Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ole’s Outlook May 3, 1956

By Lyle Olson

Journal Sports Editor

These are the days of the tape-measure home runs.

Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees is the lad who plays 500 feet or not count, but they hauled out the measuring tape at the University of Southern California the other day and found that first baseman Kent Hadley of Pocatello had belted one 470 feet.

They don’t ordinarily go for that sort of thing at USC, but there were unusual circumstances surrounding this clout. Hadley’s blow, you see, had traveled virtually out of sight over the right field fence and came to earth upon an adjacent field where football players were engaged in spring practice.

Hadley’s mighty swat, his third home run of the game, struck one bewildered gridder squarely between the seasons.

Two men were on base at the time with the score tied 6-6 in the ninth inning. Fresno State was the losing aggregation.

Hadley, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Hadley of Pocatello, has been victimizing other hurlers in the conference in much the same fashion. The bullseye shot that hit the football player was his 18th of the season in the southern division of the Pacific Coast Conference.

The former record for homers in one season was 15, set in 1951 by Rudy Regalado, now of the Cleveland Indians. USC was to play three games over this weekend with five more contests left during the regular season.

With the coming of June, Kent will take leave of USC in anthropology and a yen for the big leagues.

The scouts have been aware of his potential with the bat since his playing days at Pocatello High School. But, the bidding is getting to a fever pitch as the six-three, 200-pound youngster nears availability.

The scouts are expressly forbidden to snoop around college campuses, but the elder Hadleys have played host to representatives of a host of major league teams in the past.

“The final decision will be up to Kent, of course,” says his dad, who draws a modest stipend as Chief of Detectives on the police force. “But, he’s always talked things over with his mother and I and we hope that we can help him to choose.”

Latest scout to talk with the elder Hadleys was Bobby Mattick of Cincinnati, who once guided the fortunes of the Ogden Reds in the Pioneer League. He didn’t even blink at the mention of a $40,000 bonus.

And that might not be enough to get Hadley when the actual bidding starts.

But, Mattick stressed one important point. Kent may well be the regular first baseman for the Redlegs and in a hurry. Ted Kluszewski’s ailing back doesn’t figure to get much better, the Redlegs feel, and they are caught with a deficiency of outstanding first basemen in their farm system.

All players who sign for a bonus of more than $4,000 are required to stay on the parent club’s roster for at least two seasons. But, that’s no assurance they’ll play, as witness the current inactivity of Harmon Killibrew. The Payette, Idaho flash was hired by the Washington Senators two seasons ago for a bonus believed to be $65,000 and hasn’t earned his meal money as yet.

On orders from Gabe Paul, the Redlegs have offered to foot the bill for the entire Hadley family for two weeks in Cincinnati to get a good look at the younger member.

That’s a nice gesture. But, there’s still 15 other teams to be heard from, and the line will start forming in about a month.

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