Gardner, Jabez Alvin (1890–1968)

By: Joe B. Frantz

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: January 1, 1995

J. Alvin Gardner, promoter of professional baseball, was born in Colmesneil, Texas, on April 8, 1890, the son of Jabez and Lou (Mullens) Gardner. He moved to Beaumont six years later with his parents and was educated in the public schools there. He received his first taste of baseball when he served as bat boy for the Beaumont club of the South Texas League (see TEXAS LEAGUE) in 1903–04. He went to work in 1907 for Gulf Production Company and remained with that company for seventeen years, including service in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico, where he organized a city baseball league. Gardner lived in Shreveport from 1914 to 1918 and opened a Fort Worth office for Gulf in 1918. The following year he was transferred to Wichita Falls in charge of the company's North Texas division. He resigned in 1924 to go into business as a drilling contractor and producer with his brother, Craig T. Gardner. He was one of the first stockholders in the Wichita Falls Texas League club in 1920 and became a director in 1925. He purchased majority control of the team that year and owned and operated it until 1929, when he sold his interest. At the October meeting of the Texas League in 1929 he was elected acting vice president to conduct league affairs during president Doak Roberts's illness. When Roberts died, Gardner was elected to the presidency for a five-year term ending in 1934. He moved the league office to Dallas in November 1931. Gardner died in Dallas on June 3, 1968, survived by his wife and one daughter; he was buried in Dallas.

Bill O'Neal, The Texas League, 1888–1987: A Century of Baseball (Austin: Eakin Press, 1987). William B. Ruggles, The History of the Texas League of Professional Baseball Clubs (Dallas: Texas Baseball League, 1932). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Oil and Gas Industry
  • Business
  • Sports and Recreation
  • Sports (Baseball)


  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Joe B. Frantz, “Gardner, Jabez Alvin,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995

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