years around the State of Florida, many times taking a bus to places such as Miami.
K & K played exhibition games in Sacramento, California, in the 1980s as well as Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
The Club formed a Trust Fund in November 1981, with the support of the local business establishment and several major donors. They started making yearly donations from the Trust Fund income after 1981 to many local charities, and since1949 (71years) have donated an estimated $190,000 to $215,000 to charities. The fund has grown and totaled about $90,000 under Treasurer Bob Warsaw in 2007. In 2016 Treasurer Ron Renz increased the value of stocks to nearly $104,000 with yield in the 7% range, 51% going to charities.
A selected team from the Club played in their first Senior Softball World Series National Softball Tournament in 1992 in Detroit, Michigan, three years after national tournaments were part of Senior Softball around the United States.
The Kids and Kubs won the World Championship in 1998 at Chicago, Illinois in the 80’s division of play and several National Titles since then.
The explosion of senior softball evolved starting in 1989 with the first National tournament. The Kids & Kubs expanded to four teams in the early ’90s to keep pace with active seniors, many wishing to continue playing as in their younger years.
A monument honoring the past members and present members became a reality in 2005 at North Shore Field. Planning resulted in the construction of a marble bench. Inside are sealed documents to be opened in 2030 for the 100th anniversary of the Club.
In the early 1930s, the Club participated in the annual Festival of States Parade and the yearly game with the Festival Queen & Her Court.
In December of 2007, the Club received an invitation to play in Hawaii against a team from Japan, commemorating the end of World War II and honoring Americans and Japanese that fought and died in the Pacific Theater during the conflict.
In April of 2009, five members of the Club played in Japan as an extension of the 2007 event in Hawaii.
THE HISTORICAL DETAILS
Evelyn was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and for her health came to St. Petersburg in 1918 from New York City. She fell in love with the climate and, after a few short periods away on various matters, became a permanent resident, living at 114 – 7th Avenue North. She owned and operated the Hibiscus Hotel at 106 – 3rd Street South.
She organized the Grandmother’s Club, the Three-Quarter Century Club, the Show Biz Club, and the Senior Citizens Club. The latter organization believed to be the largest of its kind in the world, having at one time more than 5000 members.
Perhaps her most famous accomplishment was selling the City of St. Petersburg on the Kids and Kubs softball team. The first few years only members of the Three-Quarter Century Club or Society as it was also know were eligible to join the Three-Quarter Century Softball Club, now better known as the World Renowned Kids and Kubs.
Dr. Emory was from Havana, Cuba, owned a large cattle ranch there. He was a winter visitor who became interested in the formation of a softball team or group.
From the records available, it was Dr. Emory who did most of the leg work in this new venture. He was the liaison between Mrs. Rittenhouse and the city and recreation department officials on numerous occasions.
His interest in this type of activity resulted in his being the first manager of the Club. He maintained that role from its inception through the 1934-1935 season. Most of his time was spent in St. Petersburg, leaving the operation of his ranch in the hands of a few trusted employees.
Records also show he was captain of the Kids through the 1934-1935 season, and it was Dr. Emory who first called this group “The Sand Spur League.” This name lasted only until after the1936 season.
Charles W. Eldridge was a sea-going man for over 50 years and a resident of St. Petersburg. At the age of over 100, he accepted the office of president of the Three-Quarter Century Softball Club, and he held it for five years. Eldridge never put on a uniform or become an active player, but did take over the chore of being a coach on numerous occasions. He was one of the most faithful members of the Club. He lived to be 107.
This from an article in either the St. Petersburg Times or The Evening Independent in the early 1930’s. “It all started with a lost purse” by Evelyn Barton Rittenhouse:
Because a woman dropped her purse at the Chamber of Commerce one day in 1924, one of the world’s most famous clubs came into existence.
Mrs. Evelyn Barton Rittenhouse, founder of the Club and its guiding light since its inception, a staff writer on one of the local papers, told how the incident resulted in the formation of the organization that evolved into what was to become the World Renown Kids and Kubs.
“I was working in the tourist relations department of the Chamber of Commerce at the time. One day I found a purse lying on the floor. Opening the purse in search of some identification, I found that the owner was a member of a Three-Quarter Century Club in California. I figured if California could have a Three-Quarter Century Club, then Florida could have one also.
I found the owner of the purse and learned the Club in California formed in 1918; died of inertia the same year. There was no reason that a Club here in Florida should meet the same fate — so, within two weeks, 42 of the 75-year youngsters met, and the Club was off to a flying start.
“After a few quilting parties which consensus would have you believe were the proper sport for oldsters, mem¬bers became restless with the inactivity and complained that quilting parties were pretty dull stuff for a person with so much life. The idea of softball came into being with the results that in 1931 a group of the more robust ones met at the ball field for the first practice. After batting and fielding practice, the group went to City Hall and had their picture taken on the front steps. Only five of this group re¬turned to the field in the fall of 1931, this was the birth of the Three-Quarter Century Softball Club.”
This Club known later as the Kids and Kubs soon went on to be world-renowned. The high-quality national magazine publications such as the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, Reader’s Digest, and American Magazine carried articles at times praising the capers of this incredible collection of energic senior citizens, to¬gether with pictures to show them in action.
The following newspaper information about the games this season shows that the Club is well-established with large crowds in attendance:
December 29 — Kids 44, Kubs 23, 11 home runs. Young had 3, West 2, Walker 2, Arlington 2, Yesberger 1, Frisbie 1. Voted to accept the Junior College’s invitation to play a game next Saturday.
January 8, 1935 — Waterfront Park — Kids 32, Kubs 19- Home runs by Yesberger, Kemp, and Frisbie.
February 2 — Kubs 32, Kids 19 — 2500 fans present. Yesberger stole home sliding across the plate. Home runs by Yesberger 3, Harris 2, Hall 2, Frisby 2.
February 19 — Kids 32, Kubs 18 — 2500 fans. Home runs by Yesberger 3, Rummage 1, Craft 1, Curtis 1. Rummage wore a new hat given him for winning the previous game with a home run. No account of this game was in the paper.
February 23 — Kubs 26, Kids 17 — Largest crowd of the season, 3500. Yesberger, home run king of the Sand Spur League, struck out for the first time.
February 26 — Now known as the Three-Quarter Century Softball Club, played for the first time on the new diamond, way down south in Waterfront Park. Kids 32, Kubs 21. Countryman stole 2nd, 3rd, and home. In the 3rd inning, Yesberger fanned for the second time in his career. Walker was benched for insubordination.
March 2 — 2500 at Waterfront Park. Kids 17, Kubs 7. Dodge played without his glasses. The 76-year-old Kid did not want to be benched to make way for an “old fellow.” King stole home.
March 5 — Kids 28, Kubs 16 — home runs by Wells 2, Wilkens 1, Curtis 1, Nichols 1, Yesberger 2.
March 9 — Kids 17, Kubs 7 — Rummage was credited with an assist that put himself out in the 2nd inning. He hit the ball, and it dropped in front of the plate, he picked it up and tossed it to the pitcher who threw it to first for the out. Wells, 86, oldest man in the league, had two home runs. Yesberger went hitless. A “passing of the hat,” Resulted in a silver offering by 3000 fans, was divided among the players. “Munn Boys” quar¬tette entertained between innings.
March 12 — Kids 21, Kubs 9 — Kemp stole home, sliding across the plate. Home runs Yesberger 2, Arling¬ton 1. An all-star team will play an exhibition game on March 21 with a team of Infants, 60-70 years of age.
March 16 — Kids 23, Kubs 20 — Shakeup of players gave Kubs a new line-up. Home runs Yesberger 1, Young 1.
March 19 — Kubs 39, Kids 28 — Home runs: Mitchell 1, Young 1. Harris had a perfect day at bat, 5 for 5.
March 21 — Infants 60-70-year olds tied an all-star* Kids and Kubs team- Babe Yesberger pitched and had one home run. Duff homered for the “Infants.”
March 23 — Kids 35 with 42 hits, Kubs 8 with eight hits. Winning pitcher Harris L. P. Young. Yesberger out with “Charley Horse.” Harris 6 for 6. Home runs: Curtis, Frisby
March 27 — Kubs 22 with 20 hits, Kids 20 with 24 hits. Harris, the winning pitcher, had 4 for 4. Young had 4 for 4. Home run: Kemp 1.
April 1 — Kubs 19 with 26 hits, Kids 10 with ten hits. Five inning game. Yesberger, winning pitcher and had 4 for 4. Home runs Mitchell 2. Yesberger was married Friday.
April 4 — Final game of the season — Kids 20 with 26 hits, Kubs 19 with 22 hits. Home run: Harris 1, who was the winning pitcher- Before the game, all the players as-sembled in the center of the diamond and sang America and then sang Auld Lang Syne.
Early times from the 1930’s through the 1950’s, Hard Times, WW II, the Korean War
America suffered ten years of hard times during the Depression in the 1930s, which did not end until the country started the “Arsenal of Democracy in 1940 after France fell to Germany at the beginning of World War II. Meanwhile, in this pre-TV era, the Kids and Kubs attracted thousands to Waterfront Park, with as many as 3000 to 5000 people attending. During this time were enacted the Social Security Act, the GI Bill of Rights, the Full Employment Act, and the discovery of Fiscal & Monetary Policy to regulate the cycles of Boom, Bust, and Depression…all those changed America forever.
The Kids and Kubs were considered one of St. Petersburg’s greatest tourist attractions. Attractions included the Million Dollar Pier, the Green Benches, spring training for the New York Yankees, Sunken Gardens, and Webb’s City, touted as the world’s most unusual drug store where one of the K & K players worked for 30 years.
The City Council and the Chamber of Commerce enthusiastically sponsored the Kids and Kubs and the Yankees each spring. Mayor Al Lang and Connie Mack, baseball’s a great manager and owner, were big boosters of the senior softball club and Major League Baseball. Many big-league baseball stars had their pictures taken with the Kids and Kubs players. They often umpired many games. Babe Ruth, Casey Stengel, and later Don Zimmer became honorary members of the Club. And during this time, St. Petersburg tripled its population to over 80,000 permanent residents.
Annual Awards Banquet in 1935
These historical notes would not be complete without noting some outstanding members of the Kids and Kubs of past years. Some were excellent players, and others were great managers or administrators. Some were active at very advanced ages.
Charles Eldridge was 100 when he became president, and he held the job for five years.
George Bakewell, the Kids, and Kubs public relations man, and participated in games until he died at 107.
William Judd was 91 when he joined the original Club in 1931.
Paul Good was a great player and was president for 13 years. He was active with the Club when he was 98.
At one time, the four Rylee brothers all played on the Club. Pat played until 2007 while in his mid-90’s.
Present-day (2017) members in their 90’s are Cliff Zalay, Irv Abelson, Hal Fisher, Maynard Saugstad, Andy Devine, Bob Warsaw, Don Osborn, Pete Murphy, Clarence Faucett, and Winchell Smith.
The Kids are standing in back in blue caps; the Kubs are kneeling in front in red caps. There was no color photography at the time,
The trees and caps in this black and white photo were tinted and made into postcards, one of which is in the Club office.
There have been some exceptional players and hitters right from the start of play in 1931. For many years an annual spring banquet was held in April at the Princess Martha Hotel to honor and award the trophies for home run king and batting champion. The banquet tradition has continued to the present, though now around Christmas time and including spouses. The following players earned one or both of the trophies in the early years:
Ed Forrester – 6 years; Jack Wertz – 5 years; Ed Stauffer – 5 years; George Yesberger – 4 years; Frank Peckinpaugh – 4 years.
The all-time batting champion is Ed Stauffer, with a .833 batting average.
Sometime in the early 1990s, the Kids and Kubs quit keeping batting averages, and with the senior slow-pitch style of play, errors and fielder’s choices do not count against the batting average. That relieved a lot of intra-club tension on the field of play.
St. Petersburg High School, founded in 1898, is a secondary school located in St. Petersburg, Florida. The school’s current building, a historic landmark, was built in 1926 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. The school was billed as the nation’s first million-dollar high school. The school previously occupied several other historic locations around St. Petersburg, including at Mirror Lake, from 1919 to 1926. T Pictured here is a view of the high school when the Kids and Kubs started playing in 1930.
Newsman Tom Brokaw named the Americans who fought in World War II “The Greatest Generation.” Several members of the Kids and Kubs are of that generation, and many participated in the fighting. Cliff Zalay lost an eye at the Battle of the Bulge, Joe Coro was a prisoner of war for years, Hal Fisher was shot down and rescued after days at sea, and Andy Devine was torpedoed twice in the Pacific. Other members have participated in later wars and survived to become active players with the Kids and Kubs.
Since the presidency of Paul Good, five men have directed the activities of the Club. They are Harvey Musser, Maynard Saugstad, Winchell Smith, Andy Devine, and current President, John Wilkinson. Wilkinson assisted by Will Michaels, Vice President; Dave Glauner, Treasurer; Ed Asay, Secretary; and Directors Mitch Kanaan, Ed Broomes, and Jerry Wollman.
Once again, both The St. Petersburg Times and the Evening Independent were very stingy with space for the Kids and Kubs. Shuffleboard and Roque were the main local sports attractions for the tourists.
The St Petersburg Independent mentioned the Kids and Kubs 11 times during the entire season and even then nothing more than the score. Yesberger still seems to be setting the pace as he did last year. December 12, 1933, he hit three home runs. On December 26, Yesberger had six hits in 6 times at-bat. Feb¬ruary 3, 1934, he was 5 for 5 with one home run. March 3 Yesberger pitched, winning 20 to 15. He struck out the side in the 4th inning. Even without any publicity from the papers, the Feb¬ruary game drew 2000 fans, and the March 17 game drew 4000. Those were the days long before television!
December 12, 1932, Kids and Kubs to start practice. No more about the Club mentioned in the local press until January 10, 1933.
January 10 thru April 25 — Twenty-five games played; Kids won 21 and Kubs 4. It was the custom in the first few years, at least, that once a team line up was determined, that team remained a unit throughout the year. The records show the same line-up played as a unit year after year. Replacements were made only to fill a vacancy.
Once a captain of a team, that man remained in place on long term bases. The box scores show that George Yesberger earned the nickname of “Babe.”
Babe Ruth was at times the base umpire and well-known to all the Kids and Kubs.
Appearing as a ballplayer, Yes¬berger had 108 hits in 133 times at-bat. At the plate, he averaged .812. Included in his hits were 30 home runs, 25 triples, and 22 doubles. He played in 21 of the 25 games, and at that time, all games were for five innings only.
The scores were often in double figures — highest Kids 54 and Kubs 25.
Yesberger played left field, first base, pitcher, catcher. He was the winning pitcher with ten wins. Dr. Emory was the leader with an 11-2 record. Dr. Emory was captain of the Kids, and Charles Eldridge at 102 was captain of the Kubs and took his turn in the coaching box.
During the 1930s, Shuffleboard and Roque were the front page attractions in the local papers. In November of 1932, there were 500 members of various shuffleboard teams. A daily box-score appeared in the newspapers giving the num¬ber of members in town at the time as compared to that date one year ago.
December 6, 1932: Headlines stated that Eddie Clark, the world champion Roque player, would spend the winter in St. Petersburg.
In checking over the microfilms of both the St. Peters¬burg Times and the Evening Independent, we find no mention whatever in the Times. The Evening Indepen¬dent contains the following three items:
February 3, 1932, first mention of the Kids and Kubs — Kids 19 and Kubs 11 with no box score.
March 3, 1932, Kids and Kubs located a temporary play¬ing field at First Street and Fifth Avenue South. A crowd of 1500 were in attendance for the last game.
April 18, 1932, Kids and Kubs to resume play due to public interest.
We have little in the way of records for this season, which was the beginning of the Three-Quarter Century Softball Club, first known as the “Sandspur League.” It was also known as the Three-Quarter Century Softball Diamond Club, but throughout its early years, it was most frequently known as the Three-Quarter Century Softball Club.
Mrs. Rittenhouse deserves credit for the catchy Kids and Kubs label. While it is true, we have little in the way of any written records for this period, at the Club office and the St Petersburg Museum of History, an outstanding collection of pictures of various groups taken during this period is available. Mrs. Rittenhouse supposedly used the letter “K” often in her organizational endeavors.
THE START — 1931
There were nineteen prospects for the teams that turned out on that memorial day in early 1931. After a little practice, they walked to the city ball and had their pictures taken. From that group of nineteen, only five turned out for workouts the following November. They were Archie Taylor, W. C. Gray, C. D. Whitman, and Dr. M. H. Emory (retired) from Havana, Cuba. He helped Evelyn Rittenhouse organize the Three-Quarter Century Club and was the first manager in 1931-1935.
The fifth person was Chas. W. Eldridge, born June 29, 1831, who at the age of 100, became the first president. He held this office until 1937. At the age of 107, he was still on the ball field playing softball.
The records show that the following men, all in white shirts and trousers, gathered together in the latter part of December 1931, at the ball field all set to play a game of softball. History was in the making.
Archie Taylor, 79 — Massachusetts
W. C. Gray, 79 — New York
C. D. Whirmore. 79 — Vermont
M. H. Emory, 77 — Cuba
C. W. Eldridge, 100 — St. Petersburg
L. H. Rumage, 75 — Ohio
Archie Dunham, umpire
F. A. Place. 75 — New York
E. H. Wright, 79 — New Jersey
C. H. Young, 77 — Massachusetts
Ernest Naramore, 77 — Massachusetts
J. E. Ogden, 85 — Ohio
H. S. Jennings, 85 — New York
G. J. Yesberger, 75 — Ohio
Chas. H. Wells, 82 — New York
C. L. Higgins, 81 — Canada
J. E. Winnings, 84 — Alabama
George Hastings, 77 — Mass.
H. H. Whitney, Coach — NY
G. M. Brown, 79 — Ohio
William Judd, 91 — Mass.
C. E. Countryman, 80 — NY
This website is an extension of the Club’s brochure, which is published annually and which pictures each member with a short biography. A copy of each of the brochures of past years located in the club office at the Sunshine Center at 330-5th St. NE., St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Also, there is on the office computer a spreadsheet database containing the names and other information of all who have ever been Kids and Kubs members, staff, or assistants.