Old-Time Baseball Player Charlie Koons Dies


The Fort Wayne Old-Timer’s Baseball Association lost its oldest member January 1, 2002 when Charlie Koons passed away. Known by many baseball players in the early 1900’s, who have also passed away, Charlie was a Fort Wayne Baseball Legend.

One of his exploits was making the trip with the City Light Tigers to Cleveland for a national tournament. The opposing team scored seven first inning runs off Charlie. The manager, thinking the game was lost left Charlie in the game. Charlie no-hit the team for the next 8 innings and City Light won the game 11-7.

He was paid in the 1920’s, $15 per game, (big money in those days) and if he lost he wasn’t paid. He once won eight straight games.

From 1921 to 1936 he played for many teams. In 1927 he played for the Fort Wayne Outfitters, Lake Erie Team, Western Mobely, Missouri, Molten, Iowa, and Fort Wayne Dudlo. Once a headline on the sports page read, “KOONS AND HIS RABBIT BALL DEFEATS LOCAL C & O CLUB”.

He did have longevity with some local teams pitching 1928 -1931 for the St. Joe A.C. He was in his 30’s when an automobile accident created serious injury to his hand. The injury ended his pitching career, but not his involvement in baseball.

Charlie was head of the first baseball club in Fort Wayne, one sponsored by the St. Joe League. When he was manager of the St. Joe League, they won two state championships. He was chairman of the clubs building committee, and managed their football teams.

Charlie lived in Avilla until he was 15. When he wasn’t playing baseball he worked in a grocery and hardware store. He retired from Wayne Hardware Co. after 46 years of service as Executive Vice-President, dealing mostly in athletic goods.

There isn’t too much memorabilia, pictures, etc., of Charlie as everything he had was lost in a fire. I have a picture of him in his 1924, K. of C. baseball uniform.

As I said before, he was a Fort Wayne baseball legend. He was inducted into the Fort Wayne Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. Charlie had a very good life.

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