Union City began preparations for the 1948 season prior to the league winter meeting. Cecil Moss was again selected to serve as president. He had held the same position for several years before WWII. Other officers were Buzz Tanner, vice president, John Howard , business manager, and Randal Burcham, secretary/treasurer. Other directors were Harold Fuller and Edwin Stone. The team also renewed their working relationship with the Cleveland Indians for another year.
President Shelby Peace announced the league had sold the contract of umpire Angelo Guglielmo to the double A Southern Association. This was the first time in the modern history of the league a contract on an umpire was sold to bring a cash price. Guglielmo came to the Kitty League with a minimum of experience gained on the sandlots. Following the stint in the Southern Association he eventually umpired in the major leagues for a number of years.
It was fortunate the Fulton team was in a good financial state. In January, 1948, the club was fined $1000 and K.P. Dalton an additional $500 for violation of the minor league bonus rule. The fine was levied by George Trautman of the American Association of Professional Baseball Leagues. Bill Propst, a former Fulton player was sold to Greenville, Mississippi in September, 1947. There was an oral agreement that if his contract was sold, Propst "would be treated right". He evidently received a portion of the selling price. Trautman said it violated two rules: one requiring full disclosure of all contracts, and the requirement to designate players receiving a bonus.
President Moss and group were busy by January looking for a field manager for the Greyhounds. They had also sold three contracts to higher classed leagues. Don Ostermuller, a pitcher, was sent to Spartenburg, SC a class B team, Jerry Majercek and Jimmy Ladd were sold to Burlington, IA, a class C team. Majercek was subsequently moved to Spartensburg and later released by them about midway through the season. Arrangements were underway to have three teams hold spring training in Union City in addition to the Greyhounds. Those mentioned were Burlington, Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Marion, Illinois.
By the end of January the team officials had signed Tony Rensa to manage the team. Rensa was a former major leaguer. He played for Detroit in 1930, the Philadelphia Phillies (then known as Blue Jays) in '31 and '32, the Yankees in '33, and the White Sox from '37 to '39. He played on the 1933 Yankee team as a backup catcher to the great Bill Dickey hitting .314 in 60 games. Most recently he had managed the Pittsfield MA class C team for the two previous years. Although he was 46 years old he was still an active catcher and had caught 108 games for Pittsfield in 1947.
During the mid-winter meeting in Mayfield the league representatives voted to have a 126 game season starting May 4. They agreed to raise salary limits to $2600 per month, and increase the player limit from 15 to 17. Mr. I. N. Hurst of Paducah attended the meeting and announced that city's intent to start building a new $50,000 ballpark. He said Paducah was anxious to get back into the league. Cairo representatives meanwhile said the rumors of their imminent fold-up was false. They said they were not interested in getting out of the league and there was little interest in expanding to ten teams.
Fred Briggs signed again to manage the Fulton club. They reached agreement with the Chattanooga Lookouts to lend support to the team. This caused many to wonder what nickname the team would have. Since entering the league the Fulton team had been called the Railroaders, Eagles, Tigers, Chicks, and now the Lookouts?
The league office was busy signing umpires for the upcoming season and by the end of February had completed the job. Umpires signed included Elvis Hall of McHenry, KY, back from the class B Southwestern League. Others signed were "Deacon" Delmore, a former Hopkinsville pitcher in '36/'37; Homer Oldham, Spottsville, KY; Clyde Rouse, Covington, KY; B. F. Johnson, Evansville; W. R. Rogers, Burlington, NC; Bob Bochmaker, and Clarence Hornback returning from class C ball.
In March final plans were announced for the four teams taking spring training in the Union City area. All players were to be quartered in the barracks at Tom Stewart Airfield and fed at training tables set up in the Union City and Obion County Country Club located adjacent to the airfield. The Country Club was formed in 1947 and featured a nine hole golf course, swimming pool and stables for its 250 family membership. Two of the teams were to work out at Turner Field and a diamond was to be established at the airfield to accommodate the other two. A total of 150 players were expected for the month of April. Emil Bossard the Cleveland Indians chief grounds keeper came to town to oversee the preparations of both fields. Ellis Parks had recently been rehired as Union City's grounds keeper, and now had new equipment featuring a power mower, a tarp for the infield, a batting cage, and the team had new home uniforms. So far 27 players had been signed by Union City and they knew only 17 could be kept on the team, so competition was stiff.
Four Philadelphia Phillie minor league teams held spring training in Dyersburg that same year. Terre Haute, Indiana; Appleton, Wisconsin; Ealena, Kansas; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were there for a month. with 140 players. Dyersburg was rumored to be thinking about installing lights at Burnham Field so they could pursue a professional team of their own.
The managers chosen by each team for the 1948 season were Rex Car, Owensboro; Vito Tamulis, Hopkinsville; George Mathouser, Madisonville; Hod Lisenbee, Clarksville; Hugh Holiday, Cairo; Fred Briggs, Fulton; Mike Sertich, Mayfield; and Tony Rensa, Union City. The field managers changed often and they were truly held accountable for the successful or unsuccessful play of their charges. It was not uncommon to see managers move from team to team within the various minor leagues, nor to see them pull favorite players with them. It was said that no one made a successful career in organized baseball without a sponsor in a position of power.
While practically every other team in the Kitty League traveled to the away contests via a private bus, many with the team name, nickname and logo emblazed on the sides, the Greyhounds did not. They generally traveled by private automobiles. At first they were autos owned by either players or club directors, and reimbursed for mileage, ware and tear. In 1948 the team tried a different concept. The club bought three new automobiles in the name of the Union City Greyhound Baseball Association. The team would travel throughout the season in the cars, then after the last away game one of the cars would be given away to a fan by way of a public drawing on the last night of the season. The other two cars would be auctioned to the highest bidder.
The makeup of the Greyhounds on opening day 1948 included Bud Pfeiffer, 1b; Corky Bellers, 2b; John Kustich, 3b; Ken Paulus, ss; Bud Hutson, lf; Ralph Brawner, cf; Jack Riedel, rf; Les Filkins, c; Don Petchow, Van Rutherford and Vic Petkus, infielders. The pitching staff boasted Charlie Simpson, Leroy "Bobo" Fisher, Gil Wick, Jim Murphy, Clarence "Dutch" Neuman, Ray Schlessman, Steve Zokany, Herm Wollitz, and Joe Linn. Many of these same players would be around at the end of the season. Some would not.
The club directors had hoped for a turnout of 3000 fans for the opener against Fulton. The weather did not cooperate however and a smaller crowd of 1250 saw the Greyhounds win the first game. Les Filkins drove one 424 feet to the right centerfield wall to score Bud Pfeiffer, and secure a 1-0 victory. Dutch Neuman pitched the full nine innings. The next night the teams moved to Fulton for the opener there. The Greyhounds were victorious again behind the pitching of Bobo Fisher and the hitting of Bud Hutson and Ralph Brawner, who both homered.
The Greyhounds started fast and in the first five games had 64 base hits. Hutson was 15 for 25 with 3 homeruns. On Sunday May 16, Corky Bellers set a record when he went 7 for 7, with two singles, three doubles, a triple, and a homerun, also hitting for the circuit. By the end of May the Union City club was in third place with a record of 13-11. Owensboro was leading at 19-7. Fulton started 8-15 and manager Briggs was replaced by Bud Burns. He would not make it through the season.
Hod Lisenbee, manager of the Clarksville club, was also half owner. During the season he bought the remaining half of the team, but it continued to have problems both at the gate and on the field. Lisenbee, who's given name was Horace, was a native of Clarksville having been born in 1898. As a rookie in 1927 he was 18-9 with the Washington Senators and had a league leading four shutouts. He beat the New York Yankee's "murder's row" five times that year and gave up Babe Ruth's 58th home run on his way to 60. Although he played for a number of years, 1927 was his best. His career record was 37 wins and 58 loses with an earned run average of 4.81. He pitched 969 innings of major league ball with the Senators, Red Sox, Philadelphia A's and the Cincinnati Reds. He retired in 1942, but came back with Syracuse of the International League in 1944 and pitched a no-hitter at age 45. He joined the Reds for 31 games of relief work in 1945. He continued to pitch for the Clarksville team until he was 50. Hod fooled many a young batter in the Kitty with a unique windup style. He would windmill both the pitching hand and the gloved hand, often in opposite directions. He would then move into the pitch and follow through, catching the batter unaware, flatfooted, and off balance. While he was still pitching this move was declared illegal and constituting a balk. Lisenbee continued to live in Clarksville until his death in 1987.
As the '48 season moved on John Kastich, a three year player for Union City, was released in June. Ralph Brawner was given a release for reassignment to Iola, Kansas. Reporting in was Chris Kristufek, a college student from Central Illinois. By the end of June Hopkinsville had taken over first place with a record of 37-17, followed closely by Owensboro at 35-22, and Union City with 34-22. Eulas "Bud" Hutson from Morehead, Missouri, was hitting .389, had 62 RBI's and 10 homeruns.
The mid-season All-Star game was played in Hopkinsville in front of 2600 fans. Participants included All-Star manager Tony Rensa, outfielders Bud Hudson and Jack Reidel from Union City. Others were Paul Box, 1b, Owensboro; Carl Ashford, 2b, Fulton; Joe Stopa, 3b, Owensboro; Harold Bollenger, ss, Mayfield; Joe Riolo, outfield, Mayfield; Les Severin, outfield, Cairo; Ted Debois, c, Fulton; Fred Wasulik, c, Madison; Bill Elliot, utility, Clarksville; and pitchers Marvin Held, Mayfield, Bill Mahike, Owensboro, and Don Schmudlach, Madisonville. The All-Stars had a team batting average of .306. The umpires were Elvis Hall, Clarence Hornback, Larry Goetz and Deacon Delmore. The Stars won by a 9-3 score and Bud Hutson hit another homer.
Earlier in the season Mayfield struggling in last place, had changed managers and named Ken Jungels to the job. Now in July they ask Fulton to release Pete Peterson so he could take the job. Fulton complied and Peterson, one of the most popular players ever to play in Fulton, became the new manager of the Mayfield Clothiers at age 29. He had been a Fulton player since 1940 and most of the league fans thought of him as the "old man". He had come to Fulton from the west coast and like many other Kitty League players, found a local wife, and stayed to raise a family. He continued to make his home in Fulton. Fulton meanwhile had picked up another player who would become a popular guy among the fans of both Union City and Fulton in third baseman Curt Engelbright. Fulton also changed managers again picking Ivan Kuester.
Bernie Olinger was released by the Madisonville team as having "no potential to succeed". Union City quickly signed him. The Greyhounds had also picked up outfielder Bob Samaras. During the month of August the Union City team moved into second place and while they distanced themselves from third place Owensboro, they could not catch the front running Hopkinsville Hoppers. One big reason they could not catch the Hoppers was their manager Vito Tamulis. Tamulis was a former pitcher with the New York Yankees, St. Louis Browns, and Brooklyn Dodgers. He pitched in the majors for seven years winning 40 and losing 28, while appearing in 170 games. He was 37 years old and overweight, but he could throw the baseball. The left hander beat the Greyhounds five times on his way to a 15-1 record. On September 2, the Greyhounds opened a three game series in Hopkinsville only four games out of first. The Hoppers were victorious in the first game though and clinched the pennant. The final standings were
Union City 79-46
During the '48 season Union City set a record by completing 120 double plays. Bud Hutson had 129 RBI's for another record, and for the first time in eleven years Union City finished high enough to compete in the playoffs. Union City beat Owensboro three games to two in a hard fought series down to the last game when the Greyhounds won 19-2. Meanwhile Madisonville beat Hopkinsville three games to two setting up a Greyhound-Miners final. Union City beat Madisonville four straight games with the last one pitched by Bernie Olinger, the guy Madisonville had released for showing no potential for success. He finished with a 13-4 record for the 1948 Kitty League Champion Union City Greyhounds.