A Cub and an angel

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 15, 2011 - 10:27 AM

Stan Peterson resurrected the Quamba Cubs amateur baseball team in 1990 after a 24-year absence, serving as manager, lighting director and T-shirt designer.

QUAMBA, MINN. - Social life in Quamba suffered a serious setback in the mid-1980s when the Cougarville Supper Club closed its doors.

"A fellow named Hans Larson opened the club in the '60s," Stan Peterson said. "People came from everywhere on the weekends. There was live music and great food. It was unbelievable for a little town like Quamba to have a place like that."

Helping to stretch the believability were three cougars Larson had raised from cubs and were penned outside the supper club.

The supper club building now houses the Cougarville Transmission Shop. It is the only commercial business in Quamba, population 98, and located 85 miles directly north of St. Paul on Hwy. 23.

Stan Peterson was born in 1952. He lived two miles out of town and, by age 5, his heroes were the stars of the Quamba Cubs: the Oslin twins, Howard and Harold, and the Telander brothers, Kenny and Johnny, and other names in a lineup Peterson can recite more than 50 years later.

The Cubs were following a tradition of town-team baseball that dated to the late 1800s -- and a Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament that began in 1924.

"We had great teams; never could make it to the state, but great ballplayers," Peterson said. "When I was a little kid, throwing a rubber ball against the barn door, the players coming to bat weren't Yankees or Dodgers ... they were Quamba Cubs."

The Cubs folded after the 1966 season. There was a Mora-Quamba team in the Eastern Minny League for a few years. Eventually, the diamond became overgrown.

Peterson left the Quamba area in the mid-1970s. He returned in the fall of 1988, saw the diamond again was in use (temporarily by Mora High School) and became devoted to the idea of bringing back the Cubs.

He turned it into a reality by the start of the 1990 town-ball season. As teams have folded in much-larger towns, reducing the Eastern Minny to a mere five teams, the Cubs have survived.

"We even made it through the 89-game losing streak from 1996 to 1998," Peterson said. "We ended that by winning a close game against Mora, our archrivals. Man, that was a great day."

The spirit always has been willing and the victories elusive for Stan's Cubs. And prospects were not great last Sunday, with the East Bethel Bandits -- a Class B team from the Metro Minny Red -- in town for a doubleheader.

Asked if he knew his all-time record as Cubs manager, Peterson said: "I added it up late last season. I think it was 665 games and 92 wins.

"And you know something? We have more guys wanting to play for us than ever. I have 30 players on the roster already, and last week, three or four more guys called, saying they wanted to play for us. The ballplayers in the area know we have a nice field here, and we have fun playing the game."

Stan's son, Quinn, was the starting pitcher for Sunday's first game. Quinn and his wife, Nancy, were married at home plate of the Quamba ballpark. Nancy remains the Cubs' leading fan, as well as supervisor of the concession operation.

Stan's grandkids were scattered about, including 2-year-old Aiden. He was wearing a T-shirt that read on the back, "I've wov'ed the Quamba Cubs my whole life."

Stan nodded toward the T-shirt and said, proudly, "That was my creation."

The same could be said for most everything with this generation of the Quamba Cubs. Peterson has salvaged posts and boards for the outfield fences and bleachers. His greatest find were the lights and stanchions that surround the ballpark.

"The Sandstone high school was closing for a new consolidated school," Peterson said. "They had lights at the football field. I ran into a guy from the school at a ballgame in Hinckley and he said, 'Those lights have been there a long time. You probably can have them, Stan, if you take them away.'"

Peterson had what he called "a little nest egg" of $20,000 or so. He received an estimate of $25,000 to put up the poles and run in the electricity for the lights.

"I figured, 'OK, that's manageable,'" he said. "And then I got the first bill -- 18 grand, and they were just getting started."

Installing the lights cost a bit more than $50,000. Stan's nest egg turned into a bank loan.

"A few years back, I had this couple tell me they were driving on the highway and they saw a halo over Quamba, and they were drawn here," he said. "They weren't even baseball fans, but they still come to a few night games every year, because the field is so beautiful under that halo."

Last Sunday, the Quamba field was illuminated by sunlight. Quinn Peterson, battling a pulled muscle below his gluteus maximus, didn't look as though he would survive more than a couple of innings, but he started to feature looping, sidearm breaking pitches, and wound up going the distance.

There was an outstanding diving catch by Kendal Bowe in center field, and an acrobatic snare of a popup by first baseman Ryan Gordon, and several nice plays by Matt Becklin at shortstop -- and even 48-year-old Mark Cannon (Quinn's brother-in-law) made a couple of plays at third base.

The Cubs couldn't have played more crisply, in a 6-1 loss, which was followed by a 6-0 loss that dropped Quamba to 2-6 in Stan's 22nd season as manager.

"We've had nine rainouts, but if we play the rest of the schedule, and we get to the second game of the playoffs, that will put me at 700 games as manager," Peterson said.

In Quamba, the games are what counts. The occasional wins are the gravy.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500ESPN. preusse@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 3
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 12 FINAL
Seattle - LP: E. Ramirez 4
Washington 0 Delayed
Philadelphia 0
Tampa Bay 2 Top 2nd Inning
Baltimore 0
Boston 0 Top 3rd Inning
Toronto 1
NY Yankees 0 Top 2nd Inning
Detroit 0
Atlanta 1 Bottom 2nd Inning
NY Mets 0
Chicago Cubs 2 Bottom 2nd Inning
Cincinnati 0
Cleveland - C. Kluber 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi
Minnesota - P. Hughes 7:10 PM
Kansas City - L. Hendriks
Oakland - D. Pomeranz 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 8:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw 8:40 PM
Arizona - W. Miley
Miami - H. Alvarez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - H. Santiago
Colorado - F. Morales 9:15 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:02 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
D.C. 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close