Are you ready for spring? I sure am. At least March has spring training for baseball! What does baseball have to do with an LCMS history article? Well, while digging through another old file, I found a letter from 1953 where a pastor wrote about a famous ball player that had been a vicar at Zion, Kramer. His name was William Wambsganss – also known as Bill Wamby – he played for the Cleveland Indians. So I went to the Kramer church file and in their wonderful 100th-anniversary book was a whole page dedicated to Vicar William Adolph Wambsganss. Here is a condensed version of the article.
Wamby was born March 3, 1894, in Ohio, to Rev. & Mrs. Philip Wambsganss. He attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis for the 1912-1913 school term. The letter referenced him being Vicar in 1914 at Zion. Zion members George Thiel, Erick Neumann, and Claudia Rubbert Albrecht had memories of Wamby. One memory was that he would prolong recess at Bible school to play ball. He did not return to seminary after his vicarage but joined a baseball club – Cedar Rapids, IA – that sold him to the Cleveland Indians.
In the 1920 World Series, the team had to win five games. The Indians won the first and Brooklyn the second game. In the third game, Wamby was the second baseman and he set a World Series Record by making the first and only unassisted triple play in the World Series! A batter hit a line drive single to the right. Wamby ran, leaped, speared the ball in flight, kicked the second base bag, and whirled to slap the tag on the runner coming from the first base. Cleveland won the World Series that year. Wamby played through 1923, married, had 3 children, and died in 1985. The gymnasium at Concordia Theological Seminary is named in honor of him.
If you have any fun stories like this, please let me know. Also, keep sending in old records! Praying for you all as we journey through Lent to the glorious day of Easter.
Vicki Peihl, District Historian