New Ulm Kaiserhoff amateur baseball team folds after 48 years in New Ulm

After 48 years of playing amateur baseball at Johnson Park, New Ulm Kaiserhoff has folded.

The decision was made Wednesday night at the monthly meeting of the New Ulm Baseball Association (NUBA) but was not made public until all Kaiserhoff players could be notified.

Currently there were not enough players to field a team.

“The Kaiserhoff had a long and successful history,” NUBA President Bob Skillings said about the team that began in 1969. “We are sorry to have to do this but with as many local amateur baseball teams that there are outside of New Ulm that New Ulm players are playing with it is too difficult to field two teams. We hope that this way we can strengthen one team [the New Ulm Brewers] instead of two teams trying to field a competitive team.”

With the Kaiserhoff folding there are now 10 cities that support two or more amateur teams — Chaska, Austin, Bemidji, Shakopee, Cold Spring, Moorhead (three teams) Milroy, Prior Lake, Fairmont and Rochester (three teams). Mankato is also down to one team.

And keeping Kaiserhoff, who won the 1980 Class B state championship, has been an on-going issue over the recent years.

Skillings said that he was on the board in the late 90s “and it was almost an yearly battle for enough players. But for a while it always seemed to work out that we had enough players. But the important thing to our board is that we always field one strong team and going to one team now will accomplish that.”

In reality, New Ulm supports more than just the Brewers. Hanska, Essig, Courtland and Searles are teams with the majority of their players coming from New Ulm.

“Look at the rosters of the area teams close to New Ulm, and you see players from New Ulm on them,” Skillings said. “It is not that they do not want to play in New Ulm but they have friends that play with another team and they want to play with them.”

It is also ends the loyal sponsorship of the team by the Kaiserhoff restaurant.

“Jan Veigel and the late Don Veigel have been great supporters of New Ulm baseball all of these years and that was another reason why it was hard to make this decision. Our board thanks them for all of their support,” Skillings said.

Another factor that may have led to the Kaiserhoff folding was the inability of the Kaiserhoff to be admitted to the Tomahawk East League in recent years.

“I think that hurt,” Skillings said. “We’ve heard that one of the issues for Kaiserhoff players is the amount of travel. I would say that had we been accepted we would have had more players and we would not have to fold the team.”

“New Ulm baseball is a strong activity,” Skillings said. “We have Junior Baseball, VFW and Legion so there are a lot of people behind the baseball programs putting in time. So we would like to see those that are benefiting from them acknowledge these programs that they have gone through by playing and supporting the programs here in New Ulm. When a player does leave New Ulm and goes to an area team it hurts because of the amount of time and effort that all of these programs have given them. It should be noted that many of these players go through the New Ulm program do reside in Hanska, Searles, Courtland or Essig.”

Skillings also thanked Kaiserhoff manager Tim Reinke and coach Dale Schlottman for all of their efforts in recent years.

“We thank all of the players who played for Kaiserhoff and hopefully will continue with New Ulm.”

FIRST KAISERHOFF GAME: The first Kaiserhoff game was played June 1, 1969 in Hector in a 1-0 loss. The first home game was a week later in a 2-0 win over the Hutchinson Travelers. Ray Conroy was the first Kaiserhoff manager.

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