Coorad "Con" Starkel

Conrad “Con” Starkel was born on November 16, 1880 in Red Oak, IA and passed away on January 19, 1933 in Tacoma, WA. For years Con operated a cigar business in the Perkins Building at 11th and A Streets in downtown Tacoma but it was on the sandlots of Tacoma, in particular at the 11th and K Street ballpark that he learned about the game of baseball.  

A strapping right-handed pitcher at 6’, 200 lbs, Con’s last wish was to be known as “a good baseball player” and even in his retirement years his enthusiasm for the game never waned.

 A chronological summary of his career is as follows:

1901   

Joined the Northern Pacific ships team of Tacoma, his first effort in organized baseball.

1902-03

Played at Walla Walla, WA, Wallace, ID and in four games for Olympia of the Southwest Washington League finishing with a 0-3 record.

 1904

Played in Idaho for the Boise Fruit Pickers, the Pacific National League champions where he fashioned a 21-10 record and finished the season with a 3-8 record for Portland of the Pacific Coast League.

 1905

Drafted by the New York Yankees club but was “farmed out” to Montgomery, AL where he was 15-7 and then for three games with Indianapolis.

 1906

Con made his major league debut on April 19th, 1906 with the Washington Senators of the American League. Unfortunately, he saw little action with the Senators, pitching three innings in just one game, and gave up six runs on seven hits and recording two walks and one strikeout. He completed the season appearing in 27 games for Albany of the New York State League and in seven games for Baltimore of the Eastern League.

 1907-09

With his pitching arm starting to weaken, Con joined up with the Aberdeen Black Cats of the Northwestern League in 1907 and 1908 and then the Grays Harbor entry in 1909.  Starkel compiled a 20-17 record for the Black Cats in 1907 and went 15-21 his second year with the club.  One of his teammates was 18 year-old Jack Fournier, a native of Aberdeen, who went on to enjoy a 15 year major league career with the Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Browns and Brooklyn Dodgers where he lead the National League in home runs in 1924 with 27. As a member of the Grays Harbor Grays in 1909 the team won the Northwestern League championship.

 1910

Starkel’s next journey took him north of the border where he played for the Moose Jaw Robin Hoods of the Western Canada League where he appeared in 35 games while amassing a 9-8 record before moving closer to home to play briefly for the Chehalis Gophers of the Washington State League.

 1911-13

Con was back up in Canada in 1911 as a member of the Victoria Bees of the Northwestern League and finished with a 5-12 record. Starkel then gave professional baseball one final fling playing for the Tacoma Tigers of the Northwestern League in 1912 under manager Mike Lynch and alongside notable teammates Ten Million of Seattle and Bert Hall and Cy Neighbors of Tacoma. When Con finally hung up the cleats, at age 31, he had endured 10 seasons in the minor leagues and finished with a 103-111 won-lost record

 Determined to remain in the baseball world as long as physically possible, Con turned to umpiring and for two seasons umpired in the Western Tri-State League.

 An interesting bit of trivia is that Con is a member of the very exclusive “No At-Bats & A Perfect On-Base Percentage (OBP) Club”, meaning that he had no official career at-bats and at least one walk in the major leagues. In Con’s case, in his one game with the Washington Senators he had one at-bat but walked and thus his OBP is officially 1.000.