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Joe Bauman

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Joe Willis Bauman, Sr.

BR Minors page

[edit] Biographical Information

Joe Bauman was one of baseball's forgotten warriors. A big first baseman, he played primarily in the low minor leagues; he appeared in the Northeast Arkansas League, the Southern Association, the West Texas-New Mexico League, the American Association, the Eastern League, the Longhorn League, and the Southwestern League. He is best remembered for his time with Roswell.

Bauman debuted in pro ball with Newport in the Northeast Arkansas League. He hit only three home runs in 59 games with Newport. He also went 0-10 when he was called up to Little Rock in the Southern Association. During the winter, World War II began. Bauman played semi-pro ball in '42 and was in the service for 1943 to 1945.

Upon his return, Bauman settled in with Amarillo in the West Texas-New Mexico League. He led the circuit with 48 home runs. He also had 159 rbi and a .301 batting average.

The next season his home run totals went down but his production went up. He hit just 38 homers but he hit .350 and drew 151 walks. He was then signed by the Boston Braves.

Bauman played 1948 in the Braves organization, going 0 for 1 in AAA and posting fair stats in AA (.275, 55 BB, 10 HR in 276 AB) while splitting time with Ray Sanders. It was Bauman's only time outside of the high minors and left it inconclusive whether he could have played in the majors or not. He did not enjoy his time and left organized ball again in 1949 for another three years.

At 30, Bauman knew he was through with the major leagues but he still wanted to play. He joined up with the Longhorn League for 1952. He signed with Artesia. In 1952, his triple crown stats were .375-50-157, good to lead the league in homers, rbi and walks (148). The next year, he led the league in walks (130), runs (135), and home runs (53), while maintaining a high average. After the season, he moved to Roswell.

In 1954, Bauman broke out, if you can break out from a 53 home run season. With Roswell, he won the triple crown and led the league in runs and walks. His totals were eye-popping. In 138 games, he had 199 hits in 498 at bats for a .400 average. He hit 35 doubles, 3 triples, and 72 home runs, a record that stood for pro ball until Barry Bonds topped it in 2001. He also drove in 228 runs and walked 150 times.

Bauman couldn't duplicate his 1954 season in 1955. He only hit 46 home runs and batted .336. The following season, he played just 52 games and hit 17 homers. He was retiring at 34.

The career ledger for Joe Bauman reads 1019 games, 982 runs, 1166 hits, 337 home runs, 1057 rbi, 974 walks, and a .337 batting average. He was a true legend on a small stage. The Joe Bauman Home Run Award is named in his honor.

After his career, he retired to run a service station in Roswell which he had been operating during the last years of his playing career.

Source: Baseball's Forgotten Heroes by Tony Salin

[edit] Further Reading

  • Tony Salin: Baseball's Forgotten Heroes, Masters Press, Chicago, IL, 1999, pp. 105-120.

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