A Slice Of Texas
My grandfather (1899-2000) loved to talk to me. While I don’t really remember him being a big baseball fan, he apparently was “back in the day” because I can still quote stats, etc. from players of whom most of you have never heard…of course, this is not surprising since he was 101 before he decided to leave this old world.
Come to think of it, I actually know more than the stats of these once upon a time baseball greats. I can even tell you who the “south paws” were! With all of Granddad’s teachings on the sport, it stands to reason that he told me about Tex Carleton…over and over and over!! However, as was so often the case, Gramps left out the most important part of the story, the part that should have been the header on the story!
When you live more than a century, you forget that most people haven’t any idea who the people you chat about actually are. The following is what I’ve always known about Tex Carleton.
Tex attended TCU. Granddad remembered to tell me this part of the story when my brother David left Comanche, headed toward the football field of TCU. Of course, David only played one sport. Tex played football, basketball, AND baseball. In fact, it was at TCU that he became known for his side-arm pitch, making a name for himself as a pitcher.
After only two years at TCU, Tex left college to play semipro baseball. From there, he moved into the minor league. From 1932-1940, Tex pitched in the major league, winning more than one world series as well as pitching a no-hitter for the Dodgers in his final year as a player.
All of this I’ve known since the days of my youth. Today, Blake Munroe sent me a surprising link, a link that provided the rest of Tex’s story and as was so often the case when my grandfather was alive, I want to say, “And you didn’t bother to tell me this, why??”
The surprising twist to this baseball story is that Tex Carleton was born James Otto Carleton on August 19, 1906, in Comanche County and, of course, my grandfather knew him and his family well.
Otto Carleton died on January 11, 1977. He is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Comanche, Texas, and I actually remember that Granddad attended the funeral. The name Otto is a name I remembered for some reason. What I did not know was that Otto was Tex or that Tex was Otto because Granddad referred to him as Tex when we talked baseball. When Tex left baseball, I suppose he became Otto again, at least in Granddad’s mind.
And I also suppose that I am as much to blame for this misunderstanding as Gramps is. I assume he thought that any fool would recognize the name Carleton as a Comanche County name since we all knew the families that carried that name!
If you have an interest in baseball history or Comanche County history, I hope you will do your own research on Tex. There is quite a lot to be found. Our thanks goes out to Blake for yet another piece of hometown history.