|Sports and Film History in Red Cloud & Guide Rock|
Red Cloud and Guide Rock have a rich history in sports as well as some locals that went on to fame and fortune on the silver screen.
The All American Pastime has a rich and storied history in Red Cloud and Guide Rock. The community is home to three outstanding major league baseball players who each pitched here in the earliest innings of baseball history.
Denton T. “Cy” Young
Cy Young had a 22 year career in baseball and is the inspiration behind the annual Cy Young Award, given to the most outstanding pitcher in each of the two leagues. Young was born in Ohio. As a young player in 1886, he pitched for a baseball team located in Cowles, Nebraska. In 1887, he left Cowles and joined the Red Cloud team. He was paid a small salary as pitcher and also worked for Red Cloud's Ormsby & Dickerson, which was in the egg and butter business. Young later returned to Cowles and played with them again for several games. Young's career took off in 1890 with the Cleveland Spiders. After an eight year stint with Cleveland, Young joined St. Louis in 1899. He joined the Boston franchise after two years with St. Louis. He rejoined the Cleveland team in 1909, where he played until two months prior to his retirement when he briefly returned to Boston. Young returned to his native Ohio upon retirement, living on a farm there until his death at age 88 in 1955. Young is the holder of many professional pitching records in the major leagues. Young retired from baseball with 511 career wins. He also holds the major league records for most career innings pitched (7,355), most career games started (815), and most complete games (749). Young was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.
Clarence Arthur “Dazzy” Vance
Dazzy Vance was born in Iowa and grew up in Nebraska, playing baseball for several local teams including Hastings, Cowles, Red Cloud, and Superior. Following graduation from Hastings High in 1911, he went to small communities playing anytime he could. He started his professional career with the Red Cloud Indians in 1912, and stayed mired mostly in the minor leagues for nine more years. However, in 1922, the Dodgers became interested in Vance after he won 21 games for New Orleans. Earlier in his career, Vance had shaved two years off his age, so the Dodgers – assuming he was 29 and not 31 – gave him an opportunity. Vance rewarded them handsomely winning 18 games and leading the National League in strikeouts for the first of seven consecutive seasons. The pinnacle of his career came two years later when he won 28 games for Brooklyn. After several years with the Dodgers, Vance went on to play for St. Louis and Cincinnati. He won the very first National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1924. Dazzy retired from baseball at age 44 with 197 career victories, all of them coming after his 30th birthday. In 1955, Vance was elected to the Hall of Fame. He died in Florida in 1961.
Clarence E. Mitchell
Clarence was born in Franklin, Nebraska and played for Red Cloud in 1910, the same year as Dazzy Vance. He debuted with the major leagues in 1911, playing for the Detroit Tigers. He later played for the Cincinnati Reds, New York Giants, Brooklyn Robins, Philadelphia Phillies, and St. Louis Cardinals. Mitchell was elected to the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame in 1953 and died ten years later in Grand Island, Nebraska.
Lea Penmen was born in Red Cloud on October 4, 1895. She grew up to be a film star and to play roles in many Broadway hits. On screen, she was in the 1926 silent film, "Romance of a Million Dollars." In 1950, Ms. Penmen played Effie Floud in the film "Fancy Pants," which starred Bob Hope and Lucille Ball and was also cast as Mrs. Calhoun in the comedy "Stella," with Victor Mature and Ann Sheridan. She later appeared in "We're No Angels" and "Portland Expose." Her last project was in the television series “Frontier Doctor” in which she played Nora Caldwell. In addition to her character roles on film, Ms. Penman enjoyed a prolific career on Broadway from 1917-49. She performed in the hits "Boy Meets Girl" (1935), "What a Life" (1939) and "Annie Get Your Gun" (1946). Ms. Penmen died in 1962 in Hollywood. Red Cloud and Guide Rock hold an annual Lea Penmen festival in October that celebrates their hometown’s famous leading lady.