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This page: The Cheyenne Indians Baseball Team.

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About This Site

Cowboy Race, 1903, Ferguson Street (now Carey), looking north from 16th. Photo by J. E. Stimson.

Note the banner across the street announcing a ballgame. On the right is the side of the Idelman Building. On the left is Harry P. Hynds' saloon. H. P. Hynds arrived in Cheyenne in 1882 and worked as a blacksmith. Soon he established his saloon, followed by gambling establishments in Laramie, Rawlins, Rock Springs and Salt Lake City. In Salt Lake City, Hynds found his wife, Maude, with another man. Tried for the homicide of Mrs. Hynds' paramour, Hynds' was found not guilty. The Plains Hotel, constructed in 1911 by F. E. Warren and Thomas A. Cosgriff, was operated by Hynds under lease. The Hynds Building, in downtown Cheyenne, was constructed on the site of the old Inter-Ocean Hotel, discussed on a previous page. When Hynds died in 1933, he had amassed a fortune of over $1,000,000 (in 1933 dollars).

The ball team noted in the banner would most probably have been the Cheyenne Indians who were, for the most part of their existence, a semi-pro independent team. For a three year period, 1910-1912 they were a fully professional team and were regarded as "invincible." Baseball in Cheyenne dated to the founding of the City. The editor of the Cheyenne Leader complained in the July 28, 1868, edition that the "national frenzy on baseball is reviving this summer and the comitant quantity of broken fingers, disjoined noses and banged up eyes may be expected." By the following year, the Cheyenne Eclipe was playing baseball against teams from Ft. D. A. Russell and playing the Denver White Stockings.

Cheyenne Indians, 1910, Photo by J. Shimitz.

The Cheyenne Indians date to at least 1900 when the team was part of the Union Pacific Industrial League. The team won the League's pennant for 1900, 1901, and 1902, playing in Boulevard Park. During the 1903 season the Union Pacific League withdrew to just teams in Nebraska. The Indians went into a hiatus until 1908 when Ed Gerrans made an effort to revive the team. Gerrans served as the manager until 1909 when the team was finally revived.


Cheyenne Indians, 1910,
Left to right: Ira Bidwell, manager, Flebert, p; Hendrix, p.: Haffter, 1st; Gault, r.f.; Rust, p.; Thralkill, 3rd; McCarthy, c.f.; Whelan, Captain and 3rd; Hartnett, 2nd; Galena, l.r.; Gibson, catcher. Photo by J. Shimitz.

The Indians' manager (1910-1912) was Ira Bidwell who had an ownership interest in the team and the Rocky Mountain League. The pitcher for the 1910 team was Claude Raymond Hendrix (1889-1944). Hendrix' record for 1910 was 17-4 with 208 strikeouts and allowing 117 hits. The following year, 1911, Hendrix went into the majors, pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1914, Hendrix joined the Chicago Whales of the Federal League. For discussion of the Federal League see Greybull. After the demise of the Federal League, Hendrix joined the Chicago Cubs. The Cheyenne Indians joined the short-lived Rocky Mountain League in 1910 and won the league pennant for 1910 and 1911. The Rocky Mountain League It had teams in Canon City, Colorado Springs, Dawson, N.M., La Junta, Pueblo, Raton, and Trinidad. During the 1910 season, ten of the twelve members of the team were from Kansas City. The team won 87 games and lost only 14. During pre-season play, the Indians played teams from Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska,

Cheyenne Indians, 1911.

In the above photos, southpaw Harry "Rusty" Rustenhaven later went to the majors with the New York Giants and then managed a minor league team in Sedalia, Missour Johnnie Galena later was employed in a pool hall in Rock River. George Cockran played for the Boston Red Sox for part of the 1918 season, but kept the bench warm during the 1918 World Series. He died in Los Angeles in 1960 where he was working as a grocery clerk. Jimmy Whelan later played for Minneapolis and for the St. Louis Browns. Later he bcame the forman of a machine shop in Dayton, Ohio. Paul Turgoin became the proprietor of a movie theatre in Green River. George Zabel played several seasons with teams in National and Pacific Coast leagues. Later was employed by the Fairbanks Seale company in Chicago. A minor-league team in Battle Creek Michigan bought Gibson's contract and ordered him in mid-season to report to Battle Creek or be "blacklisted" for five years. He last played profession ball in 1913 and was later employed in government vocational work. Joe McCarthy later played ball for Graybull. Phil Gault became a lithographer in Chicago. Ned Hartnett became an accountant in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

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Left, Polly Haffter, 1910; Right, George Cockran, und.

Polly Haffter played 1st base. He played through the September 19, 1910 game against the Denver Hoffbraus which the Inidans won 5-0. He returned to Illinois where he was employed as a weighmaster for a coal company. Of Haffter the State Leader, June 29, 1910, wrote:

Polly Haffter, the Indians first sacker, whse work on the initial corner compares with that of any of the Western League first basemen. Haffter is one of the best inside ball plaers on the local team and when it comes to working the squeeze play, is an absolutely sure man at the bat. He is not a heavy hitter, but lines them out just beyond the reach of the infielders. Haffter is the best place hitter on the team. Those who have seen Fred Tenny, the former New York first sacker in action, are struck by the similarity in the playing of haffter.

The Rocky Mountain League abruptly folded in mid season on July 5, 1912. Following the demise of the League, the Indians completed the season playing teams from Fort D.A. Russell and from Nebraska.

Cheyenne Indians, 1922.

By 1921, Ed Gerrans breathed life back into the team which played "salaried" teams in Sidney, Scottsbluff, Denver, and Loveland. In 1922, the fortunes of independent teams revived with the demise of the industrial Midwest League. In that year in the Denver Tournament, the Indians placed second. In 1941, the team joined the Western League formed out of the remnants of the Nebraska State League.

Music this page courtesy of Horse Creek Cowboy, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

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