July 25, 2017

Kansas City Bermudas Baseball Team

Back: Gene George, Larry "Dino" Maddox, Don Heriford, (future Judge) Jack Gant,
Paul Bandy, Bill George.
Front: Bob Cupito, Al Gauert, Algon George, Howard George, Joe "Jo Jo" Farris
In the early 1950s a group of guys calling themselves the "Kansas City Bermudas," wearing pink Bermuda shorts and sporting a variety of unusual headgear, would drive out to small towns in outlying areas looking for teams to play baseball with. They figured that the "hay haulers" in these country towns would see the pink shorts and consider them to be "sissies" from the city and easy prey on the ball field. The country teams would soon learn this would never be the case.

The undefeated “Barnstorming Bermudas” were made up of seasoned athletes. Paul Bandy was a star basketball player at East High School, and Don Heriford at Northeast.

After being awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Korea, Bill George was captain of the football team at Central Missouri State University. He spent six years playing baseball in the Minor Leagues, and would later be inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame for the decades he spent officiating collegiate sporting events.

Gene George would go on to play semi-pro football for the Kansas City Jiggers, winning a national championship against the Portland, Maine Seahawks, and would spend 20 years as a coach at Northeast Junior High School.

After serving in the Marine Corps in Guam guarding Japanese prisoners accused of war crimes, Jack Gant played shortstop for the UMKC Kangaroos while studying law. Always interested in politics, he served as Assistant Prosecutor and State Senator before being appointed Judge in the 16th Circuit. Sports continued to play a big role in his life all the while, coaching and pioneering youth sports programs in our area. The Jack Gant Award is presented every year to the best overall student-athlete at UMKC.

For the Kansas City Bermudas, it was all about fun, games, and a lot of laughs. For Al George, who served as the team's bat boy, it meant a lot more than that. "It was one of the greatest honors of my childhood. Those guys were my heroes and my idols."

1 comment:

Mrs. Rary Harris said...

Hope to see these types of stories in every edition. There are so many unique characters and big personalities in our own backyards. Thanks for the glance back and the smiles. Beautifully written article.