Minnesota town team locales
- July 5, 2014 - 6:17 PM
A handful of other great Minnesota town team locales, among dozens, as described by Patrick Reusse:
This village of 250 near Marshall started town ball in 1947 as the Irish, won a state title in 1954 and had a name change to the Yankees. The Dolan family was synonymous with Milroy baseball for generations. In 2009, Bob Dolan brought back the Irish as a second team for Milroy and was the prime mover in getting a new ballpark — Irish Yard — built in the countryside. Meantime, the Yankees still play in the Milroy Ballpark in town.
The Brewers were major players in the post-World War II days of “fast’’ baseball in Minnesota, when outside pitchers and sluggers were hired for the summer at substantial cost to a town’s baseball boosters. There have been great hometown players from the city, of course, starting with Terry Steinbach and his brothers. This is the 75th anniversary season for Johnson Park, the home to both the town-ball Brewers and Kaiserhoff, and the city’s other baseball entities.
The Chaska Cubs are having another outstanding season, even though the Minnesota River once again took control of Chaska Athletic Field — an outstanding ballyard when the water isn’t up to the grandstand. The Cubs have developed a big rivalry with the nearby Victoria Vics, and what makes it even better is that Bob Poppitz manages the Cubs and his brother Mike manages the Vics. And Mike isn’t timid about dipping into the pool of talent that came up through the Chaska ranks.
This little stop on the road outside Northfield bills itself as “the Town of Baseball.’’ Again, there’s much competition for this title in the area, but the Dukes have been state champs and state contenders for decades now. Best story: The Dukes had numerous bulky sluggers for years, and that bulk was accentuated with their orange jerseys. Memorial Park was being rebuilt, leaving the boards of the grandstand in a heap. A visiting player arrived, saw the rubble and said: “What happened … you fellas try to take a team picture?’’ ARLINGTON
You can go north from Arlington to Jordan, or west to Brownton, or a stone’s throw away to Green Isle, and stop most anywhere to find a great town-ball burgh. The dynastic runs and roll call of fantastic players — Stoll, Odegaard, O’Brien, Driscoll, Klunder and on — might never return with the Arlington A’s, but you can still find a neat ballpark near a city water tower designed as a baseball.
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