With the cancellation of spring sports due to the coronavirus pandemic and the delay of the ever-popular game of baseball this summer, the Herald decided to revisit the old days of town baseball in Belle Plaine. Every week will feature a brief summary of town baseball games, exactly as they were originally described in the Herald.
The first baseball team in BP was named the Red Caps, who wore uniforms of a navy blue shirt with a lace front, blue pants with a white stripe, dark red stockings, and a red flat top cap with two white bands. Their roster included pitcher Frank Wagener, catcher A. Irwin, first baseman J. Conway, second baseman W. Hagen, third baseman M. Schmitt, short stop E. Chamberlain, leftfielder L. Germmet, centerfielder F. Hally, and rightfielder T. Bloedel. A second baseball team of younger players, named the Blue Caps, organized shortly after the Red Caps.
The series begins this week with highlights from 1885 - the first year of baseball in BP. So let’s sit back, grab some peanuts or popcorn, and try to imagine the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd, as we read about BP town baseball from yesteryear.
June 11, 1885
A base ball club has been organized. Their first game was played on Sunday. They played well to commence with notwithstanding that some of the boys got beautifully laid out.
June 18, 1885
Our base ball clubs are getting warmed up for business. A challenge from some neighboring nine will soon be in order.
June 25, 1885
The base ball club has been very successful in collecting money for the purchase of uniforms and other necessities for playing.
The Jordan White Caps played the B.P. baseball club on the latter’s beautiful grounds at this place on Sunday afternoon, which, of course, was easily won by the former. Taking into consideration that the B.P. club had only a week’s practice while the Jordan club has been organized for two or three seasons, they did very well. Our boys must have been a little excited at the beginning of the game for they let their opponents have it all their way until the last few innings when they managed to hold them pretty nearly even. One thing certain, the Jordan club has encouraged the B.P. boys to take considerably more interest in the game, so much so that they are about to order uniforms and will do more practicing so that at some future day we may expect to hear of their getting away with the Jordan professionals. Quite a few gentlemen with their ladies took a drive up from Jordan to witness the game as well as many for this place attended. Everyone present seemed to take more or less interest in the game, which passed off so pleasantly that it was enjoyed by all. We would be pleased to have our Jordan friends call on us again some day. The B.P. boys will, of course, return the compliment aftera little more practice on the diamond. Frank Wagener deserves considerable praise as a catcher. If the B.P. club had nine such players, the Jordanites might have found their match.
July 9, 1885
The base ball club struck a bonanza with their lemonade and ice cream stand at the Park on the Fourth. Some $85 was taken in, so they now have the wherewith to rig themselves out in handsome uniforms.
July 23, 1885
The B.P. Red Caps played the White Caps on the latter’s grounds on Saturday last and quite a number from here accompanied the club. The Red Caps think the Jordan umpire was altogether too partial to his own club, that he assisted the White Caps in trying to whitewash the Red Caps every inning but failed twice, which the latter club considered a great victory under the existing circumstances. The B.P. Red Caps say they would just like to try the White Caps again on their own grounds here as they are not accustomed to batting a ball up hill as was the case in Jordan and above all they want a B.P. umpire.
Our base ball clubs made a good appearance in their new uniforms. The first and second nine both have dark blue pants with red stripe and red stockings; while in belts and caps they are different, the former being red and the latter blue.
Aug. 13, 1885
The base ball grounds are getting to be quite a resort on Sunday afternoon with both the Red and Blue Caps playing.
Aug. 27, 1885
Our Blue Caps, or second nine, have managed to come out victorious over the Red Caps for two games back. We think the latter club had better look to their laurels.
Sept. 3, 1885
The Blue Caps got badly rattled on Sunday last. The score stood 71 to 23 in favor of the Red Caps. Judging from the above figure, it was a pretty ‘phat’ game.