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DU82
07-23-2007, 06:48 PM
Just a note to mention that with the passing of Rollie Stiles, Bill Werber, born 6/20/1908, is now the oldest living former major league baseball player. Ace Parker is number seven on the list.

I'm sure Werber is the oldest former basketball all-American, but don't have a list handy of all-Americans back that far (anybody with a link?)

Indoor66
07-23-2007, 07:19 PM
Just a note to mention that with the passing of Rollie Stiles, Bill Werber, born 6/20/1908, is now the oldest living former major league baseball player. Ace Parker is number seven on the list.

I'm sure Werber is the oldest former basketball all-American, but don't have a list handy of all-Americans back that far (anybody with a link?)

Thanks for the heads up!

dukemomLA
07-24-2007, 01:54 AM
appreciate the post. Many thanks.

OZZIE4DUKE
07-24-2007, 07:54 AM
Just a note to mention that with the passing of Rollie Stiles, Bill Werber, born 6/20/1908, is now the oldest living former major league baseball player. Ace Parker is number seven on the list.

I'm sure Werber is the oldest former basketball all-American, but don't have a list handy of all-Americans back that far (anybody with a link?)

Very cool. Thanks for the heads up.

Jason, care to get this Duke tidbit out to the national media?

cspan37421
07-24-2007, 08:11 AM
Is there a Duke connection with Bill Werber? Forgive my ignorance of Duke baseball history.

cspan37421
07-24-2007, 08:47 AM
Nevermind - Google is my friend. Interesting stories about him at Baseball Library dot com - such as he once reached second on a walk while Detroit catcher was talking to the umpire! I didn't know that was possible! First player to bat in a televised game, too. Only player to hit 4 consecutive doubles in both leagues. And Duke's first All-American [sic?] baseball player.

Olympic Fan
07-24-2007, 08:53 AM
No need for apology ... we sometimes take this stuff for granted.

Bill Werber was Duke's first basketball All-American -- in 1930. He was a junior when Duke joined the Southern Conference after the 1928 season. He helped the 1929 Duke team reach the SC finals in Atlanta (back when the Southern Conference included most of the teams in the current ACC and SEC conferences). A year later, as a senior, Werber was the star of an 18-2 team that again lost in the SC Tournament finals.

He also played baseball at Duke and was signed by the New York Yankees as a shortstop. He spent less than a season in the minors and reached the Yankees late in the 1930 season. But the Yankees had young shortstop Frankie Crosetti and another young SS prospect named Red Rolfe, so they were crowded at the position. They decided to keep Rolfe and play him at third and they sold Werber to the Red Sox for cash.

It was an unlucky move for Werber, going from the strongest team in baseball to one of the weakest. But it meant he got to start right away and he played most of the 1931 season at short, with 31 games at third. He spent four seasons in Boston (hitting .321 in 1934 and finishing 12th in the MVP vote), gradually becoming a fulltime third baseman.

He was traded to the A's before the 1937 season and played two seasons for that declining franchise.

Even though Werber was a solid player, it looked like he was doomed to spend his career on bad teams. Then, just before the 1939 season, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds and it all came together.

Rob Neyer has written that Werber was the catylist for the sudden emergence of the Reds as a power after a decade of ineptitude. He anchored a wonderful defensive infield known as the Jungle Cats -- Werber, SS Buddy Myers and 2B Lonnie Frey. Werber was the leadoff hitter, hitting .289 with 91 walks and a .388 OBP, as the Reds won the pennant.

Cincinnati lost to the Yankees in four games in the World Series, but a year later the Reds repeated as National League champs and beat the Tigers in the Series, so Werber got his championship ring. His career dropped off badly after 1940 and he finished up with a brint stint with the Giants before going into the service in WWII.

He was not a Hall of Famer, but was a very significant major league player for a decade. He also has a unique status -- he's the first Major League player to ever go to the plate in a televized game. Werber was the leadoff hitter for the visiting Reds when the Cincinnati and New York Giants game was telecast back to the New York World's Fair in the spring of 1940.

Another oddity ... his full name is William Murray Werber -- and he was at Duke at the same time as future head coach William Murray was the team's football star.

Werber just turned 99 years old in June.

duketaylor
07-24-2007, 09:48 AM
I was paired with Mr Werber back in '87 at the Duke Hall-of-Fame golf tourney; he was a great guy to talk to, especially given that my grandfather was one of his teammates on that team that went 18-2 and also beat UK and Adolph Rupp in Lexington (if my granddad's story is accurate). I've heard many a story about that team, just can't remember them all. GO DUKE!!

throatybeard
07-25-2007, 09:56 AM
So is Wooden the second-oldest living AA?

Werber appeared at a Duke-Clemson game, I want to say in about 2003.

Duke12
08-04-2007, 02:49 PM
My son's 13 year old AAU baseball visited with Bill a few months ago at his continuing care retirement center in Charlotte. He had some very cool stories about playing with Ruth, Gehrig and others. He was also the first batter in the first televised night baseball game. Just really neat to have someone who could link 2007 back to the days of Ruth.

devilirium
08-05-2007, 11:25 PM
Werber sounds like a great guy. Regarding Ace Parker, my cousin knows Ace and knew his brother Monk. Safe to say, that Ace Parker was one of the more colorful characters to play at Duke. In my cousin's estimation, Ace was a piece of work. Herb Neubauer could tell you some great stories about Ace.

Olympic Fan
08-06-2007, 02:22 PM
I was paired with Mr Werber back in '87 at the Duke Hall-of-Fame golf tourney; he was a great guy to talk to, especially given that my grandfather was one of his teammates on that team that went 18-2 and also beat UK and Adolph Rupp in Lexington (if my granddad's story is accurate). I've heard many a story about that team, just can't remember them all. GO DUKE!!

The story about beating Kentucky and Rupp is ALMOST accurate.

The 18-2 Duke team from 1930 did beat Kentucky 37-32 ... and that was Rupp's first year at Kentucky.

However, the game was not in Lexington -- it was the semifinals of the Southern Conference Tournament and was played in Atlanta. Duke lost to Alabama in the finals.

Duke's only win in Lexington came in 1980, when Duke beat Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Rupp Arena. Of course, Duke has only played there five times (with just two games in Durham). 12 of the 19 Duke-Kentucky games have been played on neutral courts.

PS -- I found a site that listed the oldest living major league players and it had Ace Parker at No. 7 (Werber, of course, was first).

throatybeard
08-06-2007, 08:12 PM
Dude, Olympic, make with the link.

DU82
08-06-2007, 09:16 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Oldest_Living_MLB_Players