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  #1  
Old 09-18-2019, 12:45 PM
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Default The Strange Death of Len Koenecke

I just came across this article about Len Koenecke.

After being sent home from a road trip, Koenecke caught a commercial flight for New York City. During the flight, he drank a quart of whiskey and became very drunk. After Koenecke had harassed other passengers and struck a stewardess, the pilot had to sit on him to restrain him as he was shackled to his seat. He was removed unconscious from the flight in Detroit. After sleeping on a chair in the airport, he chartered a flight to Toronto in the hopes of rejoining the Bisons. While flying over Canada, he had a disagreement with the pilot and a passenger, and attempted to take control of the aircraft.

In order to avoid a crash, Koenecke was hit over the head with a fire extinguisher by both the pilot, who had left his controls, and the other passenger. After an emergency landing at Long Branch Racetrack in Toronto, it was found that Koenecke had died of a cerebral hemorrhage. The two men were charged with manslaughter but were found not liable by a coroner's jury soon after.

If he didn't die so young, he might have had a decent career.


There appears to be only 1 card of him. It was the 1932 NY Giants Schedule Postcard
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:17 PM
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Wow, what an interesting/sad story. Thanks for posting.
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:18 PM
Den*nis O*Brien Den*nis O*Brien is offline
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Default A Couple More Cards

According to Dr. James Beckett's Alphabetical Checklist #5 len Koenecke is shown on the 1934 Exhibit and 1990 Target card #415. I believe that Casey Stengel referred to him as a very strange man or something to that effect. This is a very interesting story. Thanks to the OP for bringing it up !!
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:19 PM
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excellent post. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:22 PM
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What a maniac!
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:18 PM
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Sounds like this was the B.A. Baracus of baseball players

Last edited by A2000; 09-18-2019 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:31 PM
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I wrote a story about Len Koenecke a few years ago that was going to be included in my book "The League of Outsider Baseball," but he got cut in the end. You can see the illustration and read the story on my website HERE if you're interested.

Koenecke's story is mentioned in a lot of places, but I put a lot of research into my piece, to the point of getting a few Canadian French language papers from the time translated for me. I was contacted a few times to create a screenplay for his story, but predictably, nothing ever comes of it. It's still a good, all be it sad and mysterious, story, and I actually had a few of his distant relatives write and thank me for the way I treated him.

Anyway, he's one of the players I was always fascinated with, and I'm glad to see him brought up here on Net54!

koenecke_studiogaryc.com.jpg
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:40 PM
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He isnt the umpire from the 55 set?

Good grief I always thought it was him!
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
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He isnt the umpire from the 55 set?

Good grief I always thought it was him!
Do you mean Lon Warneke?
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerseygary View Post
I wrote a story about Len Koenecke a few years ago that was going to be included in my book "The League of Outsider Baseball," but he got cut in the end. You can see the illustration and read the story on my website HERE if you're interested.

Koenecke's story is mentioned in a lot of places, but I put a lot of research into my piece, to the point of getting a few Canadian French language papers from the time translated for me. I was contacted a few times to create a screenplay for his story, but predictably, nothing ever comes of it. It's still a good, all be it sad and mysterious, story, and I actually had a few of his distant relatives write and thank me for the way I treated him.

Anyway, he's one of the players I was always fascinated with, and I'm glad to see him brought up here on Net54!

Attachment 366388


Gary,

I just read the entire story that you wrote about Koenecke. It was fascinating and an excellent story. It also was a very sad story. You should not give up the idea of pursuing a playwriter. This would make a great baseball movie.

I wonder how Stengel felt after this happened. The guilt must have kept him up at night. I guess we will never really know what happened up in that plane.

I recommend this story to all.
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Old 09-18-2019, 04:08 PM
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Thanks Buythatcard. The more research I did on that story and others that include a pre-Yankees Stengel really deviates from the "ol perfesser" kindly old and wise manager persona he gets credited with.

When he was with the Dodgers and other teams in the 30s he was not at all about helping bring up younger players, just concentrating on veterans who didn't need any work from him. When he won games he took all the credit, and when he lost, like his Dodgers and Bees teams did in the 30s, he blamed select players while trying to win favor with the beat writers by being a clown. Billy Werber wrote about his time playing for him in Toledo and really goes out of his way to discredit him for the way he treated the younger players.

Maybe if Stengel wasn't manager of the Dodgers Koenecke would have lasted a bit longer, but as it was he was already up there in baseball age. Still...
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Old 09-18-2019, 04:11 PM
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Gary that's a great illustration of Len
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Old 09-18-2019, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spec View Post
Do you mean Lon Warneke?
Yes, long day thanks
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Old 09-18-2019, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerseygary View Post
Thanks Buythatcard. The more research I did on that story and others that include a pre-Yankees Stengel really deviates from the "ol perfesser" kindly old and wise manager persona he gets credited with.

When he was with the Dodgers and other teams in the 30s he was not at all about helping bring up younger players, just concentrating on veterans who didn't need any work from him. When he won games he took all the credit, and when he lost, like his Dodgers and Bees teams did in the 30s, he blamed select players while trying to win favor with the beat writers by being a clown. Billy Werber wrote about his time playing for him in Toledo and really goes out of his way to discredit him for the way he treated the younger players.

Maybe if Stengel wasn't manager of the Dodgers Koenecke would have lasted a bit longer, but as it was he was already up there in baseball age. Still...

Gary,
Where can I find the story of the pre-Yankees Stengel. You got me hooked on reading your stories.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerseygary View Post
I wrote a story about Len Koenecke a few years ago that was going to be included in my book "The League of Outsider Baseball," but he got cut in the end. You can see the illustration and read the story on my website HERE if you're interested.



Koenecke's story is mentioned in a lot of places, but I put a lot of research into my piece, to the point of getting a few Canadian French language papers from the time translated for me. I was contacted a few times to create a screenplay for his story, but predictably, nothing ever comes of it. It's still a good, all be it sad and mysterious, story, and I actually had a few of his distant relatives write and thank me for the way I treated him.



Anyway, he's one of the players I was always fascinated with, and I'm glad to see him brought up here on Net54!



Attachment 366388
Wow what a story. Nice job.

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Old 09-22-2019, 08:03 AM
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That is a crazy story. Thanks for sharing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buythatcard View Post
I just came across this article about Len Koenecke.

After being sent home from a road trip, Koenecke caught a commercial flight for New York City. During the flight, he drank a quart of whiskey and became very drunk. After Koenecke had harassed other passengers and struck a stewardess, the pilot had to sit on him to restrain him as he was shackled to his seat. He was removed unconscious from the flight in Detroit. After sleeping on a chair in the airport, he chartered a flight to Toronto in the hopes of rejoining the Bisons. While flying over Canada, he had a disagreement with the pilot and a passenger, and attempted to take control of the aircraft.

In order to avoid a crash, Koenecke was hit over the head with a fire extinguisher by both the pilot, who had left his controls, and the other passenger. After an emergency landing at Long Branch Racetrack in Toronto, it was found that Koenecke had died of a cerebral hemorrhage. The two men were charged with manslaughter but were found not liable by a coroner's jury soon after.

If he didn't die so young, he might have had a decent career.


There appears to be only 1 card of him. It was the 1932 NY Giants Schedule Postcard
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