Sioux City Cowboys

From BR Bullpen

The Sioux City Cowboys began play in 1934 Western League as part of a circuit-wide reorganization. The Cowboys were part of a three-way first-half tie with the Des Moines Demons and St. Joseph Saints (36-23). They were 38-27 in the second half, ahead of Des Moines and St. Joseph but only good for third place. In the playoffs, St. Joseph beat them 3 games to 1. Max Thomas (17-8) was fourth in the WL with 155 strikeouts and tied for second in wins. He joined 2B Hugh Luby (.312, second in the WL with 35 steals) on the All-Star team. Sioux City led the league in attendance (87,196), drawing almost 40,000 more than the next team, Davenport. Vern Johnson led the league with 24 homers and hit .340 and was followed in the home run race by Hugh Willingham (19). William "Hack" Wilson hit .260 with 13 homers and 88 RBI.

Wilson became player-manager in 1935 and guided the team to a 4th place, 54-52, finish. At the plate, he hit .265 with 11 HR and 62 RBI. They then stunned first-place Davenport with a three-game sweep in the playoffs before losing in the finals to the Saints in a match that went the full seven games. 3B Willingham led the league with 20 homers and tied for third with 74 RBI. Luby (.297) stole 24 bases, third-most in the cicuit. Kinner Graf tied for second in the Western League with 18 victories (he lost 9).

Dave Bancroft became the manager in 1936 and Graf (16-10, 3.37) tied for fifth in the circuit in wins. The Cowboys were second (35-30) in the first half and fifth of six teams in the second half (26-34). John Lotz (9-6, 3.06) was fifth in the league in ERA. The only All-Star was Luby, who hit .319 (third in the league), stole 40 bases (the most) and banged out 155 hits (the most). Phil Seghi (.301) was among the leaders in homers (14, third-most), RBI (104, the most), hits (153, 2nd) and 224 total bases (fifth).

First baseman Pete Monahan took the managerial reigns for the 1937 campaign and the club went 31-30 in the first half before sinking to last in the latter half (19-33). The All-Star representative was RF Ed Hall, who was among the leaders with a .333 average (second, four points behind Joe Mack), 12 homers (tied for 4th), 27 steals (4th), 141 hits (second) and 221 total bases (4th). Monahan hit .295 and was fifth in the league with 79 walks.

When the Western League collapsed, Sioux City moved to the Nebraska State League in 1938. They finished second in the first half (32-27) and won the second half (38-20-1). In the championship, they lost to the Norfolk Elks 4 games to 2. All-stars were Monahan, RF John Schinski and P Reuben Fischer. Schinski (.350/~.433/.509) led the league in doubles (31) and tied for second in average. Monahan (.346/~.476/.578) was 5th in average, second in OBP and slugging, scored 103 runs, stole 15 bases, was third with 101 RBI and led the NSL in both walks (96) and home runs (19). Harry Wolfe (16-8, 2.37) was second in ERA and Fischer (21-6, 2.49) led in wins and strikeouts (242).

In 1939, the NSL was renamed the Western League. The Cowboys, now a Detroit Tigers affiliate, finished third at 63-52 then beat the Elks 3 games to 2 in the playoffs and the Lincoln Links 4 games to 2 in the finals. The only All-Star was Monahan (.340, 15 HR, 106 RBI) who was replaced in mid-season as manager by Jimmy Zinn. Monahan was second in homers and tied for second in RBI.

In 1940, the team was renamed the Sioux City Soos.

Sources: Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database, 1939 Spalding Guide, The Western League by Patrick Stewart and W.C. Madden

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1934 74-50 1st Dutch Zwilling Lost in 1st round
1935 54-52 4th William "Hack" Wilson Lost League Finals
1936 61-64 5th Marty Berghammer / Dave Bancroft none
1937 50-63 5th Dutch Lorbeer / Pete Monahan none
1938 70-47 1st Pete Monahan Lost League Finals
1939 63-52 3rd Pete Monahan / Jimmy Zinn League Champs