Minor League Baseball is known for its rich history dating back more than years. While much has been written about the best teams and top players who have graced the Minors, there remain many stories either untold or largely forgotten. Each week, MiLB.
Send an and let us know. Rote didn't play in the Polo Grounds, either.
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He carved out his place in sporting history among the NFL's elite during a time that is largely considered to be one of baseball's golden ages. He was one of the building blocks of the NFL, helping turn the league into the powerhouse it has become. Few people know, though, that Rote actually was an accomplished baseball player, having made a big splash in the Class B Gulf Coast League upon graduating from Southern Methodist University in So when Corpus Christi owner George Schepps offered Rote, who ran track and played baseball in college, a contract in the spring of '51, many thought he was only capitalizing on the popularity of one of Texas' favorite sons.
The Gulf Coast League, which was in its first year of existence, lasted only three seasons. But Rote quickly proved he was more than just a publicity stunt, becoming one of the league's most popular players.
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He spent seven weeks there, tearing up the circuit while leading many to believe he had missed his true calling. There is some dispute, however, as to how many games he actually played for the Corpus Christi Aces. The one thing the two sources agree on is that he had 23 hits, seven of which were homers.
The encyclopedia doesn't list what he batted, though Torres has Rote going for Torres credits him with 17 RBIs, while the Encyclopedia gives him Then there was the May 22 game against Harlingen in which he had a homer, triple and two singles before leaving in the sixth inning after getting hit by a pitch.
The next day, he announced he was leaving the Aces to get ready for football.
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Whether getting hit by the pitch expedited his departure -- NFL training camp didn't start until July -- isn't clear. But it was obvious that he left a mark in the GCL, where Corpus Christi was atop the standings with a record. Torres quoted Schepps in his book about Rote's departure.
It is my opinion that he has a bright future as a prospect in baseball," Schepps said. Torres, a Texas baseball historian, concurred. He was considered a top baseball prospect coming out of high school. They grudgingly permitted it, but apparently kept hounding him to give it up for fear of injury.
As it turned out, Rote played very well in the Gulf Coast League and did so against some excellent ballplayers. He became the original founder of the NFL Players Association, was the Giants' captain for 10 years and was named as the receiver when New York honored its all-time team in He died in at the age of His name remains legendary in NFL circles, though, and in the minds of many baseball fans in a little corner of Texas.
Rote also made his mark on the diamond.
Kyle Rote still ranks 14th on SMU's career list with 2, rushing yards. Southern Methodist University.
By Kevin Czerwinski. April 19, Facebook Share.
Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for MiLB. : History.