Did You Know: Ladmo Came To Arizona For Baseball Training
He’s one of the most adored television personalities in Arizona. For years he made the young and the young-at-heart laugh. But making us laugh wasn’t his first love. It was playing baseball.
Ladimir Kwiatkowski is better known as Ladmo of "The Wallace and Ladmo Show."
He was part of a three-man comedy kids show that ran for more than 35 years. Many who knew him said his passion was to make kids laugh.
Did You Know that Ladmo came to Arizona to become a professional baseball player?
“Lad, even though he played kind of the clumsy fool character on the show, he was the gifted athlete in real life," said Pat McMahon, one of the show's three cast members and a close friend of Ladmo.
“Whether it was bowling or basketball or at his very best, baseball, he was the guy who really could do it all," McMahon said.
After high school in the 1940s Ladmo was approached by Cleveland Indians general manager Hank Greenberg. The Hall of Famer suggested that Ladmo attend college in Arizona and get trained with its well organized baseball team. And once he graduated, Ladmo would return to Cleveland to play for the organization.
“Well Lad had never been out of Cleveland. So he jumps in his car after he graduates from high school, comes out to Phoenix, knows nothing about the southwest,” McMahon said.
McMahon said when Ladmo arrived in the Valley he asked a passerby where the college was. He was directed to Arizona State College. Well, Ladmo registered for classes and wound up becoming a star on the baseball team.
“Afterwards he always thought that it was a little strange that Hank Greenberg thought so much of this program had kind of a roughened baseball field and uniforms weren’t the very best you would be able to find in a program like this,” McMahon said.
Ladmo graduated from Arizona State College with a journalism degree and with four years of baseball training. He immediately got in touch with Hank Greeberberg and gave him the good news.
“And he said, 'Lad…Where did you go? I know everybody that’s on the Arizona baseball team.' He said, 'I’m at Arizona State.' He said, 'no, I said go Arizona, go to the University of Arizona to go to school and play baseball.' In other words, Ladmo went to the wrong school for four years.”
Ladmo was offered the chance to play with one of Cleveland's minor league teams. McMahon said after realizing the salary he would receive, Ladmo opted to stay in the Valley and take his chances in journalism. He applied at the only TV station in Arizona at the time, Channel 5.
“He signed up for employment and they made him a cameraman. And there is literally is television history," McMahon said.
McMahon said Ladmo never looked back. He fell in love with doing the Wallace and Ladmo show.