Vern Kohout

Born August 13, 1927 in Tacoma, Vern Kohout developed into a standout pitcher for the Lincoln High Abes from 1943-45 under head coach Phil Sorboe. As a senior, Vern was captain of the team and was touted as one of the top pitchers in the state and participated in the All-American game between the State all-stars and the Seattle-Tacoma all-stars at Sick’s Stadium. He was joined on the team by Tacoma’s Jim McGoffin (SS), Stadium high outfielder  Orv Harrelson, and Len Kalapus, Lincoln high infielder.

In 1947, after serving in the Navy, Vern was courted the by Brooklyn, St. Louis, Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Seals clubs. His older brother Bob was a pitcher in the Brooklyn organization and told him to sign with the Seals of the Pacific Coast League and make sure that they put into his contract that he were ever sold to a Major League team that he would get a percentage of his sale price.

Vern did just that.

Little did he know that he would enjoy the experience of a lifetime as Seals owner Paul Fagan flew the players to his 10,000-acre ranch on Maui for spring training. The closest Vern got to the Major Leagues were 10 games played against the New York Giants during the 1947 spring training with the Seals. Vern remembers playing the Giants five games in Honolulu and five games in San Francisco. Off the field, Vern got to meet Giants stars Mel Ott, Johnny Mize, Erne Lombardi, Walker Cooper, Buddy Kerr and many others.

Elliott Metcalf, venerable Tacoma Times Sports Editor, kept in touch with Vern while monitoring his career and received the following letter from Vern while the southpaw was training in Hawaii.

Dear Elliott:

At last I have some free time, so I thought I would drop you a few lines.

Our spring training camp at Hana, Maui, was out of this world. We were fifty miles from civilization but that was the least of our worries. Around us there were a few old shacks the island people lived in, a theater, a general store, and a barbershop. In the middle of this, down near the beach, Mr. Fagan has built a beautiful rest resort he calls Hotel Hana Ranch.

It is a place that would take honors among any of the hotels or auto courts here on the mainland. After turnout, which was from 9:00am to 12:00 noon, there was horseback riding, swimming, tennis, ping pong, pool and hiking.

Vern Kohout and Orv Harrelson represented Tacoma in the 1944 All-American Baseball Game played at Sick's Stadium in Seattle.