NEW ULM - In two weeks, Johnson Park will celebrate its 75th anniversary as the premier baseball park with a two-day celebration on beginning on Friday, June 20th.
The celebration kicks off, or rather, tees off, on Friday with a golf tournament at the New Ulm Country Club with the scramble tournament, which begins at 1 p.m.
"Cost is $70 for non-members and $50 for members (of the New Ulm Country Club)," said Bob Skillings. "That includes a bar-be-que after golf. If you want to play in this fun event, we will find a spot for you. It will be a fun tournament. You can call the New Ulm Country Club at 359-4410 for more information."
But the big day begins at noon Saturday with a baseball game between the New Ulm Brewers and New Ulm Kaiserhoff at Johnson Park with no admission charged for the game.
Beer and pop will cost just a dollar for that game. Prior to the game and during the game, people who have made New Ulm baseball what it is will be honored.
"We will have the Color Guard from New Ulm Legion Post 132 and LeAnna Fluegge will sing the National Anthem as she has for many years here," said Skillings.
The first pitch will be thrown out by the duo of Bob Skillings and Herb Schaper. They have put hundreds of hours into this enormous project.
Three retired New Ulm umpires - Erv Jobe, Don Brand and Ader Wieland will be honored prior to he game. During the game, there will be a different Public Address announcer each inning. Those include Jim Bartels of KNUJ Radio, (who will also MC the banquet later in the day), former mayor "Red" Wyczawski, current mayor Bob Buessman, President ot Schell's Brewing Company Ted Marti, former PA announcers Marty Steffl and Bob Reinhart with Jess Roiger who has run the scoreboard for over 30 years. Gordy Palmer and Skillings will also announce. During the game, prizes will be drawn for with every person getting a ticket for the drawing and also some fun facts about Johnson Park trivia in its 75-year history.
The game will also be broadcast on KNUJ Radio with Tom Wheeler doing the honors.
That will be followed by the banquet at Turner Hall with the social hour beginning at 5 p.m. and the banquet starting promptly at 6 p.m. Then comes what will prove to be an amazing presentation put together by Schaper, who has spent unknown amount of time putting together the film history of Johnson Park.
"I have seen some sneak previews," said co-chair Skillings. "We will be honoring 16 state champions - I have seen the DVD of the 1941 and 1943 New Ulm State Amateur Champions and they are very nice. People are going to be amazed."
Also putting tons of time and effort has been Deb Steinbach with the DVDs.
"There will be DVDs available for sale," said Skillings. "And they are very professionally done. Deb has done an amazing job on these."
Skillings said that there are former players who are coming from California, Florida and all over.
Skillings commented that the production that Schaper and Steinbach have pieced together is worth the price of admission."
The Flying Buttress Film Company (Jack Beranek and John Guggisberg) which is new to New Ulm. are putting together a film on Johnson Park.
"That will also add to the program," Skillings said. "Their short film will be shown before and after the banquet."
Also that night the New Ulm Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame will honor new inductees in Brady Ranweiler, Cory Schaefer, Brad Weber and the late Frank Stuckey.
Tickets for the banquet are $25 each and they are limited to 350 tickets for the banquet.
You can contact Bob Skillings at 354-7593 or at Southpoint Credit.
"We also want to thank sponsors Schell's Brewing, New Ulm Telcom, New Ulm Park and Recreation along with Citizen's Bank, New Ulm Chamber and Visitor's Bureau. The New Ulm Baseball Association, New Ulm Junior Baseball and the New Ulm Legion Baseball Committee also have contributed. He also wanted to thank KNUJ Radio and The Journal with the advertising.
All in all, June 21st will be a day that you want to circle on your calendar. It will be special.