Crow River Review CR Review - Region 7C Program 8/4/16 - Page 13

Crow River Revie Review Page 13 Improvements Continue To St. Boni Saints Home Field as the Host of 2016 Regional Playoffs The field at St. Boni also features Missile Park, which has a playground for kids to run around and play on. There is also plenty of room for youngsters to chase down foul balls as well. PHOTO BY BRUCE JOHNSON The Legend of St. Boni baseball By Jarrod Peterson and St. Bonifacius Centennial and Historical Society Baseball was part of the history of St. Bonifcacius for a long, long time. It’s likely that local Civil War veterans brought the game to town when they returned home in the mid1860s. Newspaper articles record baseball games played between local neighboring towns as far back as 1877. Newspapers from around 1900 indicated that formal meetings were called in St. Boni to organize teams, but there appears to have been no formal league. It seems that most of the games were unscheduled pick up games with sizeable side wagers. With so much at stake, it’s not surprising that many games did not end amicably, but instead with a challenge for a rematch, this time with impartial umpires. It’s unclear when the first leagues were formed, but St. Boni’s participation was, at best, irregular. With no city park, there were years when no team could be fielded. A century ago, the St. Boni Red Sox played at Kraemer Park, northeast of the Baptist Cementery. In 1931, the team moved to a field on Park Ave., across the highway from today’s park. Land for the current city park was bought from the church, and a field laid out in 1937. Home plate was in the northeast corner until 1939, when the WPA reconfigured the field, and built a limestone grandstand into the hill in the southwest corner of the park. All this time, baseball was America’s pastime and pas- sion; it was the dream of every St. Boni boy to play town ball, maybe even big league ball. For these youthful dreamers, the summer of 1959 — it doesn’t get any better than this! The Saints entered the state tournament with a 14game winning streak, but came up short, losing in the semifinals to Shakopee. But it did get better. In the next five years, the Saints would win three Minnesota State Amateur Baseball championships. In 1961, they defeated Perham 3-0 in the title game; in 1964 they topped Caledonia 1-0 in the title game; and in 1965, the Saints culminated an undefeated season with a 2-1 win over Rogers. The Watertown Red Devils rebuilt the roof of their dugout after the July tornado in 2015. They will be the co-host for the regions night games. PHOTO BY BRUCE JOHNSON