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Ken Voges – Hitting .505

By Tim Clark previous_page_button
TLU Sports Information Director

Ken Voges, Texas Lutheran’s only three-time baseball All-American, played three years in the Chicago Cubs farm system,  advancing as high as Class AAA ball. Ken is the owner of “In His Grace, Inc.,” has written several books and is extensively involved in religious seminars worldwide. He lives in Houston with his wife of 41 years, Linda (Bowman) ’63, They have two children, Randy and Christy, and five grandchildren …all baseball fans.
There are certain  magical numbers in baseball that just roll off the  baseball-lovers tongue.

  • 755 – Hank Aaron’s record career home run total
  • 56 – Joe DiMaggio’s consecutive games hitting  streak
  • .406 – Ted Williams’ batting average in1941

For the Cape Cod Baseball League, the premier collegiate summer league in the country, the number is .505.

In the summer of 1963, Texas Lutheran baseball product Ken Voges ’64 collected 55 hits in 109 official at-bats and became  the first (and since then, the only) player in the Cape Cod  Baseball League’s modern history to bat over .500. Playing for the Chatham Red Sox, Voges posted a slugging percentage of  .825 with six home runs and six triples.

For his magical performance in that summer of ’63, Voges  will be inducted into the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of  Fame on Nov. 12 in Chatham, Mass. The Hall of Fame ceremony will bring to a close a two-day celebration of the Cape Cod  Baseball League (CCBL) and its storied history.

Voges will join nine other Cape Cod greats as members of the 2005 CCBL Hall of Fame class . Joining Voges will be  current Major League Baseball player Bobby Kielty of the  Oakland A’s, former MLB players Mickey Morandini and Tim  Teufel, fellow Cape Cod standouts Sam Nattile, Paul Pacillo,  Jack Sanford and John Thoden, and league administrators Mike  Curran and Manny Pena.

Since Voges set the .505 mark in 1963, no player has come  within 62 points of breaking the record. The CCBL currently lists 197 former players competing in Major League Baseball  and has 1,004 players in professional baseball overall. The  list of Cape Cod alumni is a who’s who of past and current  baseball stars. The Houston Astros alone could boast a Cape Cod lineup of Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio and  Morgan Ensberg.

“At the time, no one really had an idea of how good hitting  .505 really was,” said Voges, a National Association of  Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Famer and member of the TLU Athletics Hall of Honor. “Here we are 40-plus years later, and no one has come close. It is satisfying to see the names of players that have gone through the league over the years and see that the record still stands.”

Voges recalls that summer of ‘63 as a typical New England  summer – nice and cool compared to the blistering summer heat of his home state of Texas. He figures that the climate was a  major factor in his ability to sustain such a torrid pace at  the plate.

“The reason I was so hot at the plate was because it was a cool summer,” said Voges. “The hottest it ever got was 85 degrees, and the weather was just fine. As long as the fog didn’t roll in, it was ideal conditions to play. I was just  165 pounds back then, not much weight on me, and the Texas  heat can really drain you. So having those cool days sure helped me,” he said.

“Of course, you have to be lucky to hit .505. I don’t care what league you are in.”

In 1963, Chatham played at a ball park with no outfield  fence, which gave the speedy Voges – a conference champion  sprinter, long jumper and relay team member at Texas Lutheran – plenty of opportunities for extra base hits if the ball was  hit into the outfield gaps. A layer of short weeds marked the end of the mowed outfield, but the weeds were still considered in the field of play.

“I would hit it into those weeds,” Voges recalls. “The outfielders would find the balls most of the time, so you didn’t have many ground-rule doubles. If we had had an outfield fence, I would have had more than six home runs.”

After his time in the CCBL, Voges returned to Texas  Lutheran to complete his degree and play his senior season  with the Bulldogs and Coach Buzzy Keller. It was Keller that  had been instrumental in getting Voges an invitation to the CCBL. Keller will introduce Voges at the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame ceremony.

“I never played in a league where the people were as responsive to the league and its players ,” said Voges. “The  people in the stands were family. To see the Cape in the  summer is an experience in Americana. The people in the towns open up their homes for the players to stay, and they treat the players like family.”

“Without a question, hitting .505 at Cape Cod is the highlight of my baseball career.” 

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