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  Badger Amateur Baseball Association
Description: Baseball League

 

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    PAST CHAMPIONS

History of the “BABA”

            1946    -  present

        May 1, 2009

GRAND CHAMPIONS

Year

Champion

Runner-Up

1

1946

Leopolis

New London

2

1947

Gresham

Big Falls

3

1948

Big Falls

Gresham

4

1949

Big Falls

Neopit

5

1950

Wittenberg

Clintonville

6

1951

Gresham

Weyauwega

7

1952

Morris

New London

8

1953

Tigerton

Waupaca

9

1954

Scandinavia

Bonduel

10

1955

Morris 

Elderon

11

1956

Clintonville

Waupaca

12

1957

Clintonville

Eau Claire Dells

13

1958

New London

Clintonville

14

1959

Waupaca

Clintonville

15

1960

New London

Caroline

16

1961

Clintonville

Waupaca

17

1962

Clintonville

New London

18

1963

Clintonville

New London

19

1964

Marion

Clintonville

20

1965

Marion

Waupaca

21

1966

Menominee

Birnamwood

22

1967

Gresham

Clintonville

23

1968

Clintonville

Marion

24

1969

Symco

Almon

25

1970

Star Neva

Waupaca

26

1971

Star Neva

Waupaca

27

1972

Waupaca

Wittenberg

28

1973

Marion

Polar

29

1974

Waupaca

Hatley

30

1975

Clintonville

Almon

31

1976

Waupaca

Antigo

32

1977

Waupaca

Antigo

33

1978

Waupaca

Birnamwood

34

1979

Waupaca

Monico

35

1980

Waupaca

Monico

36

1981

Deerbrook

Clintonville

37

1982

Waupaca

Deerbrook

38

1983

Shawano

Polar

39

1984

Wittenberg

Bowler

40

1985

Rhinelander

Waupaca

41

1986

Clintonville

Birnamwood

42

1987

Waupaca

Birnamwood

43

1988

Waupaca

Little Falls

44

1989

Scandinavia

Wittenberg

45

1990

Plover

Wittenberg

46

1991

Clintonville

Birnamwood

47

1992

Little Falls

Plover

48

1993

Menominee

Tigerton

49

1994

Waupaca

Birnamwood

50

1995

Menominee

Leopolis

51

1996

Little Falls

Clintonville

52

1997

Little Falls

New London

53

1998

Marion

Little Falls

54

1999

Clintonville

Little Falls

55

2000

Little Falls

Plover

56

2001

Plover

Aniwa

57

2002

New London

Little Falls

58

2003

Plover

Clintonville

59

2004

Tigerton

Clintonville

60

2005

Clintonville

Aniwa

61

2006

Little Falls

Clintonville

62

2007

Little Falls

Waupaca

63

2008

Clintonville

Elderon

64

2009

Marion

Elderon

65

2010

Waupaca

Tigerton

66

2011

Waupaca

Tigerton

67

2012

Neopit

Elderon

68

2013

Clintonville

Elderon

69

2014

Tigerton

Plover

70

2015

Clintonville

Elderon

71

2016

Gresham

Tigerton

72

2017

Waupaca

Birnamwood

73

2018

Little Falls

Waupaca

74

2019

See you next Labor Day weekend

 

 

 

 

 

The BABA (Badger Amateur Baseball Association)
was born April 03, 1946 at a meeting held at the Clintonville City Hall.
Nearly 150 people attended the meeting, which was presided over by Mr. A.N. Brunner of Leopolis.  A new organization was being formed.  That organization, the dream of Brunner, brought together the Wolf River League, the Shawano County League, and the Little Wolf League.

Four divisions comprised the B.A.B.A. in 1946.

The Southern Division
        Shawano, Clintonville, Marion, New London, Waupaca, Manawa, Iola,         
         Scandinavia, and Weyauwega.
The Western Division
         Leopolis, Tilleda, Bowler, Morris, Tigerton, Caroline, Marion, and Neopit.
The Eastern Division
        Bonduel, Cecil, Gillett, Pulaski, and Krakow. 
The Northern Division
       Wittenberg, Birnamwood, Eland, Hately, Galloway, Elderon, Almon, and Rosholt.

  At that meeting A.N. Brunner was elected Commissioner.

Albert “A.N”. Brunner was born in 1894.  At the age of 17 he began his baseball career.  That playing career spanned 23 years.  A.N. Brunner loved the game of baseball.  In 1925 the Shawano County League was formed.  Elected as its first President was A.N. Brunner.  He held that post until it merged with the Wolf River and Little Wolf League to form the B.A.B.A. in 1946.  Mr. Brunner held the post of B.A.B.A. Commissioner until his death in 1973.  All in all A.N. Brunner was involved in area baseball for about 62 years.  In 1976 the Leopolis Baseball Team dedicated their baseball park as “A.N. Brunner Field.”   

 

The basic by-laws of the B.A.B.A. have not changed much since being put together in 1946.  The league was formed on the premise that the league would be comprised of amateur baseball players.  And those players would be local.  Teams were not allowed to bring in “ringers” from outside the boundaries of the B.A.B.A.  A.N. Brunner wanted ALL teams big or small to have a chance at the end of the season to win the championship.  Teams could only list players from a radius of 10 miles from their ballpark, unless they were granted a release by the other B.A.B.A teams.  A practice still in place today.  Mr. Brunner was also a promoter of the league.  Early records indicate his displeasure with several teams when they failed to get box scores in to secretary Melvin Lemke on time so they could be published in the area newspapers.  Notes say Leopolis was a big violator of that rule.  That frustration still haunts the B.A.B.A leaders in 2009.

Mr. Brunner demanded that managers and team leaders know the rules.

 

As the 2011 season sets to begin this year the four divisions that make up the B.A.B.A are as follows.  Eastern – Clintonville (2008 Champions), Gresham, Marion, Menominee, Shawano, and Neopit.  Western - Bowler, Caroline, Leopolis, Little Falls, Tilleda, and Tigerton.  The South Central - Plover, Scandinavia, Manawa, New London, Lanark, Waupaca (2010,2011 Champs), Weymont, and Rosholt.  Northern Division - Birnamwood, Almon, Eland, Aniwa, Wittenberg, Hately, and Elderon. 

 

Craig Brei is the Commissioner of the B.A.B.A.  The Vice Commissioner is Nate Krake, Anthony Buss Jr. North President, Dave Peterson South/Central President, and Joe Kristof is East/West President.

 

Many teams will hold Hall of Fame ceremonies throughout the season this year.  Those games are indicated by (HOF) next to the game.

 

This summer come out to one of the parks in the B.A.B.A. Admission is STILL only $2.00 per adult.  Kids get in the games free.  Where baseball is still viewed as a game, not a business as some of the multi-millionaire professional players like to call it.  Sit back and listen to the some of the old timers in the stands talk about their playing days.  Smell the fresh cut grass, the popcorn being popped, and the unforgettable fragrance of steaming hot dogs topped with kraut.  Maybe just for a few hours you can relax and let the game of baseball take you back to the days of your youth.  When things seemed much simpler.  When the joints didn’t ache so much.  And just maybe you’ll leave the park with some newfound friends.

 

* I would like to acknowledge that some information for the above was taken from April Malueg’s “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” book, Marion Advertiser, and Clintonville Tribune articles from years past.
 
--------------------------------------------------------------

South Central Baseball Memories

taken from the May 19, 1992
 Stevens Point Journal
By
BRIAN EARNEST

A few years back Major League Baseball organized a public relations campaign centered around the slogan "Baseball Fever, Catch It!”

Baseball fever, however, was nothing new to Portage County. As early as 1901 area communities were becoming involved in state-wide organized baseball leagues.

From the State Baseball League of the early 1900s to today's Badger Amateur Baseball Association (BABA), area players have always had the opportunity to compete in baseball well after their high school and college playing days were over.

These days, recreational baseball is at a low tide in popularity on the adult level, with more athletes choosing to be involved in softball, golf, volleyball and other recreational sports.

But during a period from the 1920s through the 1960s, baseball was not only the country's national past time, it was just about the only game in town.

In 1930, not fewer than seven different leagues were flourishing that involved teams from Portage County. Three became particularly popular: the Central Wisconsin Amateur Baseball Association, Wisconsin Valley League and the Portage County League, which ultimately developed into the most competitive and long running league of the bunch.

Baseball in the area can be traced back to the 1880s and 1890s when a Stevens Point team competed in a loosely organized schedule against teams from Marshfield, Chippewa Falls, Portage, Appleton and Green Bay.

By 1900, Stevens Point and the surrounding cities were fielding teams and traveling considerable distances by train, accompanied by their fans, to find prospective opponents.

The first official state league, dubbed appropriately enough the “State Baseball League,” was formed in 1901 and included teams from Stevens Point, Marshfield, Wausau, Appleton, Kaukauna, Oshkosh and Milwaukee. Stevens Point did not apply for admission to the league, but reportedly was included anyway because “of its reputation as a baseball center being so high that it was necessary only to show interest that it wanted to join.”

Various leagues in the area came and went until the 1930s, when the Portage County League emerged as one of the top sports attractions in the area. Membership in the league varied over the years, with Almond, Amherst, Amherst Junction, Lanark, DuBay, Custer, Lake Emily, Mill Creek, Iola, Nelsonville, Plover, Rosholt, Stevens Point and Buena Vista among the perennial entries.

Sunday was always game day, and news involving the league dominated the sports pages.

“We had a lot of good ball players back in those days,” said Bud Berry, a longtime member of the Buena Vista team. “And we used to get big crowds. We'd pass the hat for 25 or 50 cents a crack and come up with $500." “It was serious ball back then. We played pretty hard.”

Sometimes, the players may have played a little too hard, according to George Roman, who played in the league in 1950s and 60s. In fact, Roman, who played along-side two brothers, Fran and Dave, and his father Francis, admits a few of the principles of sportsmanship that he now preaches to his players as coach of the Stevens Point Area Senior High team went out the window on any given Sunday.

‘"I bet there wasn't a diamond in the county that we didn't have a fight at,” said Roman with a laugh. “We'd get up and go to confession on Sunday morning and then get in a fight on Sunday afternoon. It was unbelievable.”

Berry and Roman both recalled a fight back in Roman's college days that occurred following a collision at home plate. "One of the craziest things I've ever seen,” said Berry. “It was a brawl, there were guys everywhere. I must have had 10 guys on top of me,” said Roman. “That was the end of the game. They decided to call it in the seventh inning."

And the fans usually did their share to add to the festive atmosphere. "The fans would stand down the foul lines and ride you! Oh, man, you had to have thick skin,” said Roman. “It wasn't uncommon to get 200-300 people, and they'd be in the stands betting. We had some real rivalries. That was the heyday of baseball in this area."

Alas, those times are gone, albeit not forgotten.

The County League began to dwindle in popularity in the late 1960s and eventually folded for good in the early ‘70s. Only the eight team BABA league, which includes teams from Plover, Lanark, Iola and Scandinavia, remains in the area.

“I think it got to the point where nobody wanted to spend three or four hours in the hot sun on a Sunday when you could play softball and be done in an hour,” said Joe Dernbach, another veteran of the County League. “The older I get, the more I think we don't have those kind of ballplayers anymore.”

“We had a lot of great players,” agreed Roman. “I know of a lot of guys in that league who played college ball and went on to play pro ball. It wasn't unusual for every team to have a couple of guys who played pro ball. Talking about that league brings back a lot of memories.”

The Portage County Historical Society Website is hosted courtesy of the
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Archives and Area Research Center

 



 

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