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Harland Coffman in Independence, Kansas - Page

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This photograph of Topekan Harland Coffman was taken in Independence, Kansas, in 1948. That summer, Coffman was a right-handed pitcher with the Independence Yankees, a Class D minor league club in the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri (KOM) League. Coffman's record in 1948 was 18-5, with an earned run average of 1.94. His ERA was the best among all KOM League pitchers that year, and he was a league co-leader in number of wins, sharing the honor with two other pitchers. Coffman pitched for several minor league teams between 1948 and 1953. In addition to Independence, he also pitched for teams in Joplin, Columbus (GA), Omaha, Houston, Rochester, Columbus (OH), and Austin. In the 158 minor league games for which his statistics are available, he achieved an overall record of 62-46, with an ERA of 3.19. In 1952, Coffman participated in the St. Louis Cardinals' spring training camp, but did not make the team roster in the regular season. His professional playing days ended when he suffered an arm injury and opted not to have surgery recommended by doctors to extend his baseball career. After his minor league career, Coffman played several years with the semi-pro Topeka Decker Oilers. In the late 1940s and 1950s, the Decker Oilers were a perennial contender for the state semi-pro baseball title, competing each year in the state tournament held in Wichita. Harland's father 'Pooch' (also known as Al or Vern) was the long-time manager of the Decker Oilers. Other family members who played with the team were Harland's brother Burton, and his uncles Ed and Junior Coffman. Harland was a lifelong resident of Topeka, and worked 34 years for the Topeka Capital Journal. He died in 2010 at the age of 81. Digital reproduction of the photograph was accomplished through a joint project sponsored by the Kansas Historical Society and the Shawnee County Baseball Hall of Fame.

Date: 1948

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Item Number: 309381
Call Number: 2015-065
KSHS Identifier: DaRT ID: 309381

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