George Koby was born
November 4, 1926 in Wellston, Missouri and
attended Wellston Schools, graduating from
Wellston High School in 1943. He lettered in
all the sports offered at the school. Baseball
was his favorite game. George was tall and could
throw hard. At times he was just wild enough to
intimidate most batters. It
may help when your last name begins with the
letter "K", in the shorthand world of baseball
the letter "K" is for "Strikeout".
The classmates of 1943 were asked to pick
special features to build from the boys in their
class to create the "perfect boy". They choose
George for his perfect "athletic ability".
out with 800 other young boys and just three in
that group were signed by major clubs. The
Cardinals signed Joe Garagiola and George Koby,
but Branch Rickey told Lawrence Peter Berra
(Yogi) he would never make a big-leaguer. The
Yankees signed Berra and farmed him to Norfolk,
three were signed out of 800! Joe Garagiola
remembers this happened when he and Yogi were
15. If the date in the attached article is
correct, all three boys were 15 in 1941.
George still had a year and a half of Wellston
High School to complete.
George's 1943 Contract is here he was 16+years
He had major league
potential and in 1947 he was listed in the
Cardinal yearbook along with Stan Musial and
Enos Slaughter and other famous Cardinal stars.
Nicknamed Li'l Abner, Koby's 1947 team photo is
Plagued with knee and arm injuries, George spent
over 10 years playing baseball in the major-minor
leagues. He played Triple A ball all
across the United States. It was the best
of times and the worst of times. It was
never about the money. In the early years
he made about $50 to $70 every two weeks during the
season. The day to call it quits came after
1953, but the lessons learned about physical
conditioning and playing while you are tired and
hurt would never be forgotten.
George was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.
He went through the rigors of aggressive
combined treatments of the 1980s with all of the
side effects, and in 1986 he was told his cancer
was too advanced and invasive to cure. He was
given 15 to 17 month to live. This is when
George decided to prove them wrong. He had a
family to support and he knew how to condition
himself. George lived another 17 years. He
passed away April the 5th, 2003. He had a
full 76 years, 5 months and 1 day. A very
tough nice guy!
and I were neighbors on Hobart Avenue in
Wellston. He played street ball with Norman
Siebern, and Don Carter and my brothers, . He
set the bar high and showed his friends that
professional sports were within their grasp.
George William Koby, born 4
Nov,1926, died 5 Apr, 2003.
He was a winner.
and news clippings below - - - just page
Mail copies to your classmates.