St. Cloud Rox
From BR Bullpen
- Location: St. Cloud, MN
- League: Northern League 1946-1971
- Affiliation: New York Giants 1946-1957; San Francisco Giants 1958-1959; Chicago Cubs 1960-1964; Minnesota Twins 1965-1971
Charlie Fox was the manager for several years during this time. I was a pitcher on this team in 1954, and won 12 games. Willie Kirkland was an outfielder on this team and went on to a major league career, and also played baseball in Japan. Willie was a fine hitter and hit well over .300 in 1954 and had many extra-base hits. He was a lefthanded hitter with great power at the plate. He used to hit high towering homeruns in St. Cloud. He also was a fast runner and was a good defensive outfielder with a strong arm. Willie was an African-American athlete. There was an African-American pitcher on our team that year named Reggie Lee. He was a rather skinny athlete, but threw with fine velocity and good movement on his fastball. I believe he was a military veteran, also. He was a lefthanded pitcher as I recollect, but I could be wrong about this. Another pitcher on this team was John Fitzgerald, a hard throwing lefthander, who also later pitched briefly in the major leagues for the San Francisco Giants. John was a tall blond pitcher from Brooklyn, New York, about 20 years old. Other players on the team were Kenny Harris, Dick Barnhart, Jack Wigley, Robert Meyer, John Spreen, Al Lange, Jesse Rogers, Gene Soderstein, Dick Messner, George Smith, Paul Messich (sp?), Ronnie Mahrt, Andy Mascia, Jack Cohen, Art Lettieri, Doug McDermid. George Reid was an outfielder on this team. He was a tall, strong, wiry athlete from Alabama, who had a strong throwing arm. He may have tried pitching at one time. He was a free-swinger as a hitter, and could hit with good power, although I'm not sure he hit for a good average.
My guess is that the average salary was about $250 to $275 per month, and we received about $3 per day meal money when on a road trip. We players roomed in private homes around St. Cloud, renting a sleeping room for about $8 to $10 per week, if I remember correctly. We ate many of our meals at a local restaurant and bar called "Fritzi Frank's." For entertainment after games or rain-outs, we often went to a beer bar on the outskirts of town nicknamed "the Bloody Bucket." It was also a favorite hangout of the local college students from St. Cloud State University. Other teams in the league that 1954 season were Superior (Wis), Duluth (Minn), Grand Forks, Fargo, and Aberdeen from the Dakotas, Winnepeg (Canada), and possibly Eau Claire, Wis. A future major leaguer, Mudcat Grant, pitched for Fargo, I believe. Frank Gravino also played for Fargo and led the league in homeruns, hitting more than 50.
The 1955 St. Cloud Rox continued as a farm team of the New York Giants, and I believe won the league play-offs and ultimate championship. Future major leaguers on this team were Leon Wagner, Andre Rodgers (position players) and pitcher Frank Funk.
Another pitcher was John Zarcone. He may have pitched a no-hitter for the Rox. Frank Szekola was an infielder (I think). These two players probably continued their pro careers in the Giants farm system.
Submitted by Bill O'Donnell, pitcher, St. Cloud Rox, 1954
 Year-by-Year Record
|1946||73-31||1st||Walter Kopp||League Champs|
|1948||78-40||2nd||Charlie Fox||Lost in 1st round|
|1949||65-59||3rd||Charlie Fox||Lost in 1st round|
|1950||72-51||1st||Charlie Fox||Lost in 1st round|
|1951||64-55||2nd||Harold Kollar||Lost in 1st round|
|1953||66-59||3rd||Charlie Fox||Lost in 1st round|
|1954||76-54||2nd||Charlie Fox||Lost in 1st round|
|1955||78-47||2nd||Charlie Fox||League Champs|
|1958||72-50||1st||Richard Klaus||Lost League Finals|
|1961||73-54||3rd||Joe Macko||Lost League Finals|
|1963||51-69||6th||Walt Dixon||4th 16-14*|
|1964||54-68||5th||Walt Dixon||4th 15-18*|
|1965||73-23||1st||Jim Rantz||none League Champs|
|1966||49-18||1st||Ken Staples||none League Champs|
|1967||44-26||1st||Ken Staples||none League Champs|
|1968||43-27||1st||Carroll Hardy||none League Champs|
|1971||42-28||1st||Ken Staples||none League Champs|
* Baukol Playoffs based on last 30 days of the season