Herald JournalHerald and Journal, Aug. 19, 2002

Recalling some of the old days of baseball

By Vic Gruenhagen
Howard Lake

Being baseball is big news today. I had a few wild things happen to me in my baseball playing days.

In 1961 when the Washington Senators moved to Minnesota, Winsted bought all the old original baseball uniforms with the big, red W on the shirts.

We had no team in town, so I went to Winsted to play ball. What happened was in my first game, I played centerfield and they gave me the number 3 shirt.

Leo Hermes, our manager. said "Vic, you aren't big enough to fit that number 3 (which was Harmon Killebrew's jersey), so for the second game I went in the old concession stand, and Hermes gave me the number 4 jersey, which was Bob Allison's original shirt ­ which I still have today.

I also have Paul Giel's old pants, so I wrote a letter to Paul in 1991 telling him I still had his old Washington pants and wondered if he wanted them back.

He called me on the phone and said, "Vic, you had them for 30 years. They're yours now."

One big game we played was against the semi-pro team St. Cloud Rox with 850 fans at the game. We won 8-7.

After the game, they called us a bunch of lucky bush-leaguers. We almost had a wild fight after the game. It took two or three Winsted police to restore order.

I remember there was no handshaking going on after the game was done.

Also, I had seen a couple old farmers hand a buck or two through the wire fence for each strikeout to our two ace pitchers. I had seen it many times.

In 1949, our senior class went to Brainerd for a class trip. I stayed home because we had two town team games to play.

What happened was they had a wild time, they tell me. They had a skinny swimming contest and a big pillow fight afterwards. A bill was sent to the school to clean up the pillow feathers. I missed that wild fun (right?).

Question is: what is Killebrew's original jersey worth today? And who has it?


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