During May of 2010 I purchased a book, ROGER MARIS Baseball’s ‘Reluctant Hero’ written by
Tom Clavin and Danny Peary, copyright March 2010. 

As I started reading it, I realized that Stan Pitula and Roger Maris played on the same minor league baseball team in Iowa in 1954.  I turned to the index to see if any mention of Stan Pitula was mentioned.  I really did not think I would find anything, but there Stan was front and center mentioned four times in the book during Roger Maris’s minor league years with the
Cleveland Indians. 

The first mention of Stan in the book is on page 65, when he had returned from the service after pitching for a base team while stationed in Austria during the Korean War.  Stan and Roger Maris were playing for the Keokuk Kernels.  Roger Maris during this time spelled his name Maras and changed it after this season while playing with Stan Pitula, here is what is written on page 65, “Led by Maras, Osinski, and 20-game-winner and strikeout-champion
Stan Pitula
, the Kernels finished the season with a record of 78-58.”  It was 25 wins better then the previous year and put Keokuk only 3 ½ games behind the Evansville Braves.

On page 75 the writers are explaining the state of the Cleveland Indians after the 1954 season where the won more games then any other team in the history of baseball 111 during the regular season.  Here is what is written, “The Indians had won 18 fewer games in 1955 than the previous year Greenberg, who in 1956 became the first Jewish player selected to the Hall of Fame, was concerned that despite his farm clubs doing well, only a small number of legitimate prospects were in the organization: pitchersMudcat Grant, Gary Bell, Bud Daley,  Stan Pitula, Dick Tomanek, and Hank Aquirre,……  
Stan Pitula is mentioned on page 81 where he and his team mate Roger Maris and other future major league pitchers Dick Tomanek and Bud Daley are competing in the 1956 Junior World Series with the Indians triple A team at Indianapolis, here is what is written, “Indianapolis won Game 3, 3-0, as Stan Pitula, who went 15-4 during the season, threw a 3-hitter, and Game 4, 6-0, behind Daley and in front of 9,000 excited hometown fans.”
After reading the book on Roger Maris, the tremendous success Stan Pitula experienced, why is the tragedy of his suicide mentioned?  Dick Tomanek who it is mentioned was his close friend during the minor league year’s makes mention of the suicide because when someone you care for does such a thing everyone who knows that person is left asking, why, and the question never seems to get answered so all who new him continue to wonder. 

Here is what is written on page 90-91 where the writers are explaining the state of affairs with the Cleveland Indians when Stan Pitula was called up in 1957, “Maris’s hustling and fielding weren’t enough reason for Farrell to keep him in the lineup with the offense sputtering, Cleveland’s pitching was faltering, too. Warhorses Lemon and Wynn developed bone chips and gout, respectively, and won 20 games between them, losing 28.  In July, rookie right-hander Stan Pitula, a teammate of Roger’s at Keokuk, blew out his arm, and never pitched another major league game.  His friend Dick Tomanek believes that Pitula’s disappointing career, along with a broken marriage and inability to find work, contributed to his
suicide in 1965.”            

Written by:
Bob Meli

September 20, 2010