A few days ago I heard that the Minnesota Twins, after only 12 years at their new field, are planning to install a new scoreboard with a price tag of $33 million. Meanwhile, at beautiful Solheim Veterans Field in Princeton there is a move afoot to replace, at a cost of about one-thousandth of that figure ($33,000 range), a scoreboard that has been in place for at least 35 years, a board that is outdated and is unrepairable.
The committee that operates the field, as well as overseeing the American Legion baseball program, recently spent a good chunk of money to replace the old lights, a move that was needed and has enhanced what was already a wonderful place to play and watch baseball. The difference is very noticeable.
That expenditure came as the group also began to discuss replacing the scoreboard, a scoreboard that went up in the 1980s to replace the original scoreboard that came with the new field in 1970, a scoreboard that featured numbers that would be placed by hand each half inning, young kids sometimes squabbling over the right to be that person. The scoreboard that was new in the '80s has been on the blink for a few years and is in its final days of life as three tournaments, with 35-40 games, take place over four weekends, including the 51st annual Princeton Legion tournament last weekend, the longest-running tournament of its kind in Minnesota.
News of the plan to purchase a new scoreboard has spread quickly by word of mouth, as well as on a funding site. Examples of the news spreading earlier this week came in a $250 donation from a former player, a $1,000 donation from another former player, and a $300 donation Thursday night at the Sub State tournament from a former player. Fittingly, all three of those donations came from players who had played high school, Legion and town team baseball for Princeton. Some of the businesses that have signs on the outfield fence have included scoreboard donations with their sign rental checks. Others — individuals and businesses — around town are talking about donating, and negotiations are ongoing with some Princeton entities that have expressed an interest in helping the cause.
Part of the plan for the new scoreboard calls for placing it beyond the fence in left center field, thus giving better sight lines for everyone than the present one.
There are many, many ex-players who have had the good fortune to play at the field over six decades and the hope is that some will see their way to helping out with the scoreboard. There are also countless fans who have watched games — youth, high school, Legion, town team — since 1970 and the committee is hoping for support from that group.
I was fortunate to be the public address guy, and scorekeeper, for the first American Legion tournament there in 1970, sitting up in those wooden bleachers behind home plate long before a press box was added. A concession stand eventually was added, as well as storage buildings, some new light standards, and a few years ago a higher fence behind the plate. The fences have been painted many times, sometimes by hand and often with paint donations from a local company. The dugouts have changed, and there have been many other changes throughout the 52-year life of the field, a field owned by the city but supported by tens and tens and tens of thousands of dollars since 1970 by the local American Legion post.
It's a field that still draws compliments from visiting teams and fans, fans from Marshall and Hutchinson going out of their way to pass on those compliments during last week's Legion tournament. And fans through the decades have complimented the annual tournament, a tournament that wouldn't be what it is without a wonderful facility that has been the envy of visiting teams and fans.
Here's hoping that those of you who have played there, and/or watched games there, will help out with the drive to replace a worn-out scoreboard. If you send a check it should be made out to Solheim Veterans Field and can be sent to Jules Zimmer at 1113 Fairway Drive, Princeton, 55371.
New lights and a new scoreboard. What's next? Maybe a covered grandstand? That would be wonderful!
PRINCETON SPORTS MEMORIES
Aug. 3, 1961 - The midget baseball team lost 5-4 in the playoffs to Milaca despite leading 4-0 in the final inning. Dale Thiel had a run-scoring double.
July 28, 1966 - Art Skarohlid, fresh from the Legion playoffs, pitched for the Princeton town team in a 3-2 win over Palmer. He gave up only one hit over the last seven innings.
Aug. 4, 1971 - After Dan Kne pitched a no-hitter and lost to Pine City in the Legion baseball playoffs, the team reached the finals but lost to Pine City for the title after winning the first of two final games. . . . Princeton beat Monticello 7-1 in town team baseball as Ron Deglmann struck out 16.
Aug. 5, 1976 - Dan Kne pitched a two-hit shutout and struck out 14 in a town team 9-0 win over Forest Lake in league playoffs. The team was 18-6 at that point . . . The Legion baseball team won its fourth straight North End League playoff title, beating Cambridge 15-9 as Nick Steinhagen and Kevin VanHooser homered.
July 30, 1981 - Tom Daun won the senior men's title with a round of 74 at Rum River Golf Club . . . Steve Wankel (7-4) struck out 10 in a 5-0 win over Cambridge in Legion baseball playoffs. Jeff Johnson and Les Nelson each had three hits.
July 31, 1986 - Karen Bromberg and Troy Anderson won junior golf titles at Rum River Golf Club . . . PHS grad Chris Brown played for the Outstate team in the high school all-star football game.
Aug. 1, 1991 - Mike Swalboski and Jason Miller beat Hinckley as the Princeton Panthers advanced to the Region 1C baseball tournament . . . Dick Southard and Marianne Ossell won senior titles at Rum River Golf Club.
Aug. 1, 1996 - Lu Schwochert had an 82 and Jan Rosen an 84 as Princeton won the women's Five Star golf tournament with a record 515, 9 strokes better than the previous best . . . Jason Miller and Jeremy Hennessey got the wins as the Princeton Panthers swept Chisago Lakes 10-0 and 16-5 to advance to the region tournament.
July 26, 2001 - The Legion baseball team got three shutouts in four playoff games to win the North End playoff title and pitchers didn't give up a run over a 19-inning span. Luke Bakken pitched a two-hit 8-0 win over Cambridge and Brent Julson, with one inning of relief from Tony Roehl, got a 5-0 win over St. Francis. Dane Larsen had four hits in the two games . . .The Princeton Panthers beat Hinckley 15-5 to win its division of the Eastern Minny, both teams entering the game with 16-3 league records. The Panthers had 19 hits. The top four hitters in the lineup were hitting .424 as a group and went 11-for-16 in that game. Leadoff hitter Chad Carling was hitting .382 with a team-leading .507 on-base percentage, Tony Stay was at .407 and had driven in 29 runs. Jesse Zimmer was hitting .450 with 49 RBIs in 109 at-bats, and Brian Dorr was hitting .451 with 39 RBIs in 82 at-bats, both players averaging an RBI about every two at-bats.. The team average was .356 and the team was averaging 11 runs per game, with 11 players at .300 or better.
July 27, 2006 - The Princeton Panthers got two forfeit wins to end the regular season, one over Isle and one over Hinckley when the Hinckley manager was ejected and didn't leave the field quick enough to satisfy the umpire . . . The Princeton team placed second in the annual Five Star golf tournament, after winning seven of the last 10 years. Kelly Dorr led the Princeton team with an 81 and placed second individually among the players from five towns . . . The Legion baseball team (17-6) earned the No. 1 seed from the North End League for District 10 playoffs by beating Cambridge 8-4 and 7-3. Brandon Knoll and Scott Roehl getting the wins. Zach Neubauer drove in three runs in the first game, two on a homer, and Vince Miller drove in two in the second game.
July 28, 2011 - The Princeton Panthers lost 10-5 to Mora in a wild game that had been suspended a week earlier because of the heat. Princeton had a 4-1 lead and then a Princeton batter got hit and a Mora batter got hit. Both benches were warned at that point about hitting batters and two pitchers from each team were later ejected when batters were hit. Nine runs in this eighth inning gave Mora the win.
July 28, 2016 - The Legion baseball team (17-7) repeated its Sub State 13 title to return to the state tournament. Sam Larson beat Buffalo 3-2 on Saturday at Princeton as Gehrig Scheffel drove in two runs and then, with the final game moved to Sunday because of Saturday rain, Luke Hallbeck pitched a three-hitter in a 1-0 win and drove in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh afterScheffel opened the inning with a double. Earlier in the tournament the No. 4-seeded Princeton team beat Big Lake 2-1 as Hallbeck struck out 10. The team then lost 3-2 to Buffalo as Tanner Kinney had three hits. Damon Rademacher then beat Zimmerman 2-1 as remaining games were changed from nine innings to seven because of the heat. Princetonthen beat St. Francis 12-5 in an elimination game as Kinney got the win. Kinney and Joe Bernard each had four hits, Lucas Voce three.
(Dorr is the former editor of the Princeton Eagle (2 years) and Princeton Union-Eagle (31 years), and has written about sports in the area for the past 54 years.)
Princeton Memory Lane
(Note: Memory Lane will be published once every month with items from that month's editions of the Princeton Union and Princeton Union-Eagle of 25 50, 75, 100 and 125 years ago.)
July, 1996 — The Holiday Foods grocery store (now the Family Pathways Thrift Store located on the west side of Rum River Drive South) was to be changed to a Coborn's Supermarket on Aug. 5. An announcement was made that Coborn's was purchasing Holiday Foods stores in Princeton, Mora, Morris and Long Prairie. Holiday Foods came to Princeton in 1979 and was known as Holiday Village.
Greg Furzland and Robin Suhsen resigned as Princeton City Council members (Furzland was the mayor) and the council decided at its initial July meeting to leave those two positions open until the November election. Both resigned because they were moving out of city limits.
Deb Peters of Princeton, 39, was elected president of the national Women of Today organization that includes 4,320 members from 228 chapters in 17 states.The election put Peters, a zone manager for Pillsbury flour sales who works out of her home, in charge of 13 Women of Today staff members and the 17 Women of Today state presidents. She was also honored as the outstanding Women of Today national officer for the previous year.
Connie Riley of Princeton, 24, had a lot to write home about from last Dec. 12 through April 8 of this year as she took part in the beginning of supplying air traffic control out of a Hungarian air base for a historic North Atlantic Treaty Organization airlift into western Bosnia. Riley, a senior airman, joined the Air Force in 1990 after graduating from Princeton High School in 1989.
The Princeton Marching Tigers band returned from a trip to Michigan and Canada that included participation in three well-known parades. The band won the Class B competition at The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Mich. in the National Cherry Royale Parade, placed fourth among nine bands at the National Heritage Parade, and seventh out of 11 bands in the National Junior Royale Parade. The band was to perform at its annual ice cream social at the high school football field after returning.
Princeton businessman Frank Weisbrod, in his 16th year as a county commissioner in Isanti County, was being challenged by Tom Pagel after a redistricting process.
Councilman Don Whitcomb was appointed to be mayor after the resignation of Greg Furzland.
Headline: "School Board says no to request for funding of adult farm program." The district had previously sponsored such a program but it was transferred to a community college in Brainerd and the instructor, a Princeton High School teacher, wanted it reinstated.
July, 1971 — The Princeton Union building on the west edge of town near the airport houses the home office of ECM Publishers and printing equipment for the paper and the shoppers from Princeton, Milaca, Mora, Braham, Rush City, Elk River and Osseo. Foley is also a member of the group.
Wayne Pike of Princeton was elected first vice president of the Minnesota State Auctioneers Association at its June 21 convention. He will become president in 1972. Pike was also recognized as the youngest licensed auctioneer in the group.
The four-color photograph on the front page of this week's Princeton Union is a first in the 95-year history of the paper. We are proud of it and congratulate Ken Jacobs and his crew for their fine accomplishment. (Note: Later on, in the 1980s after Elmer Andersen became publisher, the Union-Eagle was one of the first papers in the state to start doing front-page color, and then began doing front- and back-page color before any other papers in the area, the paper being among pioneers in the state as far as the use of color)
The Princeton Retail Merchants Association will hold its annual Crazy Days on Saturday, July 24. At the same time the group announced it will hold its second annual Polka Days. (Note: Polka Days was the forerunner of the Rum River Festival.)
The new director of the high school band, Ron Moulton, is organizing a Band Booster Club and promises "a precision marching unit." (See item above from July 1996.)
The Federal Aviation Administration district office reported a plane crash in a hayfield a half mile northeast of Princeton on July 29. There were no injuries. The accident occurred about 5:30 p.m. when Robert Bryant, Zimmerman, attempted to take off.
Chief of Police Carl Boehm has issued a special plea to bicyclists to ride more carefully. The plea comes because police, as well as villagers, have observed too many careless bicyclists riding in the Princeton area.
July, 1946 — Thirteen Boy Scouts from Princeton demonstrated they are real woodsmen by completing a walking trip to Canada, during which they covered 175 miles on foot and about 150 by boat. The only boy to leave the party before the trip ended was Duane Wikeen who was called to report for service in the Coast Guard. He has gone to San Francisco. The boys made the trip under the direction of Scoutmaster John Slaymaker.
A tornado cut a path 50 to 100 feet wide for a stretch of 2 1/2 miles northeast of Princeton on July 14. There were no injuries and the damage was minimal.
Next Sunday the First Congregational Church of this village will celebrate its 90th anniversary at the morning worship at 11:00 and an afternoon session at 2:00.
Dr. W. R. Blomberg, Princeton health officer, states that this village has been touched by a mild epidemic of infantile paralysis that is reported to be prevalent throughout the state. Practically all the cases are adolescent or young children.
Lige Southard was appointed marshal to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Mervin Borchard. Borchard is working for the Chevrolet garage under the provisions of the G.I. bill.
Clarence Leroy Hertel, 40, a veteran of World War II, was the first victim of poliomyelitis in the Princeton village. He died at the University of Minnesota hospital Tuesday.
K & K Butter and Egg company of New York has purchased the local Wolter warehouse and on August 15 expects to be open for the purchase of eggs. The K & K company has operated for 30 years in New York. It buys butter in some localities but in Princeton will confine itself merely to the purchase of eggs. The company expects to draw from a territory in a radius of 25 miles from Princeton. The eggs will be processed here and shipped by carload lots to the New York market.
All parties interested in serving meals at the Mille Lacs County Fair from August 21 to 24 should submit bids for the dining hall not later than August 10. — R. C. Angstman, Secy.
July, 1921 — (Editor's note: It was very unusual in 1921 for a weekly Minnesota paper to report on anything well out of its coverage era, other than a war, especially because there was no television coverage. Editor Robert Dunn likely listened to a radio report.) Georges Carpentier was knocked out in Jersey City Saturday by Jack Dempsey in the fourth round of the most thrilling championship fight of modern times, but the loser of the duel is appraised more highly than the winner. Carpentier was the soul of the fight but Dempsey was the body of it. There was a roar from the audience, when for half a minute, it appeared that Dempsey was slipping toward defeat. The spectators had not forgotten his lack of a war record.
Mr.and Mrs. Owen Newton and Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Jones left on Sunday for a motor trip to Clay Center, Iowa, to visit relatives. They expect to camp along the route.
J.C. Herdliska is having a cement driveway put in at his oil station so that machines may have easy access to the filling pump.
On Monday (July 15) Elmer Hatch picked six ears of White Flint field corn on his farm which measured from 8 to 12 inches in length. This is a fine showing for corn that was not planted until May 15.
A total of 170 men are working like beavers on the Zimmerman and Elk River road clearing stretches of land and hoisting and shoveling the soil around, according to the plan laid down by the highway engineers.
By a close score of 3 of 1 the Foley aggregation of ball tossers went down to defeat on their home grounds last Sunday before the vicious onslaught of Manke's fence busters.
Nial Neumann's Zimtown warriors invaded this territory last Sunday to do battle with Manke's outfit, but the advertised battle developed into a rout. The final count stood 14 to 3 in favor of Princeton.
Bill Roos leaves tonight for Duluth for a fortnight's cruise with the United States naval reserve, of which he is a member. The cruise will extend from Duluth to Chicago and back.
Last Friday fire partly destroyed the big chicken house of T.W. Thompson in Greenbush Township and had it not been for the prompt arrival of neighbors, who assisted in fighting the fire, in all probability other farm buildings would have burned.
July, 1986 — Catholics are preparing for a rousing celebration next Saturday at Mahoney's. All kinds of sports will be on the program and an excellent time is promised to all that attend.
Orrin Rogers was caught on Mille Lacs Lake in the squall Saturday and drowned. T. E. Potts saw him working ten minutes before on the sails as if something had gone wrong and two Indians saw the squall capsize the boat. The oars have been found the but the boat was heavily ballasted and sank. Parties are attempting to locate the spot but so far all efforts are unavailing. He was alone in the boat.
The rumor was current in St. Cloud and Monticello Saturday and Sunday that Sheriff Mark had been shot by tramps. He has not even had occasion to feed a tramp, there being very few who make this town, and consequently it is enjoying the best of health.
Work was begun on the bridge across the main river last Tuesday evening. Employment will be furnished by 12 men and the bridge will be thoroughly repaired by August 1.
The brick yards commenced burning brick again and things will be kept hot in that vicinity until the fall freeze.
Some excitement was caused last week by the announcement that the W.C.T.U. would take steps to prevent Sunday ball playing in this village. (Editor's note: The WCTU was the Women's Christian Temperance Union, one of its platforms being the abstinence from alcohol.)
Why doesn't someone start a bicycle club in Princeton? Wheels are numerous and a nice social organization might be effected.
The ice cream social given by the high school baseball club on T. H. Caley's lawn last Monday evening was a success socially and financially. The boys netted nearly $15 and with that amount subscribed are ready to or der their suits.
The road to Mille Lacs Lake is in such good condition that cyclists are now taking runs to that point on their wheels.