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Troy Kinney (L) and Jesse Zimmer, present and past high school and Legion coaches, helped last week as repairs were made to the north side of the 50-year-old fence at Solheim Veterans Field. Also helping were Jordan Neubauer, present high school and Legion coach, and Jules Zimmer, all under the direction of former player Nate House who provided the expertise for the repair job.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Solheim Veterans Field, as well as the 50th anniversary of the annual Princeton Legion Baseball Tournament, a gathering of former players is planned for Friday, July 19, during the tournament.

Anyone who has ever played Legion baseball for Princeton, coached the teams, or was a groundskeeper there, is invited to show up and be introduced to that evening’s crowd.

The introduction, planned to be done by decade, will take place before the Princeton-Rogers game that night that is scheduled for 8 p.m. but will likely be later than that because of the introductions.

The first tournament, under the direction of Howard Solheim for whom the field is named, was held in 1970 a few months after the field began being used for the first time during the high school season.

Solheim, a longtime baseball coach at Princeton High School, the coach for 24 years of the Legion team during which his teams had a 355-169 (.677) record, and also athletic director for the school, was the man behind the dream to get a lighted field in Princeton. He is a member of the Minnesota American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame.

With lots of volunteer help, and a huge amount of financial help from the local American Legion post, Solheim’s dream was realized.

In 1989 the field, previously called Veterans Field because of the Princeton American Legion’s backing, was renamed Solheim Veterans Field, with players from the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s on hand

The tournament next week at which former players will be introduced is the longest-running invitational tournament in Minnesota, and likely is one of the longest continuous tournaments in the United States.

Through the years the tournament gained a reputation as one of the best in Minnesota, once having a field of eight teams that included seven teams ranked in the top 15 in Minnesota.

Players are asked to show up as early as possible and go to an area inside the fence where their name and final year of play will be recorded for the introductions. Those planning to attend are also requested to contact teammates who might not know about the event.

Grand Rapids and defending champ Hutchinson are scheduled for the 5:30 game before the Princeton game, and others in the tournament are Marshall, St. Louis Park, Fridley and Robbinsdale (Armstrong).

For more information about the event contact Luther Dorr at 763-202-5718, or at luther.dorr@ecm-inc.com.

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