Game set for Tuesday, July 8 at Saints Field
By Kristen Miller
The third annual Darwin Night at the Ballpark is set for Tuesday, July 8 and will feature 1948 throwback jerseys, the most recent jerseys worn by Darwin town ballplayers.
Darwin Night at the Ballpark has become a tradition for current and past residents of Darwin to celebrate small-town baseball, which ceased in Darwin following the 1957 season.
Darwin’s 1948 team was the first team formed since prior to World War II, said event organizer Dave Kelly. “Most of town team baseball was shut down during the war,” he said.
The uniforms had “Darwin” on the front, and, on the back was the name of one of 16 businesses that sponsored the team no team name, since there hadn’t been one since the 1880 Haymakers, Kelly explained. “I don’t know, that name never stuck,” he added.
The most recent jerseys were worn from 1948 to 1957, when the team folded due to a lack of ballplayers, said Kelly, who played on the Darwin team for five years until the team disbanded.
Though he was sad to see it end, “it was a sign of the times,” Kelly said, who was 19 at the time the team ceased playing.
“People had a lot of other things to do,” he said, whether it was reporting for military duty, or young people seeking jobs, which were no longer abundant in town as businesses closed.
“[Darwin Night at the Ballpark] is a great way to celebrate and preserve Darwin’s rich baseball history and a wonderful opportunity for the Darwin community to come together, meet their neighbors, watch some good baseball, and show our Darwin pride,” said Darwin Mayor Josh Johnson.
“Fans particularly enjoy the between-innings shirts and twine ball trinkets given out, as well as the atmosphere created by the crowd involvement a crowd that many Saints often state is the most boisterous, energetic, and fun-loving they get throughout the regular season.”
In the first year of the event, there were roughly 150 people who came out. Last year, however, there were double that number.
“That crowd was treated to a special evening, as 23 former Darwin players were honored before the game, a ceremony and reunion that no one in attendance will forget,” Johnson said. “Though there is no official ceremony this year, with the fun that we had that night, I have no doubt that many of those past players will be joining us again this year, to cheer on our adopted ball club and reminisce with old friends about playing days past.”
Darwin Night at the Ballpark will take place Tuesday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m. with neighboring rivals, the Dassel-Cokato Saints taking on the Litchfield Blues.
A pre-game warm-up will be accompanied by old-time music at 6:45 p.m.
Attendees will be able to order a 1948 replica jersey with the name of the sponsor of their choice (see sidebar), at a cost of $55. Kelly noted the jerseys are Majestic brand, which is the brand used in the major league.
Tickets can be picked up at various Darwin area businesses or purchased the night of the game.