|Posted by romeraiders on August 8, 2011 at 11:45 PM|
Rome boy makes it into professional baseball.
In 1948 young 18 year old Warren “Sukie” Ley was taken into Milwaukee for a professional tryout by former Rome player Bub Barnes. Bub had played and umpired before Sukie’s era and was familiar with talent. Bub was right, Sukie was signed the same day as a pitcher by the Boston Braves organization.
Donnie Barnes, Bub’s son, remembers the story well. Back then the old triple AAA Milwaukee Brewer were a Braves affiliate. At the young age of 18 Sukie would begin a four year trek through minor league baseball. All of Sukie’s stats can be found on line if you google “ Warren Ley baseball.”
Sukie’s younger brother Bobby pitched just out of high school on the 1957 Rome championship team. Sukie would be almost 12 years older than Bobby and Bobby is now 72 and living in Verona. Bobby got out of high school the same year as Dick Higbie and Roger Boos and they were altogether on the 1957 team.
In 1958 those guys also took second place in the Lakes. Bobby said that Sukie probably played with Rome when he was still in high school at age 16 and 17. Sukie may have played briefly with Rome after leaving the minor leagues. Tine said he was managing Rome when Sukie came back to the area and he told Sukie that he could play wherever he wanted on the team.
Sukie would for the most part play for Jefferson after eventually settling in that area, though his pitching days would be over. Dick Higbie said that Sukie was one other batter he knew of who could also hit Ken Brereton’s barn in left field. Sukie’s arm went bad on him in his last year in the minors. Tine Ley, Sukie’s cousin said they overworked him.
Tine went to watch Sukie pitch one time in the minors and he said Sukie struck out the first nine players he faced. In one of his years in the minors, he had the second highest winning percentage as a pitcher and second highest batting average on the team.
Sukie was apparently the real deal, big, strong, and usually one of the youngest guys on his roster. The Braves would trade Sukie after a year or two to the New York Giants organization. Bobby said that for a brief time Sukie and Willie Mays were on the same team. He also said that for a time Dell Crandall would catch for Sukie and that Johnny Logan would also be a team mate. Warren and Bobby’s older brother was Donald - or Moose or Brick (two nicknames). He was about a year older than Sukie.
Moose didn’t play for Rome but a few recall how he would come to practices at times and hit fly balls to the outfielders. They all said the same thing, he’d crush it or hit it a country mile. Ralph Boos was one of a few that had this memory. The three Ley boys were cousins to the other group of Ley boys of Les, Tine, Huss and Babe.
Sukie’s dad was Elroy. Tine said that Elroy sold Buicks out of the big barn across from Les’s tv shop and Elroy also had Texaco gas pumps out in front of the big barn. When Elroy sold the barn, he just dug them out and moved the pumps just down the road in front of his house and kept selling gas.
Les’s tv shop was previously the Rome hardware store which Tine’s dad William ran. No one seemed to know how Sukie got his nickname. Small towns, big families, baseball fun.