by Frank Hyde
Ted Wyberanec Ends 38 Years Of Varied Sports Activities
"I came from New York City," he went on, "and getting out of that rat race to make my home in a quiet, friendly city like this was a real break. People here don't realize what they have. Some of them should try living in New York."
Eighteen years of officiating came to an end for Wyberanec as he walked off the Jamestown High School court after working the JHS-Bradford game, February 28. Lou Brown, now ill at W.C.A. Hospital, and Milt Lindstrom has been instrumental in introducing him to his first whistle.
The Theodore Roosevelt High School of New York basketball and baseball star signed with the Jamestown Falcons in 1942. The Falcons were, then, independently owned by Harry Bisgeier and managed by Greg Mulleavy, who put the lanky, fluid-motion New Yorker at shortstop. Ted's baseball career was interrupted very quickly, however. By the end of '42, he went into the Navy for a three-year hitch. He returned to the Jamestown club in 1946 and Marv Olson, then managing the Falcons, started him at third and moved him to the mound during the middle of the campaign. He also played second that season, replacing Al Federoff (later to become the Jamestown manager) when a hassle broke out over Federoff's bonus contract with Williamsport of the Eastern League.
Wyberanec remembers his first pitching assignment. He started at Olean, then being managed by his old skipper, Mulleavy. Jamestown won 7-2. Ted became a full-time pitcher in '47 and finished with a 15-5 record. He started '48 with Buffalo of the International League before being shipped to Williamsport. The Eastern League club presumably sold him to Temple, Texas of the Big State League, where he must have set some kind of record, losing five straight games by one run. It later developed that the Williamsport-to-Temple thing was simply an "agreement" and not a sale. Wyberanec wrote the baseball commissioner and obtained his release. He returned to Jamestown but was later lured back to Temple by a $1000 bonus, a lot of hay in those days.
Frank Craswell, the old Jamestown slugger, was playing at Temple when Wyberanec was there. So was Tommy Hurst, also a former Falcon and now a resident of Jamestown. "The Big State was a good money league," Ted recalls. "Why, Carswell got an offer to go to the Philadelphia A's as a pinch hitter and turned it down because he was doing so well financially in Texas." Temple sold Wyberanec to Lamesa, Texas in 1951 where he played most of two seasons before calling it quits and returning to Jamestown to accept a job with Steel Partitions.
The old Steel Partition Bombers were in their heyday, then. Ted played with them, but an interesting and diversified career was to be enhanced further by touring baseball and pro basketball. A strike at Steel Partitions idled Wyberanec about the time he received a call from the House of David baseball team. "We're leaving tomorrow for a tour of Canada if you want to join us," the caller said. Ted joined and played part of the Canadia and Eastern swing before his wife, the former Virginia Bemus, called to say the strike was over. The House of David club was leaving for the west coast. Ted turned the trip down but sent a replacement, Chuck Irving, who still resides in Jamestown.
Touring with the House of David was an experience the Jamestown man will never forget. "We played the Harlem Globetrotters (yes, there was a baseball team by that name) almost every game," Ted remembers. "Satchel Paige was with the Globetrotters. I played against him numerous times. He was a superman out there on the hill." Satch was appearing in each game for a few innings only. Ted started against the Trotters in one game at Ottawa and had it won until Satch came to work the last three innings. Other names familiar to Jamestown fans were involved in a doubleheader at Buffalo between the Davids and the Trotters. Lyle Parkhurst, another current Jamestown resident and a former Falcon pitcher, worked the mound for the Davids in one game and Ken Fremming in the second. The Trotters won both but Parkhurst "had them eating out of his hand for seven innings." Wyberanec said. Fremming pitched for Jamestown in 1947, clinching the PONY League pennant for the Falcons that season with a no-hitter at Wellsville.
Satchel Paige was never exactly the most dependable man when it came to showing up for games. One night at Peterboro, Ontario, the House Of David and the Globetrotters were battling each other. Satch was supposed to pitch the last three innings. Came the seventh and no Satch. "About that time, the Peterboro police showed up, marched to our dugout, I'll never know why, and asked for Satch," Ted relates. Naturally there was no Paige in the Davids' dugout, but one cop blurted out, "If he doesn't show in a few minutes, both teams are going to jail!" Satch, however, showed up and pitched the last two innings.
Wyberanec, one of the two pitchers to ever win three games in the PONY League playoffs (the NY-P League no longer has playoffs), got in his licks as a pro basketballer with Utica in the old New York State League. Utica played the great New York Renaissance when the club was enroute to Chicago, where it won the World Tournament. The New Yorkers won the first game from Utica, but, homeward bound as world champs, lost to Utica 66-60. Wyberanec saw action in those games and against such teams as the Chicago Gears, who boasted two all-time greats, George Mikan and Bobby McDermott. Utica also played the Rochester Royals several times as well as the basketball Harlem Globetrotters.
Every athlete has his "biggest day." Wyberanec's came as a hitting pitcher, also against Olean. Jamestown clobbered Olean 20-4 in that one and Wyberanec had five hits in five trips including two doubles and three singles.
The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.