Yesteryear's Baseball--The Midway Tigers

Front Row: August Jammer, Vern Danish, Claude Sinclair, Bud Danish, Elmer Schubert, Elmer Haegele, Al Vint. Back Row: Melvin Lohman, Art Schnepf, Woodrow Lohman, Alvin Lohman, Cletus Childress, Lawrence Schubert, Harvey Jammer, Henry Danish, Joe Vint.


I had a visit with Harvey Jammer recently. I had invited him to come over and talk about the Midway Tigers. Mrs. Woodrow Lohman had given the Historical Society a picture of the Midway Tiger Baseball Team some time ago, and I had hoped to eventually get a story in the newsletter featuring the well-known team of that depression era.

But first a word about Harvey Jammer who has been a Lyon County resident since the day he was born. In his own words: "I lived within five miles of Rock Rapids, my entire life"! In this age of mobility, that is awesome! He was born on the family homestead, attended country school in Allison Township, farmed for thirty years, and retired and moved to town in 1967. He married the former Alyce Lewis of Larchwood in 1934. Alyce passed away in 2001, the same year that they would have observed their 67th anniversary. Harvey's father was August Jammer; his grandfather was William Jammer, who also lived on the "homeplace". So Harvey was a third-generation farmer. He thought his grandfather started farming in the late 1880's.

Harvey started farming with horses in 1936 which was the notorious depression year of drought and no crops. He was paying $5.00 per acre rent. Harvey and his wife operated a typical farm during those years-had a milk cow herd, raised hogs, fed cattle, had chickens, and raised capons.

He purchased his first tractor in 1940, an Allis Chalmers from Van Anne Implement and also got rural electricity the same year. The Jammers had two children.

And then we visited about the Midway Tigers.

The Midway Tigers were strictly a neighborhood team in 1934. It all started with the neighbors getting together for birthday parties. It was an era when friends' and neighbors' gatherings were popular, so the farmers living west of Rock Rapids had frequent potlucks, birthday parties, etc. That led to the young men of the neighborhood getting together for a friendly game of baseball. There were enough young fellas in the neighborhood in that day and age of common 160-acre farms, that it wasn't too difficult to round up enough players to have a good game going. A diamond was set up on the Bill Jammer farm, (just west of the present Ray Kinkenberg farm). The players soon decided that they had played together long enough that it was time to form a team and play the teams from the towns nearby. Lawrence Schubert was named manager and the team became known simply as Schubert's All Stars. Playing on that first team were Henry Danish, William Stuerman, Henry Wulf, Harry Stuerman, Claude and Milton Sinclair, Elvin Schubert, August Jammer, and William Zornig. As the boys grew up in the neighborhood, they replaced the fathers, and the baseball team grew in reputation and became more active.

Eventually, the diamond was rebuilt, uniforms were purchased by the team, and they got a new name, The Midway Tigers. In 1934 when the picture was taken, the team practiced evenings after the farm work was done, and the games were played on Sunday afternoons. Enthusiastic crowds turned out to cheer on their favorite team. I remembered, as a small girl, going with our family to a couple of those games. My dad liked baseball, and I am sure that both of my folks liked the chance to visit with friends and neighbors.

Harvey Jammer played second base and outfield. Many of the positions were passed around, but the 1934 team as Harvey remembered were pitchers, Elmer Schubert and Elmer Haegele. The later team had pitchers Bud Danish and Bill Jammer. Catchers were Joe Vint and Cletus Childress. On the bases were Woodrow Lohman on first base, Alvin Lohman on second base, and Melvin Lohman was the shortstop. This sometimes led to an interesting double play situation when it was Lohman to Lohman to Lohman!! On third base was Vern Danish. Claude Sinclair, Harvey Jammer, Art Schnepf, and Bud Danish played the outfield. Lawrence Schubert, Henry Danish, and August Jammer were the coaches and managers in charge of advertising, buying equipment, and keeping the Midway Tigers on a winning track! Harry Stuerman also helped whenever needed.

It was also in 1934 that Harvey, while at bat, was hit in the head and suffered a concussion which sidelined him for quite a while. Harvey thought it was about 1937 when the team moved to a new diamond, a half-mile east of Lester on the Maurer farm. Bill Schnepf became the manager, and players added were Jack Vint, Dutch Schultz, Gene Bonyage, Bud Stuerman, Orval Lohman, Francis Snyders, and Wally Childress. It was the end of the Midway Tigers as a neighborhood team during the late 30's and early 40's. World War Two took too many of the players, so the team was put on hold.

After the war was over, the team remnants of the Midway Tigers moved to a new diamond north of Rock Rapids and were coached by C.A. Morrison. Some of the former players on the Midway Tigers went to join teams in other towns in Lyon County. The Midway Tigers name wasn't used anymore, but the memories live on of the hot, dusty, summer afternoons when the Midway Tigers took the field to give players and spectators something to think and cheer about in the midst of the Great Depression. Woodrow Lohman and Harvey Jammer remember!

Provided by Evelyn Halverson
Transcribed by Roseanna Zehner

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