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Man who named Midgets retires from post office

By Staff | Mar 22, 2011

The Dec. 2, 1968 Daily?News edition hangs on the wall at the newspaper office. Then reporter Dorothy Story tells the tale of the “man who named the Midgets.”

Editor’s note: The following story on the “man who named the Midgets” was published in the Monday, Dec. 2, 1968 edition of the Estherville Daily News.

by Dorothy Story

Retirement after working for 54 years, first with the Vindicator and Republican and then at the Post Office, will give Vincent Maloney time to indulge his life-long interest in sports.

He retired Nov. 29 (1968) from his position as distribution clerk at the Post Office after 31 years.

Born in LeMars in 1900, Maloney came to Estherville in 1914 from Emmetsburg and began working as a printer’s devil at the Vindicator and Republican when the shop was across the street west of the Post Office. George Nichols was publisher then.

He recalls that the day he began work, the Vindicator had just published a special edition as the papers were stacked up higher than his head.

He continued to work at the newspaper before and after school, and later worked at Pocahontas and Sac City.

He married Hallie Richards of Pocahontas in 1920, and they returned to Estherville in 1921. He worked for the Vindicator and Republican until 1936. He started work at the Post Office in 1937.

Mr. and Mrs. Maloney had eight children, Mrs. Clifford (Theris) Gill of Long Beach, Calif.; Mrs. Francis (Pat) Lane of Bloomington, Ill.; Mrs. Stanley (Marcella) Brewster of La Mirado, Calif.; Mrs. Richard (Mattie Ann) Kay, Phoenix, Ariz.; Sheila, of Woodward; Mike, in Estherville; Jimmie in Minneapolis, and Mrs. Floyd (Virginia) Doker also in Minneapolis.

Mrs. Maloney died in 1934.

When Maloney went to work at the Post Office in 1937, he was assistant custodian. He became a distribution clerk in 1952.

Maloney, who has followed sports closely, says it was he who named the high school football team the Midgets.

It was in 1927, he recalls, when the local team was playing at Jackson, Minn. Maloney attended the game and wrote an account of it for the Vindicator. He also had the responsibility of sending a report of the game to the Des Moines Register by wire. As he sat in the telegraph office in Jackson, he tried to think of a nickname for the team.

“We went through the names of animals,” he recalls, “but none of them seemed to fit. Suddenly the name Midgets popped into my head. To me it meant ‘little gentlemen.” I called the team the Midgets in my telegraph to the Register and the name stuck.

“Several times in later years the school tried to get the name changed but the students always voted against it.”

He has a booster card he printed in 1923 and distributed by the hundreds when Estherville defeated Emmetsburg, 12 to 10.

“I saved a cut of a goat for several years,” he recalls, “waiting for Estherville to win over Emmetsburg. When the chance came to use it, I named the goat ‘Old Shamrock’ and it carried the cheer, ‘Emmetsburg’s Nanny, You’ve got it, now keep it, don’t lose it. Their goat, their goat.'” The Emmetsburg mascot was a live goat.

Maloney looks forward to spending each summer at a resort on Tulaby Lake, Minn., owned by Richard and Mattie Anne. He also is a dog race fan attending at Sioux City and in Phoenix.

He visits shut-ins regularly.

“Of course, I plan to visit all my kids,” he said. “When you look at that list of sons and daughters you don’t have to ask how I’ll be spending my time.”