"Such a library as ours would not only contain books and current periodicals,
but there would be...articles of historic, scientific, and artistic interest."
~ Frank C. Patten, Head Librarian of Rosenberg Library, 1904 - 1934
The Library accepted its first museum piece shortly after it opened in 1904. Since then, thousands of rare and interesting objects from around the world have been added to the collection. Displayed in these pages are the Library's "Treasures of the Month."
June 2013 "Treasure of the Month"
It is not difficult to imagine James “Jim” Kelley, a boy about six or seven years old, at that station cheering on the likes of Billy Webb, Wally Moses and Orville Jorgens. Earlier that season he went to a team event, perhaps a practice or scrimmage, at his school and got most of the squad to sign his Louisville Slugger. From there young Jim resisted the urge to use the bat and kept it in good condition.
This incredibly rare piece of Galveston sporting history was acquired by the Rosenberg Library in 2012 and features 18 signatures including: Major League greats Wally Moses (who in 1937 was one of the first baseball players to grace a Wheaties cereal box), renowned fielding pitcher Harry Gumbert (who was on the 1942 St. Louis Cardinals squad that won the World Series), all-star Beau Bell and other major leaguers. Made of white ash, the wooden bat was produced by the Louisville Slugger company in Louisville, Kentucky and has James Kelley’s name “Jim Kelly” branded on it. The autographed bat was on display as the June 2013 Treasure of the Month.
Under Moody’s ownership the franchise flourished. He started fresh by creating an edgy new logo with a Jolly Rogers style skull on the left breast of the team jersey, coupled with bombastic orange and black checkered caps and orange and white striped socks. The uniforms made quite an impression on a Beaumont reporter who ridiculed, “Evidently the Buccaneer moguls picked ‘em in the dark, or else got ‘em with soap coupons.” After three years the skull was replaced by a more modest ‘G’ inside of a circle. Moody, along with booster clubs like the Knotholers, helped build a large fan base of youngsters by giving free admission to boys under the age of fifteen. He also formed a stock company called the Galveston Baseball Association and raised over $100,000 for a stadium that the Galveston Daily News called “one of the finest in the south, even though [it was] constructed in record time.” Moody also brought in a young manager named Billy Webb from Chicago, gave him a great deal of control over the roster and actively pursued quality players with generous contracts and shrewd trades.
1931 Galveston Daily News photograph of the newly built Moody Stadium.
1934 was the first time a team from Galveston had won a pennant since 1899. With the Texas League title under their belt, the Bucs set their eyes on the New Orleans Pelicans and the coveted Dixie Series Title. However, the Pelicans proved to be more than the Bucs could handle. They won the series in six games with a 5-4 victory at their stadium in New Orleans on October 2, 1934. This loss ended the Bucs’ season, but 1934 still proved to be a high water mark for professional baseball in Galveston. The next year, Webb left and the Bucs never won another pennant. Shearn Moody died in 1936, and the subsequent owner moved the team to Shreveport, Louisiana.
The Treasure of the Month is located on the library’s historic second floor near the East Entrance. It can be viewed during regular library hours, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, please contact the Museum Office at 409-763-8854 x 125.