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Elden Le Roy Auker

Elden “Submarine” Le Roy Auker was born on September 21, 1910, in Norcatur, Kansas. Auker was given the nickname “Submarine” for the style of pitching for which he was well known. Auker attended Norcatur High School and eventually went onto Kansas State University where he became known for his athletic accomplishments. Auker lettered in baseball, basketball, and football three times each during his career at Kansas State. Auker was the first All-American in three sports and selected to the all-Big Six Conference team for baseball, basketball, and football. Although Auker was offered a contract from the Chicago Bears to become quarterback, he turned it down in order to pitch for the Detroit Tigers.

Auker made his Major League Baseball debut in 1933 for the Detroit Tigers. He played for the Tigers from 1933 to 1938. Auker was a part of the 1935 World Series Championship team. He was then traded to the Boston Red Sox in 1939, and then to the St. Louis Browns where he played the rest of his career from 1940 to 1942. Auker eventually retired from baseball in order to help with the World War II war effort. Auker later took up the business of abrasives and became a very successful businessman. Auker married Mildred Purcell in 1933 and together they had one son, Jim Auker. 

Auker was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1969 for his athletic achievements. Auker died on August 4, 2006 in Vero Beach, Florida. Auker was called by the former Kansas State University President James McCain as, “the greatest all-around athlete in Kansas State history.” 

Entry: Auker, Elden

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: May 2012

Date Modified: June 2017

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.