Kid Elberfeld - 1940 - 1943 Minden LA Baseball Camp

Norman Arthur "Kid" Elberfeld

Memories and Photographs from Minden, LA

by Ben Hunter (tbooth@minden-coca-cola.com)

P.O. Box 893 / Minden, LA 71058

The friendship of Norman "Kid" Elberfeld and Larry Hunter left a legacy in Minden, Louisiana. In 1938 Larry Hunter became a dedicated baseball fan. A regulation baseball field was built. Teams were organized for ages 12-18. Out of the older boys, Carter Norman, showed talent enough for Larry Hunter to enroll him in the Elberfeld Baseball School that he read about in The Sporting News. Grady Jeter was enrolled in an umpire school at the same time. They went to Florida and Larry Hunter went fishing as planned. He returned later to check on the result of his gamble. Before they left to return home, Larry Hunter had shared his pre-arranged fishing trip with Babe Ruth (see picture), Cater Norman posed with Babe Ruth (see picture) and Larry Hunter and Kid Elberfeld had made a deal to come to Minden the summer of 1940. He came in 1940, 1941, and 1943.

I was nine (9) years old, too small and not old enough to be on a team. Being Larry Hunter's son, I did some of the training sessions that were of his design. Kid was always encouraging the players, but if they did not perform as instructed, they were "ROCK" heads. The first year was so successful that he signed up to return in 1941.

By then, everyone was comfortable with him. Kid Elberfeld told the Ty Cobb Story as often as requested. By the end of the second summer the players knew baseball strategy very well. They received and gave signals, knew where to throw the ball, etc.

World War II got in the way of 1942 and he did not come. When did return in 1943 all of his baseball knowledge that was left with us was paying off with a very good American Legion team. They scheduled the Little Rock Doughboys. An article in the Little Rock paper showed the Kid and his team and titled it "The Kid Returns." He had managed the Little Rock Travelers in the early 20's. Kid Elberfeld provided the baseball seed, Larry Hunter the support and both made it grow.

At the end of his last summer, Elberfeld had become a real hero to me and a couple of hundred would-be baseball stars. He wrote on a baseball "YOUR FRIEND" KID ELBERFELD. The ink has faded, but I still have the baseball. People still ask about him today.

He was a man that was so competitive he was called "The Tabasco Kid." To do what he did here in Minden, Louisiana and just be called "Kid," he must have this final chapter recorded with all the "Ty Cobb" stories.

KID ELBERFELD and LARRY HUNTER

"That year, 1940, was the year I learned how to play real baseball, the year that Norman 'Kid' Elberfeld came into my life. He was known as the "Tabasco Kid," and Mr. Hunter had brought him in to coach us. He was smart and tough and the best baseball teacher I ever knew. I still have my batting trophy." -- Jack Crisler

ELBERFELD'S BASEBALL FIELD, 1940

"My understanding is that Mr. Larry built his ballpark in the late thirties, a regulation park with a fence. That was one of the great things he did for the town of Minden." -- Jimmy Rogers "We were all amazed to hear that he had paid the bulldozer operator the tremendous sum of thirty dollars a day! Once the field was laid out, he had two player houses built in center field some three hundred feet from the spectator stands. A huge Coca-Cola sign was placed behind the two buildings." -- John W. "Johnny" Davis

KID ELBERFELD

"Mr. Hunter had brought in some former big league players to coach us. The first one was Norman Kid' Elberfeld. He usually called me 'Rock' or 'Hardhead'." -- D.L. (Babe) Stewart

ELBERFELD'S JUNIORS, 1941

"You couldn't find any uniforms back then, and this old guy, a scout for the Dodgers, came through Minden checking out the talent. He somehow raked up a bunch of old Giants uniforms for us to wear. I wound up with one that a big pitcher named Fat Freddy Fish Simmons [sic] had worn." -- Gene Rogers

ELBERFELD'S JUNIOR CHAMPS, 1940

"I had one of those old uniforms one time. It was about five sizes too large, but I was thrilled out of my mind. Mine had Ducky Medwick's name on it, and he happened to be one of my favorite players." -- Gene Hamner

BABE RUTH

"The highlight of my youth came in 1940 when Mr. Hunter took Grady Jeter and me to Palatka, Florida to attend a baseball school. The chief instructors were Bill Burgess, who was a shortstop for the New York Giants, and the great Babe Ruth. A picture of me with the Babe hangs in my office today." -- Carter Norman

BABE RUTH and LARRY HUNTER, 1940

"Mr. Larry would make a trip to Florida every spring to see the major league teams train and watch their exhibition games. He would be gone several weeks and set his schedule so that he could see every team in Florida play at least one game. Whenever he could, he arranged to take fishing trips with some of the major league players, such as Babe Ruth and others." -- Gene Rogers

LETTER FROM KID ELBERFELD

"The 'Kid' used to love telling about when he played major league ball, and how his teammates sharpened their cleats, making their shoes weapons for sliding into home plate. After he quit coaching, he always sent Papa a crate of Golden Delicious apples every year." -- Nan Hunter Castle

LETTER FROM KID ELBERFELD (DETAIL)

"Kid Elberfeld had played for the New York Knickerbockers in the majors, and they played rough in those days. He still had scars on his legs to prove it. He knew great players like Ty Cobb, and he told us all sorts of stories about them. During baseball season he lived at the little playhouse, and being invited there after a game and listening to his stories was one of the greatest thrills any of us experienced." -- Steve Cole

Baseball Team Photos from "Memories of Hunters"







Kid Elberfeld - 1940 - 1943 Minden LA Baseball Camp