Lon Warneke - from Pitcher to Umpire to Judge.
Lonnie Warneke
1909 -1976

Lon always knew he wanted to play baseball. He came from rural Montgomery County, Arkansas and made it as an ace pitcher. "I was just happy to play, one game, any day"
Lonnie Warneke 1909 -1976
 Pro Baseball Player  
Cubs & Cardinals

A pitching ace with a "sizzling-fast and darting form of delivery" for fifteen seasons reached his peak during the Great Depression and made little more than $5,000/year.

Country Boy
Lonnie grew up in rural Montgomery County, Arkansas, six miles south of Mount Ida in the Owley Community attending school at the one room weatherboard building just down the road from the family farm. Marion Covington the teacher would take the lads behind the school near the pines to catch and throw.  This church/school building still stands across the road from the Owley Cemetery and is only used for funeral services today. Lonnie born March 28, 1909 was the son of Luke and Belle Scott Warneke. Luke enjoyed hunting and his son Lon always a keen sportsman. During the off season Lon would enjoy going home and go off into the woods to hunt. He always spent his winters in Montgomery Co. AR. Once when he came back to Mount Ida people gathered on the street for him to show his pitching and took  pictures.

Luke Warneke homesteaded 160 acres in the Owley Community October 8, 1901 Sec 9 2S 25W. He was appointed the Montgomery County road overseer from 1907 -1913 and major improvements were seen under his direction including the purchaser of the first graders drawn by teams of eight mules. He resumed farming in Owley Community. Lon loved his mother and would prefer to help her in the kitchen then work outside on the farm. Once he took her on a trip to the big city, Houston, TX. In the 1950s the family moved into Hot Springs. Lon was a good musician, could play the guitar and fiddle and and was a square dance caller.  He even played for a band in St Louis, the Mudcat band. Lon chewed tobacco. 

1920 Montgomery Co. census

Hazel Twp Scott Twp 1920
Luke W. 47
Belle      46
John       18
Kate       15
Arch       13
Lonnie   11
Albert      6
Lewis     21
Pearle    19 
Lois         1

Pearl N. Jones was married to Lon's brother Louie Warren Warneke.

Lonnie's father Louis (Luke) married twice. 1st: L.W. Warneke, 19, to Della Martin, age 17, 6 Aug, 1891 Montgomery Co. marriage Book B page 472. 
2nd: Louis W. Warneke 28, Mt. Ida, AR to Miss Martha Belle Scott 27, Mt. Ida. Filed 5th Sept 1900. Recorded 18th Sept 1900. Page 609. Bell was the daughter of Samuel Frank and Mary E. Meridieth Scott. Samuel's parents were William T. and Eliza Leonard Scott.

Lonnie married Charlyne Shannon, a 1930 graduate from the CVA in Norman. They had a son and daughter. 5/20/95 One of President Clinton's high school teachers was honored Friday during a White House reception for working women. Lonnie Warneke Luebben taught Clinton in her 11th-grade honors English class at Hot Springs High School. Lonnie is the daughter of Lonnie the baseball pitcher.

School Days
Owley School pupils 1923. He is the tall boy, back-row, to the left of the other tall boy. End of third row to the right is Archie and fourth in is Albert Warneke. On the second row fifth in from the right is Lois Warneke.

Lon Warneke played baseball with a team in Montgomery County before making it big and his teammates were local lads including Andrew Baker and Evervet L. Sims.  In those days Saturday afternoons in the small towns baseball sandlots provided entertainment. Mt Ida, Bear, Joplin, Buckville, Cedar Glades and Washita had teams. Lon attended high school in Mount Ida and during his first year he was not picked for the team as the teacher /coach didn't think he was good enough. In 1926 for the Mt Ida team he played first base. During the 1927 season  he pitched. 

Try Outs
Lonnie went to Houston were his brother was working and Lon held a job for a downtown telegraph company until at age eighteen he paid his own way to a tryout camp in Louisiana and told them he wanted to be a first baseman. 
"The Arkansas Hummingbird" Record
Born: Mt Ida, AR  March 28 1909
Bats: Right Pitchers: Right
Height: 6' 1" Weight: 180lbs
193 career wins and 121 defeats.
Pitched 31 shutouts.
Appeared in 154 games without an error.
Lifetime win percentage of .613 
5x National League All Star
Won 20 or more games three times.
ERA - career 3.18. 'earned run average' is a run for which the pitcher is held accountable. Stats. Stats
A spectacular pitcher and popular player!
Pitched for the Cubs from 1930 to1936.
Pitched for the Cardinals from 1937 to 1942
Returned to the Cubs from 1943 to 1947

1928  Age 19. Won 6-lost 4. Cotton States League at Laurel, MS  
1929 16-10 Alexandria, MS. Cobs buy Warneke for $100.
1930 Spring trail for the Chicago Cubs- 9-12 Reading, PA for International League
1930 Reached the National League Cubs
1931 2- 4 
1932 Age 22. Won 22 and lost six for the Cubs, with 2.37 ERA. Cubs won the pennant but lost, to the Yankees in the World Series 4-0.
1933 Played in the first major league All Star Game in Chicago as a side light to the Worlds' Fair. Warneke relieved Bill Halahm in the third inning after Babe Ruth had hit a two-run homer, making the score 3-0 in favor of the Americans, Warneke allowed six hits and one run in the next four innings, striking out Ruth and Lou Gehrig in the process. In the sixth, Warneke sliced a liner that got by the aging Ruth for a triple, setting up the National League's two run inning. The final score was 4-2. ERA .54
1934 Opening day in Cincinnati with Lon Warneke of the Cubs no-hits the Reds for 8 innings. Score 6-0 with one hit in the ninth.
1935 20-13 for the season. World Series with the Detroit Tigers winning 4-2. Pitched the first game and beat the Tigers 3 to 0. Had eight assists. The Cubs lost the next three games but Warneke came back in and while he was pitching on the sixth inning he felt something give in his right shoulder and was ordered to the bench. Gave five and defeated the Tigers 3 to 1. ERA 2.63. 

New York Times, Oct 7, 1935
Long Lonnie from Mount Ida, Ark. Warneke, wears the largest 'chaw of terbacker" in either league or either cheek, was just too good any way the Tiger hitters looked at the ball. Long Lonnie hadn't come close to giving a base on balls. In fact, he seemed intent on throwing nothing but strikes. Warneke wasn't wasting any time or energy out there. He was putting it where they had the choice of swinging or having it called on them.

"I don't give a damn if it's the World Series. Your arm is more important than any ballgame," yelled manager Charlie Grimm to Warneke when he yanked the unhappy pitcher.

New York Times Oct 7, 1935
"I'll give them French tomorrow, and we'll bring them right down to the seventh game and take them the way the Cards did last year," said Manager Grimm. "Warneke had all his stuff in there today before that accident overtook him. He'll be all right for the final game, too I expect. He hated to come out and I hated to lift him. But I'd sooner have his arm than all the world series victories you can give me. The arm is more important to our ball club." Warneke listened to a broadcast of the last innings as he under went treatment. A heat-ray lamp was being applied to Lon's injured right shoulder as the players trooped off the field, all singing his praises , chattering to the home-run hitting Chuck Klein and banging each other about good naturedly. Warneke pitched two painful innings before giving in to his injury. Every throe pained my shoulder. Until the shoulder went out I had a lot of stuff. I'll be all right in a day or so, I expect."

New York Times Jun 24, 1933; p. 11
Warneke of the Cubs has had some setbacks, but he still looks like a great pitcher. Funny chap, Warneke. Tall, thin and blond with an expressionless face, he goes around pulling practical jokes in a solemn way.

Lonnie Warneke, the Ozark hat wrecker.

1936 3.44 for the season. The Cubs came in second behind the Giants. Cardinals third.
1936 All Star Game at Fenway Park, Boston
1937 Lon "The Arkansas Hummingbird" Warneke traded  Oct. 8, 1936 to the St Louis Cardinals for baseman James A. "Rip" Collins and pitcher Roy "Tarzan" Purnalee
1938 September  He had 221 chances without an error in 154 game appearances. Cardinals came in third place.
1939  All Star game
1941 August 30, Warneke pitched a no hitter against the Cincinnati Reds. The only man on base was from a hit baseman.
1942 Sold back to the Cubs for $7,500 . At that time he was making $15,000 as a Cardinal. Appeared two World Series. Stayed with them until 1945
1944 Military Service. 
1945 Played for the Cubs briefly then retired.
1949-55 National League Umpire- well respected.
1961 Arkansas Hall of Fame honoree

Lon pitched in World Series and later and was an umpire for a World Series and he is the only man to play and umpire in baseball's All-Star Game. Representing the Chicago Cubs, Lon pitched in the All-Star games of 1933, 1934 and 1936 and umpired in 1952.

Baseball Memorabilia

If you watch ebay you can gather a fine collection of Warneke memorabilia baseball cards, magazine covers, etc,
His photo and articles can be found in:
Montgomery County : Our Heritage
1936 issue of Baseball Magazine with Cubs
Photo only: 'They Can't Go Home' by Wendy Richter. Photo of Lon  & Charlene at Buckville Decoration Day probably 1960s. page 137
'Laughing His Way to a Million' by H. Alan Dunn. Photo of Lonnie in a suit.

"Heck, I can live a whole winter down home for $50.  I can’t live a week up [North] for that," Lon once remarked. 

Phil Wrigley who owned the Cubs at that time encouraged ace players to stay in touch with the game and fans as umpires. Warneke read the book "Rules of Baseball". Wrigley pressured the Pacific Coast League to give Warneke a start as umpire in 1946.  In 1949 he became a National League umpire for seven years.  A "players umpire". "One of the most respected arbitrators for the game" . In the 1951 NCAA baseball championship pitcher Jim Waldrip from U of OK walked many and Warneke yelled at him "Hurry up and get the ball over, we gotta go eat.'"
Friends persuaded Lon to run for Garland County judge in November 1962. He won by a narrow margin and entered office in January 1963 and served for ten years. "I didn't have any organized machine backing." said Warneke in 1969. He did not seek a sixth term and  retired in 1972 due to health reasons.  L.J. Warneke, a nephew, was a county judge for Montgomery County, AR and  Mayor of Mount Ida in the 1980s. 
Lon died of a heart attack at his home in Hot Springs, at age sixty-seven, Tuesday 23 June, 1976. The City Council Ambulance Service was dispatched at 0800 with its emergency lights and siren on but was involved in a broadside accident on Albert Pike while traveling west. A second ambulance was dispatched while a third ambulance was sent to the car / ambulance accident The driver and the two ambulance personal were all admitted to the Ouachita Memorial Hospital. Both vehicles were totaled.  
June 1976
Services for Lonnie 'Lon" Warneke, 67, will be 2 p.m. Friday in the first Presbyterian Church with Rev. James A. Beverley, Pastor officiating. Pallbearers will be Judge James Chestnutt, Jim Necessary, Major John Parker, Larry Stephens, Richard Vickers, Clarence Jones, Dr. John Lane and Judge L.J. Warneke. Honorary Pallbearers will be G.E. Atkins, Myles Johnson, A..D. Watkins, Ish Beam, Johnnie Simmons, Oscar Luebben, Joseph A. Kauffman. Elmer Wascaster, Ray Vickers, Kirk Couch, of Shreveport, La. Gerald Gunter and W.T. Bill Couch. Burial in Owley Cemetery in Mt. Ida by Gross Mortuary. Survivors include a wife, a son, a daughter and three brothers, Archie of Mt. Ida, Albert of Houston (Perry Co. AR) and Louie Warneke of California; five grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews. 

Buried at Owley Cemetery, Montgomery Co., AR
Reference: Montgomery Cemetery Book 
Location: Go south from Mt. Ida on Hwy 270 3.8 miles, turn left and go 0.9 miles, across from the Owley Church. 
Louis "Luke" W. Warneke 1872-1947
Belle  M. Warneke 1873-1955
Archie "Red" Warneke Jun 26 1906 - Dec. 26. 1989 and wife Dicie Eva Dillard 1909-1995  Warnekes had red hair.
John Warneke 1901-1983. John's daughter Ina Verne Warneke, 69, of Mount Ida, died December 27, 1999, at a Hot Springs hospital. She was born March 17, 1930 in Mount Ida, the daughter of the late John and Minerva Warneke. Ina played for a professional basketball team, Hazel Walker's Travelers, in the late 1940s and early 1950s. She was preceded in death by her parents, and two brothers, J.W. Warneke and Ottis Ray Warneke. Burial was at Owley Cemetery. Minerva Anderson Warneke was a school teacher at Owley School.

Albert, Sr. also played ball--in minor league in Nebraska, I believe, and was billed as the brother of Lon Warneke. Albert, aged 74, of Harris Brake (Perry County), formerly of Little Rock, a retired sales representative for the Wrigley Chewing Gum Company, died Tuesday. 08/28/87


Another Major League Pitcher from Mt Ida - played one game
Sherman Edwards
Sherman Stanley Edwards

Bats Right, Throws Right
Height 6' 0", Weight 165 lb.

Debut September 21, 1934
Final Game September 21, 1934
Reliever, 31 yrs, Cincinnati Reds

Born July 25, 1909 in Mount Ida, AR
Died March 8, 1992 in EL Dorado, AR

Contract : Big League Contract
Salary :$ 350,000
Signed Through :1941
Years of MLB Service :6 Year(s), 30 Days (1062 total Days)
MLB Service Days this Year :172 Day(s)
Years on 40-Man Roster :6 Year(s), 33 Days (1065 total Days)
Years of Pro Service :6 Year(s)
Rule 5 Draft Eligibility :Protected (on 40 Man Roster)

Montgomery County ARGenWeb Project