Baseball Recollections… Written in the mid 1950's
MEQUON, Wis. -- This excerpt was transcribed by CUW archivist Dr. Larry Sohn from speech notes penned for a presentation during the 1950's and left inside a copy of the Concordia Courier.
The anonymous author had knowledge of Concordia Milwaukee from as early as 1906 and provides fascinating insights.
The Concordia baseball diamond was roughly where the pool building, the Refectory, and Wunder Dorm now stand. Cedar Dorm was beyond first base. For a time President Albrecht's house and garden, as well as a little brick hospital, cramped the style of the right fielder. This was removed by Synod in time, and the president's house was moved to 31st St. and State Street, where it has stood for years. Where it still stands, the hospital was located across State Street, where it served as the home of Jacob Neck for several years.
This provided more elbow room in the northeasterly direction. On this field ball games were played year after year, almost all day on Saturdays and almost daily after 4 P.M., even during the daily noon your recess. Each class had a team, some of them uniformed. Good players were advanced into the line-ups of the Regulars or the Subs. Baseball was the king of sports for many years; since basketball, through popular, drew no outside spectators, as there was little standing room and no seats at all for the old gym. Baseball players were the attraction: "That's the left-fielder, he's a slugger." "There's the first baseman; he catches everything one-handed." "That's the pitcher, see his toe-plate? "
Splendid games were played here over the years. There were star-studded seasons, also injuries and broken windows, and indignant neighbors. Crowds lined the field along the base lines and behind the high backstop. Grimy laborers from the r.r. shops in the Menomonee Valley often lingered to watch on his way home from work; occasionally a motorman stopped his streetcar in the middle of the block to take in an inning or so. Some professors came regularly, especially Dr. Gaenssle, who always pitched the season's first ball.
There were thrills and fist fights. Invaders, largely Irish Catholics, came up regularly from the district south of Wisconsin Avenue, known as Merrill Park. They usually formed a heckling opposition no matter who the playing opposition was, as long as it opposed a "Fish College" (so called because of an epidemic of stomach aches caused by contaminated fish at Concordia College).
In those days when numerous business establishments and factories had teams, and likewise more schools because of the later closing date, many teams played here, including the Police Department's team. In 1925 Wunder Dormitory was completed, and that ended for all times, the history of our national game (the baseball variety) on our campus. Softball, for obvious reasons, grew in popularity and continues to furnish exercise and entertainment for many on the smaller State St. playground. The bell for the closing of the school year was finally set for early June, and that carried with it a ring of finality. Sic transit! Gloria mundi!