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Summer of ’65: Barkulis top MVP entry?

DNTcover30 Aug19655

Fifty years ago — Aug. 30, 1965 — the DNT reports that, “barring a complete letdown” in eight remaining games, Duluth-Superior Dukes third baseman Chris Barkulis “should have the Northern League batting title wrapped up and should also be a shoo-in for the league’s most valuable player award.”

Chris BarkulisBarkulis went 2-for-4 Saturday to jerk his average up to .340. His nearest competitor is Tom Silicato of Huron, the club that the Dukes face here Friday, Saturday and Sunday to conclude the season.

But Silicato, also in the MVP running, is a distant second to Barkulis at .311.

“He’s hitting the ball better than I’ve been him hit it all season,” said Jim Rantz, manager of the St. Cloud Rox who face the Dukes in a 6:30 p.m. family night twin bill today after Sunday’s rainout. “At least in the first game of our series,” he added.

Barkulis did end up as the Northern League’s batting champion in 1965, finishing with a .335 average, but he finished second in the MVP voting. He was 23 years old at the time and in his second year of professional baseball. A Chicago native and graduate of Bradley University, he would end up playing six years of minor league ball, but never made it to the majors.

He went on to become an independent commodities broker on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and a partner in Midwest Food Distributors and Barkulis Brothers, Inc.

He died on May 17, 1987, as a result of a recent motorcycle accident.

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