Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mansur: STOP - if Convenient

Denis Menke was a hard-nosed, quality baseball player from Bancroft, IA, who was "in the news" in the early '60s for his performance on the baseball field, and if memory serves correctly, was a star on a semi-pro or similar team from that area.

In 1962 he was drafted by and played for the Milwaukee Braves, later to become the Atlanta Braves, but before he ever got to that level he had gained enough attention that Principal Bill Mansur invited Phil Johnson and Larry Holstad to attend a game that Menke was going to be playing in. They agreed to join him and off they went.

As they were driving south on Highway 69 somewhere in the vicinity of Lake Mills or Forest City, the highway, as the Google streetview above shows, takes a bend to the left, and a stop sign is there to manage the merging traffic.

Speeding along at 55 or 60 miles an hour, and busily engaged in conversation with his young riders, Mansur went right on through the stop sign. And seemed not to notice it until he was several hundred feet past it, at which point he said, "Boys, did I just go through a stop sign?" Dutifully, Phil and Larry said, "Yes, you did."

Mansur brought the vehicle to a stop, put it in reverse, and backed up whatever the distance was, a quarter mile, perhaps, one arm hung over the back seat so he could see where he was going, until he was back properly positioned to make a stop. Which he did, and then proceeded on down the highway he had just left. No harm, no foul, I guess.

The details of exactly where it happened or how far he drove are fuzzy to this writer, but the story itself is accurately portrayed, and the Iowa landscape you see above is testament to the possibilities - in fact, do you see a stop sign? Neither do I.


  1. Interesting how a few days after we discovered a great restaurant in Bancroft Iowa, the above post appeared. It's only 45 miles from us but I'd never been there before. I was telling our friends that Denis Menke grew up in Bancroft and went on to play for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves. The Braves are MY team, so it was fun to see where his career began. Not surprised that Mr. Mansur would have wanted to check out that young star.

  2. I remember your Milwaukee fascination very well. I wasn't sure exactly where Milwaukee was located, still don't know why you would wind up with that loyalty, but can confirm you bled their colors. Spahn and Sain and pray for rain, right?

  3. The Milwaukee fascination came about because my Dad grew up in Wisconsin and my uncle got me going about the Milwaukee Braves. I remember going to a game there in 1957 where the Braves played the NY Giants and got to see Willie Mays play. 1957 was the year the Braves won the World Series. The Braves tradition is alive and well in my family...both my girls are avid Braves fans.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.