Mike Farmer loves telling this story. It’s about his dad, Elliott, the second baseman of the early 1930s Missouri Tigers baseball teams.
“I remember being told by friends of his that he never went down swinging,” Mike says with a chuckle. “Hitting a baseball to him was (as easy) as catching a baseball.”
In the decades since, the Farmer family of Jefferson City rose to be among the most successful families in state athletics history at Jefferson City High School and the University of Missouri.
Mike and his son, Kirk, as well as Leslie Farmer, a granddaughter to Elliott, also went on to star for both schools and are making history again.
Born in 1910, Elliott played football, basketball and ran track in high school. As a freshman at Mizzou, he played both football as a halfback and baseball as a second baseman. Ultimately, he concentrated on baseball, hitting .320 on Mizzou’s 1931 team that shared the Big Six Conference championship.
Elliott also knocked in the game-winning run for a semi-pro team against Dizzy Dean on a St. Louis Cardinals barnstorming stop in 1934. Dean that season won 30 games in leading the Redbirds to the World Series championship.
Mike was an accomplished athlete, too. He appreciated teammates and teamwork.
In high school, Mike was honorable mention all-state in basketball and, as Jefferson City’s quarterback, was all-state. In golf, he won the state 18-and-under championship and reached the quarterfinals of the Missouri Amateur as a junior and senior. He also played baseball two seasons and ran track one season.
At Mizzou, Mike lettered in football and golf. He played quarterback and punted on the 1969-71 teams. He also was on Mizzou’s golf team that placed second in the Big Eight Conference and qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
Mike’s son, Kirk, followed a similar path. As a quarterback, he led Jefferson City to the Class 5 state championship in 1997, throwing for more than 1,400 yards and 31 TDs. He achieved first team all-state honors in football as well as golf. His final round of 68 remains the third-lowest round in Missouri prep championship history.
At Mizzou from 1999-2002, Kirk generated 3,476 yards of offense and 33 TDs under three different offenses in 19 games, despite two season-ending injuries. He also was Big 12 First Team All-Academic in 1999 and 2001.
Kirk made the 2003 St. Louis Rams and played for the Kansas City Chiefs’ NFL Europe team after that season.
Leslie Farmer, daughter of Elliott “Bud” and Sandy Farmer and granddaughter of the patriarch, was a star athlete.
At Mizzou from 2009-2012, she captained the track and field team three years and earned All-Big 12 Conference selection 10 times individually combined in the Indoor and Outdoor. Leslie also holds school records in the 400 hurdles (57.80 seconds) and 4×400 meter relay as the lead leg. She also was a 400 meter hurdles Olympic Trial B standard qualifier in 2012 and was a Chick-Fil-A Community of Champions Athlete of the Year.
Leslie was a four-time Academic All-American, with a 3.99 GPA in biology and economics.
Leslie keyed Jefferson City’s four undefeated state championship seasons. She won 12 individual state medals, including golds in the 100 hurdles in 2008 and 4×400 relay in 2007. In tennis, Leslie also earned four letters and was No. 1 singles her senior season.
Leslie’s siblings, Elliott Farmer III (golf) and sister Jamie (soccer, tennis); Mike’s daughter, Allison Farmer Kingsbury (seven-time state track and field medalist in Texas Class 4); and Leslie Weber Olrich (state tennis runner-up) and Tricia Weber Youssi (state tennis champion), daughters of Margie Farmer Weber and Keith Weber, also enjoyed success in high school sports. Margie is Mike and Bud’s sister.