UPDATED FEB. 2021
The New Germany Dutchmen amateur baseball team is a member of the Crow River Valley League, and has a strong tradition in the New Germany community.
The 2020 season was an unusual one for the Dutchmen and the rest of the CRVL. In a shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dutchmen finished the regular season with a record of 3-10. While the record was nothing to write home about, the Dutchmen made improvements throughout the season. While the improvements resulted in just three wins, the Dutchmen are on the rise, as they’ve recruited a young core to build around the veterans on the roster.
The Dutchmen had their season come to an end in the league playoffs. They were swept by the Young America Cardinals in two-straight games.
At the plate, Ryan Callister led the Dutchmen offense with a .277 batting average. Tony Wischnack, one of the oldest players in the league, led the way for New Germany on the mound. Wischnack finished the season with an ERA of 1.76 in 41 innings of work. He also ninth in the CRVL in strikeouts with 30.
Fathers Day pork chop feed at New Germany
The Dutchmen host an annual Fathers Day pork chop dinner every year, and it has become one of the more popular baseball attractions during the summer.
A strong tradition
Baseball has been an important part of New Germany’s history since the early 1900s, and is to this day.
New Germany baseball legend Gerald “Beans” Roepke noted that in the early 1900s until 1955, baseball in New Germany was played in Fred Hein’s pasture, which is now Lindstrom Park.
In 1955, a new ballpark was built on School District 77 land, and dugouts and the grandstand were built with the help of volunteers.
In 1956, the New Germany city fathers organized a team, and with manager Harry Zellmann, joined the 7-Hi League, which also included Excelsior, Hopkins, Hutchinson, Long Lake, Mound, Richfield, and Winsted.
The ballpark was dedicated May 6, 1956. Later, the village of New Germany purchased the property.
Changes took place at the ballpark, and in 1970, the grandstand and dugouts were rebuilt.
In 1980, a chain link fence was installed and dedicated in memory of Dean Hensel, son of Loren and Dorothy Hensel, according to the New Germany Centennial Book.
In 1959, New Germany entered the Crow River Valley League with the teams of Glencoe, Green Isle, Hamburg, Lester Prairie, Mayer, Norwood, Plato, and Young America.
In this same year, the New Germany baseball team became known as the “Dutchmen” as its official name, by which it is still known today.
In 1987, the Crow River Valley League was split into two divisions, the North and the South. New Germany was placed in the North Division.
The Dutchmen were Crow River Valley League Champions in 1964, 1967, 1968, and 1971.
The Dutchmen have made five state tournament appearances; 1967 in Alexandria, 1968 in Springfield, 1970 in St. Cloud, 1971 in Brownton, and most recently in 1997, when they beat Buckman 7-5 in the first game, and lost to Le Sueur, 4-3, in the second game.
In 1971, the Dutchmen had their best showing at state, placing third.
In 2017, New Germany hosted the Region 7C tournament where they set a new attendance record.
Hall of Famers
The New Germany Dutchmen have one member in the Minnesota Baseball Amateur Hall of Fame.
That member is Gerald “Beans” Roepke, inducted in 1993.
After 29 seasons of playing baseball, and before retiring from the Dutchmen, Roepke posted some impressive accomplishments.
In 1961 and 1980, he was voted the team’s most valuable player; in 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1986, he had the Dutchmen’s highest batting average; in 1981, he won the Crow River Valley League batting title, with a .446 batting average.
That same year, 1981, he was selected the Most Valuable Player in the Crow River Valley League all-star game.