As the story goes, Gopher Sport of Owatonna got their start in April of 1947 when Malcolm Stephenson and Jimmy Pofahl began the company. Pofahl was a former major leaguer. He was born n 1917 in Faribault. He was considered one hot prospect while playing ball with the Minneapolis Millers. Washington Senator owner Clark Griffith is said to have paid perhaps a much as $40,000 for Pofahl. In those days, amateur and semi-pro teams would pick up some cash by developing and then selling off good looking prospects to major league clubs. We of course have another Minnesota tie in that Griffith later would relocate his Washington franchise to Minnesota and become the Twins.

This acquisition of Pofahl did not turn out well for Griffith. It was later learned that Pofahl had gotten his arm smashed by a closing cab door. He had one bad wing. Still he was the regular shortstop for the Senators in 1940 and played a few games in 41 and 42. Quite a few folks figure it wouldn't have played after 1940 if not for the shortage of players caused by the war.

Not quite 30 years of age, Pofahl and Stephenson began their venture that became Gopher sport and were in charge for nearly 30 years. Pofahl died in Owatonna in 1984 and is buried in Maple Lawn Cemetary in Faribault.

Here's a link to his Major League stats

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