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KU basketball

 
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roger.pape
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Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 413
Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2022 1:02 pm    Post subject: KU basketball Reply with quote

The following email was sent to various Kappelman relatives------

Now that Kansas University has won the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship tournament (Boo! for those of you familiar with the bitter KU/MU rivalry), the following story must be revealed. We had a cousin who played basketball for the KU Jayhawkers. This is documented in the attached photo that was sent by Chris K. and forwarded by Mary Beth Krueger. It is an historic photo because of the people in it. The man on the left is the legendary longtime basketball coach at KU , Phogg Allen. He is considered by many to be the all-time dean of college basketball coaches. The man in the center is Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball in Springfield, MA. He moved to Kansas where he formed the KU basketball program and was its first coach. The person on the right is our cousin, Francis Eugene (“Frank”) Kappelman. He was the starting guard all three of his varsity years. (Note. Freshmen were not eligible to play varsity sports in those days. I remember Wilt Chamberlain playing on the KU freshman team when I was at MU.) In Frank’s 1936 senior year Kansas had a great record. You can find a good summary of that season at https://www.hoopszone.net/Kansas/Kansas/Season/1936.htm They won all their regular season games (18-0), but faltered in the post –season Olympic tryouts. They were 3-2 losing the last two games in a three game final to Utah State. Frank started 21 games that season but apparently did not play in those last two games.

Frank was a great all around athlete, he was also a star on the Kansas baseball team. Upon graduation he decided to play professional baseball since pro basketball was not as organized as it is today. In the summer of 1936 he signed a contract as a catcher with the Detroit Tigers. They immediately assigned him to a minor league team, the Alexandria, (LA) Aces. His baseball career was somewhat lackluster as can be seen from the listing below of the teams for which he played.



Year Level Lg Team GP HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA TB DP HBP SH SF IBB
1936 D EVAN Alexandria Aces 41 4 .250 51
1937 C ETXL Texarkana Liners 112 9 .246 149
1938 A1 TL Shreveport Sports 24 0 .167 9
1938 C ETXL Texarkana Liners 111 15 .256 181
1939 D NESL Salina Millers 110 4 .258 126
1940 D NESL Salina Millers 128 6 .242 152
1941 C CALL (+) Santa Barbara Saints 124 1 .268 152
1941 C CALL (+) San Bernardino Stars 124 1 .268 152
1946 B TRIS5 Spartanburg Spartans

(Note. By searching on the web with his name and the word baseball, you are able to find several websites listing his complete stats for his entire baseball career.) He continued playing until WW2 for a number of various franchises, including the Dodgers and Giants minor league teams in California. He was probably one of those players often referred to in baseball trades as “plus a minor league player to be named later.” At the outbreak of the war he enlisted in the Army Air Corp “for the duration” (plus 6 months). Upon his discharge in 1946 he decided to return to baseball, signing as a player/manager with the St. Louis Browns. They assigned him to the Spartanburg (SC) Spartans where he closed out his career as a manager of the team.

So what is our connection ? Frank was the son of Otto Kappelmann, who in turn was the tenth child of our great-grandparents , Johann Henirich Kappelmann and Anna Marie Catherine Kappelmann. Otto was born in Concordia in 1883 and baptized Christian Louis Otto. As a single young man Otto moved to Westphalia, Kansas where he became a produce merchant. There he married Erma Bouse and they had five children, Francis, LaVerne Katherine, Lester, Glen and Karl. Otto was the brother of our grandmother, Marie Kappelmann Frerking and Aunt Rose K. So Frank was the first cousin of our grandmothers and Bud K. Therefore, Frank is our first cousin once removed. By the way, Peggy Harris who provided much of the information about her Uncle Frank was the daughter of LaVerne Katherine Kappelman Harris and our second cousin.
Roger



Francis (Frank) Kappelman.jpg
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From the cover of a KU basketball program.
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Francis (Frank) Kappelman.jpg



FRANK K.png
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from the KU basketball achives
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FRANK K.png


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roger.pape
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 413
Location: Liverpool, NY

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2022 8:24 am    Post subject: Missed opportunity Reply with quote

Since KU lost its last two games in the Olympic tryouts, Frank Kappelman missed an opportunity to participate in the 1936 Olympic Games and march in front of Adolph Hitler in Berlin during the opening ceremonies. None of the Kansas basketball players participated in those games. There appears to have been some ill-feeling between the chairman of the US Olympic Committee, Averill Brundage, and the KU basketball staff, Coach Allen and Dr. Naismith. In those days, many of the college graduates played with amateur teams sponsored by corporations and staffed by their employees. Some of you may remember the Phillips 66ers from Bartlesville, OK. The players were considered amateurs and eligible for the Olympics.

Hitler did not witness any of the events. After Jesse Owens' 4 gold medal performance, the Fuhrer's hopes of demonstrating German superiority were dashed and he did not acknowledge any of the rest of the games. Although the US played some demonstration basketball games during the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, basketball did not become an official Olympic event until 1936. The Germans did not appear to be that familiar with basketball. The games were played outdoors on a gravel and dirt, or clay and sand surface, depending on various accountings. The court had no stands. Spectators stood around the court during the entire game. The US team breezed through the competition with the other countries. However, the final game was played in a downpour. The US slipped and sloshed to a 19-8 victory over Canada for the gold medal. Hitler was probably laughing in his boots after that final game.
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