Center for Archival Collections

Archival Chronicle Gallery

March 2004: Volume 23, Number 1

Gallery: Baseball | Archival Chronicle Index | CAC Homepage

"Take Me Out to the Ball Game..."

"Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball..." --Jacques Barzun

Springtime means spring training and the start of another baseball season.
Americans have been in love with the game for a century and a half.

A Look at Baseball in the Past

Portage, Ohio High School Baseball Team, 1910
Source: Freyman Collection (MS 91)

Dick Bavis, Manager. The enlarged view of this photograph shows more clearly the presence of baseball gloves and a uniform shirt (second from left, back row).

"The smaller the town the more important the ball club was. But if you beat a bigger town they'd practically hand you the key to the city. And if you lost a game by making an error in the ninth or something like that, well, the best thing to do was just pack your grip and hit the road, because they'd never let you forget it."
--Smokey Joe Wood

Portage Baseball Team, 1910
Portage Baseball Team, 1910

Portage, Ohio High School Baseball Team, 1910
Source: Freyman Collection (MS 91)

Another view of the Portage High School Team shows more equipment--a backstop between the players and the bleachers, bats, and a catcher's mitt, mask, and chest protector. The uniform features traditional knee-length pants, and a button-front collar shirt.

Swayne Field, Toledo, Ohio, ca. 1950 
Source: Toledo Publicity and Efficiency

Until the mid-1950s, the home of the Toledo Mudhens was Swayne Field. Probably the most famous minor league baseball team in the world, the Mudhens got their nickname in 1896 from jokes about the swamp-like condition of the outfield in Bay View Park.

Swayne Field, ca. 1950

"Little League"

 Pitching in Bowling Green Little League, 1970s.
Source: BGSU Archives

Sponsors of Little League teams provide professional-looking uniforms for their young players and an opportunity to learn discipline and teamwork while playing the game.

"I won't be happy until we have every boy in America between the ages of six and sixteen wearing a glove and swinging a bat." --Babe Ruth

"I think Little League is wonderful. It keeps the kids out of the house."
"Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets."--Yogi Berra

 Girls Joined, Too!
Source: BGSU Archives

Bowling Green Youth Sports provide girls with an opportunity to learn baseball skills. This young player tries her hand at fielding ground balls, batting, and throwing. As a result of the Women's Movement of the 1970s, girls today have a much wider choice of organized sports to play, through their schools and other public programs. The Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department offers a fine baseball facility in Carter Park.

  

BGSU Falcons

  Championship Baseball Team, 1921

  Championship Baseball Team, 1921
Source: BGSU Archives, courtesy Don A. Cunningham

Gathered on the steps of Williams Hall, Bowling Green State University's first championship baseball team commemorates its victory. Known as the "Normals" (for Bowling Green Normal College), the team defeated the Defiance Yellow Jackets, 8-3 on June 14, 1921.

Front Row, L-R: Morris Bistline, Henry Herr, Charles Clucas, Coach Fred G. Beyerman, Dallas March, Maryl Hoskinson, and Gurney Fry.
Second Row, L-R: Ivan Lake (manager), Forrest Smith, Orville Raberding, Roland Olnhausen, Ernest Etoll, Earl Wittmer, and Al McMann.
Not pictured: F. Gus Skibbie and Dean Switzer.

Home Run! Baseball at BGSU, 1944 
Source: BGSU Archives

The war years caused a serious disruption in intercollegiate athletics. Because BGSU was the host of V-12 and V-5 military training programs, sailors and marines were able to fill the ranks of varsity sports teams. However, the playing schedule and even the team rosters had to adapt to the requirements of the war effort. As this view shows, games played in what is now the central campus were very popular, with the fans making do with the best seating they could arrange.

Homer!
BGSU Falcons, 1946

  BGSU Falcons, 1947
Source: BGSU Archives

The mix-and-match nature of these Falcons' practice uniforms does not reflect the quality of their play that season. They earned ten wins in twelve starts, despite inclement weather and poor playing conditions.

Front Row: Mike Marko, Bill Lute, Owen Ernsthausen, Onyx Espen, Fred Ptrides, Cled Jones, Jim Knierim, Leo Kukiak, Warren Steller. Second Row: Ed Simmons, Ty Smith, Carl Szubski, Scott Street, Dewey Johnson, Howard Martin, Tom Inman, Harold Martin, Bill Bunt. Back Row: Bill Mossing, Nick Caputo, George Baldwin, Bill Nagley, Bud Leininger, George Bohanna, Bob Swarthout, Byron Powell.

 Warren E. Steller Field, BGSU, and its namesake, Coach Warren Steller

An all-round athlete himself, Warren Steller served as baseball coach of the Falcons for over thirty years. When a new stadium was constructed in 1964, the facility was named for him. Major league pitcher Orel Hershiser played here for the Falcons during his college career.

Stellar Field

Bibliography

THE PHOTOGRAPHS IN THIS ISSUE illustrate baseball through the years in Northwest Ohio.