The Crowley Millers were the talk of minor league baseball in the 1950s, with crowds totaling nearly 10 times Crowley’s population and earning Crowley the nickname of “The Best Little Baseball Town in the World.”
The Best Little Baseball Town in the World: The Crowley Millers and Minor League Baseball in the 1950s tells the fun, quirky story of Crowley, Louisiana, in the fifties, a story that reads more like fiction than nonfiction. The Crowley Millers’ biggest star was Conklyn Meriwether, a slugger who became infamous after he retired when he killed his in-laws with an axe. Their former manager turned out to be a con man, dying in jail while awaiting trial on embezzlement charges. The 1951 team was torn to pieces after their young centerfielder was struck and killed by lightning during a game. But aside from the tragedy and turmoil, the Crowley Millers also played some great baseball and were the springboard to stardom for George Brunet and Dan Pfister, two Crowley pitchers who made it to the majors.
Interviews with players from the team bring to light never-before-heard stories and inside perspectives on minor league baseball in the fifties, including insight into the social and racial climate of the era, and the inability of baseball in the fifties to help players deal with off-the-field problems. Written by respected minor-league baseball historian Gaylon H. White, The Best Little Baseball Town in the World is a fascinating tale for baseball fans and historians alike.
Foreword by Hy Cohen
1. All Roads Pass Through Crowley
2. Build It and They Will Come
3. Johnny on the Spot
4. The Pepper Pot League
5. ‘Lightning Has Hit This Ballpark’
6. The Conker Hits Town
7. ‘Oh, Happy Day!’
8. Missed Opportunity
9. ‘The Cooperstown of Dixie’
10. The Writing Was on the Wall
11. The Kid and the Old Pro
12. A Lefty for the Ages
13. Almost Armageddon
14. The Unwanted Visitor Named Audrey
15. Showdown Before the Storm
16. The Manager was a Crook
17. The Conker Goes Bonkers
18. Restore It and They Will Return
Appendix A: Crowley Millers Through the Years
Appendix B: Bus Station Biscuit Recipe
About the Author
WOW, how exciting to read about the rich tradition of pro baseball in my hometown! Many childhood memories and my dad’s stories were brought to life as I read about familiar places and baseball heroes. All of this laced with the shocking suspense of an eerie death and a psychotic murderer! Thank you, Gaylon White, for a book that encapsulates a small town’s baseball history with comical, emotional, and thrilling storytelling!
Gaylon White’s latest book is a great read about the game that has been so good to me. I live just a few miles away from Crowley, Louisiana, but I learned a lot of new facts about the Evangeline League and some of baseball’s true old timers, many of whom became prominent citizens of our area. The Evangeline League provided Southwest Louisiana with unique entertainment at a time when other sports weren’t present.
I’ve been around professional baseball seemingly forever and yet I learned some things I didn’t know from The Best Little Baseball Town in the World. The book is full of interesting stories such as Crowley Millers centerfielder Andy Strong having a premonition something bad was about to happen just before he was struck and killed by lightning during a game. Baseball in Crowley was special in the 1950s and worth re-visiting.
This book shares a time in the history of Acadia Parish and Acadiana that many of us have forgotten or never knew. Thank you Gaylon White for bringing to life a great time in our history.
Crowley, Louisiana, has produced national political figures and personalities on every level, world-class athletes in every sport, along with many other interesting and successful people in all walks of life. This uniquely written and detailed book reveals how minor league baseball in the early fifties was another piece of Crowley's colorful history. It is an entertaining and enjoyable book, whether you are a baseball history buff or just looking for an intriguing read. The Best Little Baseball Town in the World is a true story wonderfully written by Gaylon White that you will not want to put down!
In Field of Dreams, character Terence Mann famously said, “But baseball has marked the time.” It's true and, yet again, Gaylon White is here to chronicle what happened, this time in The Best Little Baseball Town in the World. Gaylon brings to life the glorious unknown stories of America's pastime.
Gaylon White's great book brings back memories of my childhood and how much minor league baseball meant to large and small communities all over the country. Gaylon paints such a great picture of the Evangeline League and Crowley, Louisiana. All of us owe Gaylon a debt of gratitude for keeping alive the great names and memories of minor league baseball.
The wild and raucous Evangeline League in Louisiana survived swarming mosquitos, an outrageous gambling scandal, crooks, crazies, a deadly lightning strike, riots, torrential rain, floods, sweltering heat and humidity, but in the end, it couldn’t overcome the Bermuda Triangle of television, integration, and Hurricane Audrey. Gaylon White looked at this mess and saw Crowley, Louisiana — The Best Little Baseball Town in the World. This book is so Dixie that it even has a recipe for biscuits. By the time you reach the final chapter about 1950s ballplayers attending Millers reunions in Crowley at the turn of the century, you’ll feel like you belong.
Very interesting read, and very nice to bring out athletic heroes in small towns!
4/21/21: Tom Hoffarth reviewed the book and also did a small Q&A with author Gaylon White
4/26/21: Reporter Scott Brazda wrote a review of Gaylon’s book for KATC-TV.
4/19/21: Gaylon White’s book received a nice write-up in the Crowley Post-Signal.
5/1/21: Writer Kevin Kernan wrote a review of author Gaylon White’s latest book, remarking on the importance Crowley, LA in baseball’s long history.
8/17/21, Jefferson Public Radio: Listen to Gaylon White talk about the book on The Jefferson Exchange program.