Kharacters in the Kitty

By Larry Edmundson

In 1936 the Fulton Eagles hired colorful Norman Arthur "Kid" Elberfield to manage the Kitty League team. Known for his aggressive play, short temper, and explosive demeanor toward umpires, "Kid" was short for The Tabasco Kid". A former major leaguer who played his first big league game in 1898, Kid was lured from his Chattanooga, Tennessee home by the promise of a salary plus a commission on any players he developed that could be sold at the end of the season. A veteran manager and teacher, Kid owned a baseball school in Atlanta and had sold a number of contracts to major league organizations.

Elberfield was born in 1875 and played first for the Phillies and Reds off and on from 1898-1900. His first full season in the majors was 1901 with the Detroit when he hit .310 as the Tigers shortstop. The Tigers traded him to the New York Highlanders (Yankees) at the end of 1903 while he was hitting .341 after being suspended for abusing an umpire. He was the regular Yankee shortstop from 1903-1909, serving as the manager in 1908. He played for the Washington Senators in 1910-11 and with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1914. In total his major league career spanned 1293 games.

In 1936 he played in a game for Fulton. He was 61 years old and at that time the oldest man to ever participate in a professional baseball game. The event made baseball news nationwide. Although the Fulton team was 35-28 in the first half of the season, finishing fourth, and 28-30 while finishing fifth in the second half, Kid managed the All-Star team to a 8-2 victory over first half champ Paducah. He returned to Fulton in June 1939 as a co-manager finishing 55-75 and seventh place. Kid Elberfield died in 1944.