Herald JournalHerald Journal, April 28, 2003

The Winsted baseball stars of 1948

By Joe Kieser

This is final part of a series of five articles on the successful 1948 Winsted baseball season.

Most of the players for the 1948 season have been found, and the following is an overview on what each player did and where they are now.

Gene Heigl

Bat boy and general all-around helper. Gene is now 66 years old, retired from REA Express, and lives in Minneapolis.

Bob Kasper

Played minimally, but loved the game of baseball. Bob is 70 years old, was a dentist in Brainerd for many years, and is now retired.

Gordon Kubasch

Was a catcher with the main duty of warming up the pitchers. Owned and operated Kubasch Excavating in Winsted.

Main catcher on the Lester Prairie team that won class "B" Championship in 1950. Gordy is 73 years old, semi-retired, and lives in Winsted.

Cy Seymour

Starting left fielder, but also played infield. Mainly a singles and doubles hitter, with a very good eye at the plate.

At the age of 84 years, the sign on his barber shop "Yes, we're open" still appears on a daily basis.

Jerry Hahn

Left-handed outfielder with a good bat. Worked for Pullman Co. in Minneapolis, but moved to Miami where he worked for the post office. He passed away in Florida in 1988 at the age of 67.

Vern Wroge

Probably one of the best and most versatile players from this area. Was a pitcher and outfielder for Concordia and Augsburg. Played centerfield, pitched, and also played infield for Winsted.

At the age of 58, he played in the Centennial Old Timers game in Winsted. He asked the manager if he could maybe pitch an inning or two. His fastball could still sting the catchers mitt.

He farmed south of Lester Prairie and died in 1992 at the age of 63.

Ken Norman

The man with the Major League arm. Played third base at this time, but later played shortstop and did some pitching.

Hit the ball with power to whereever it was pitched. Started playing for Howard Lake and Waverly at the age of 14 for $3 per game. He was an umpire in the Northwest Umpire group for many years.

Has slowed down a step or two, but still talks a lot of baseball. He is now retired and lives in Winsted, 81 years old.

Pat "The Rabbit" Williamson

Played short stop and hit with power. Described as just a good all-around player.

Did some singing with Gordon Kubasch in the local bars and halls. Lived with Ken Norman for a couple of years. Died in 1999 at the age of 75.

Art Hokenson

With a floppy rag for a glove, he could really field his first base position. With the mitt on his right hand, he could dig any ball out of the dirt.

On occasion, he would yell at Norman that he was not 10 feet tall, as the ball would roll into the garage under Henry Prehn's house.

He practiced his hand-eye coordination at Bert Merchant's cafe. He would throw a pop bottle at his twin brother Jack from 10 feet away. They soon had several bottles in the air at the same time. Left his farm to retire in Marshfield, Wis., and is now 78 years old.

Bub Seymour

More than one of the players that I interviewed said Bub was like a dad to them. He managed and coached at third base. He scouted the college teams and really recognized talent. He was a plasterer by trade, and died in 1977 at the age of 86.

Lloyd Lundeen

Right-handed pitcher and center fielder. The roof on Chuck Corr's house was not a safe place to sit when he was batting.

He would practice running up and down, and fielding balls off the hill in right centerfield before each game.

He passed away at the age of 49 while he was watching his son play hockey.

Red Keating

A powerful left-handed hitter. Many of the opposing right fielders would stand on top of the hill and watch as the ball landed on Keating's front yard.

Member of North Star Hall of Fame. Part owner of Keating Hardware, he died in 2001 at the age of 83.

John Boller

Left-handed pitcher drafted from Glencoe. Played in several tournament games.

Bill Hasse

Played first base and outfield. Good right-handed hitter. Is now 84 years old and lives east of Mayer on his farm.

Herman Peschken

Assistant manager and first base coach. He was a catcher for the University of Minnesota team. He was a chemist and worked for Pure Milk Products.

Fred Wallner

Sweetest swing in baseball. Catcher and powerful right-handed hitter. Reaching the grassy knoll over the snow fence in left was no problem at all.

Caught a few games for Minneapolis Millers and hit a long home run in one of his first times at bat for them.

He was a Minneapolis policeman and umpire for baseball. Now 89 years old and living in Brooklyn Park.

Dick Neuman

Drafted from Hutchinson as a good catcher and hitter.

Alex Romanchuk

In 1946 at the age of 18, he was pitching for St. Thomas.

He posted an 11-0 record and came to play for Winsted when the college season was over. What a complete baseball player.

He pitched for the world all-star team against the Brooklyn Dodgers All Stars at Ebbets Field. Also played hockey in 1952 for senior state champions.

Worked for Armour Meats and now is 74 years old, living in Woodbury.

Bob Hendrickson

Right-handed pitcher. Drafted from Delano and pitched in state tournament.


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