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Dutchmasters long have been symbol of Buckley

 

The following story from June 25, 1949, was reproduced by permission of the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette.

 

Buckley -- Buckley's brand new $15,000 lighted baseball park, the result of a tremendous covic pride in the Dutchmasters, is ready for its dedication game.

As soon as the lights -- they have a strength of 100,000 watts -- are connected with the electric line, the park will be ready for its first game. Manager Adam Himmel, who's been a key figure in the planning and work on the park, is hoping to play the inaugural July 4, a week from Monday.

In the meantime, the Dutchmasters will continue to play their Eastern Illinois league games on their old diamond. The Buckley teen-age team will also use the old field until the new one is officially opened.

Fans Support Drive

This is one of the finest examples of support by townspeople of a baseball team to be found anywhere.

the fams -- and everyone in Buckley is a fan of the Dutchmasters team -- shelled out whenever asked.

The Buckley American Legion post raised $10,000 from townspeople and farmers in the nearby area. It mortgaged its Legion hut.

Here's an example:

Last January, the ball team needed $2,700 to buy the ground for the park. The fans coughed up $3,300.

As the work on the park progressed, eight light poles were unloaded in Buckley on a Thursday. They couldn't be installed until paid for. By Saturday morning, the Legionnaires, canvassing the townspeople and other backers, raised $1,200, and the light poles belonged to the Dutch Masters.

Raise $966 in hours

Later three transformers were shipped in, at $322 each. In just a few hours, $966 was laid on the dotted line.

there are 60 lights on the eight poles, and each of those lights will be sold to fans for $40 each. Already 25 have been sold.

This is more or less in the form of a loan, for the ball team plans to pay back those light buyers "The very first thing." After that the Buckley American Legion will gradually get the return on its investment. The team has turned its treasury over to the Legion until all of the Legion's debt is paid off.

The park is a honey.

It's 351 feet down the left and right field foul lines to the fence and 467 out in dead center where a massive scoreboard with the words "Home of the Dutch Masters" is located. On the left and right field foul poles will be 6-foot pennants. One will read, "Eastern Illinois League," of which Buckley is a member, and the other will read, "Buckley Dutch Masters."

$1,000 for tile

The field is surrounded by heavy wire fence. The posts are steel pipes which had previously been used as well casing. They had to be pulled from the ground and sawed to the proper length.

The infield is tiled ... to the tune of $1,000.

Bleachers are already installed to take care of 300 fans, and more will be added later. Some of the backers estimate at least 500 cars could be parked around the park easily.

All the work has been donated. Every morning members of the ball team, Legionnaires and other townspeople worked at the ball ark ... smoothing out the infield, climbing the poles (62 feet high) to install the lights, putting up fence, doing all those thousand and one mobs that are necessray.

"You can't pick out names of a few persons who've worked," asserted Himmel. "Everyone has pitched in and done his share. The way everybody has cooperated ... well, it's something."

Rally around Masters

It's not surprising that Buckley townspeople have rallied around the home town baseball team when it needed a new ball park. And it's no surprise when the Buckley fans decided to do something that they did it up brown.

The Dutchmasters have always been a symbol of the town's closely knit cooperative feeling. The town has always rallied around the Dutchmasters.

"These people are the grandest in the world," Arlington Seymour, the business manager of the Dutchmasters and one of the men behind the drive for the ball park, said the other night over a chicken supper. "I wouldn't leave here for any place on earth."

"You know, Arlie," put in Adam Himmel, the manager, "I remember that charley Klann and I lay over in the park and watched you unload and get ready to open that restaurant you used to have.

"Charley Klann asked me, 'How long to you expect he'll last?'

"I told Charley, 'I'll give him three weeks!'

"That was 16 years ago, and you're still here...!"

Bob Bradshaw, the American Legion commander who marshalled his forces for the effort, moved into Buckley three years ago, and he has an explanation of why a town the size of Buckley (population 450) can have a fine lighted ball park and another community the size of Champaign-Urbana can have only a high school field.

"The people are gregarious," Bradshaw believed. "And they rally around their ball team. It's their recreation."

There have been Buckley baseball teams since 1860. Records prove it.

Got name in 1926

The name Dutchmasters has been their tab since 1926.

"I guess Charley Klann and I gave the team that nickname," said Walt Krumwiede, another veteran ball player and prime mover in the bulding of the new ball park.

"Things were a little rough for the team, and we decided we needed a catchy name. But we couldn't think of one.

"Finally, we were standing in a cigar soter, when Charley happened to look over the cigars and saw the name 'Dutch Masters.'

" 'That's a good name,' he siad. 'We ought to use it.'

"I agreed, since everybody called us Dutchmen anyway. And that's how Dutchmasters came into being."

"And," put in Arlie Seymour, "they've been Dutchmasters ever since.

"Buckley has won only one Eastern Illinois league season pennant (1940) and one tournament (1936), but it's never been very far behind. When you beat Budkley, you know you've been in a ball game."

Carol Ecker Krumwiede wrote this article for The (Paxton) Record, and it was published on Wednesday, August 4, 1999.

 

By Carol Krumwiede

Aug. 4 will be a special day for Buckley Dutchmasters baseball. It was on that date 50 years ago that the inaugural baseball game was played at the present ball diamond, recently renamed Scheiwe Field.

That game against Crescent City was played on the new 100,000-watt lighted field on Thursday, Aug. 4, 1949.

Before a crowd of 1,500 Buckley won 6-2. The game was followed by a fireworks display.

The building of that diamond was quite a feat for a town of only 450 people. Plans were to have the field ready by the 4th of July, but delays forced them to wait until August for the inaugural game. (See accompanying article.)

They played four other night games that year, and for the first time in 17 years were selected as hosts for the final round of the season-ending tournament.

Buckley put up a spirited argument to get the championship game played at night under its new lights, but some managers claimed players unaccustomed to lights would be at a disadvantage. They finally voted to have day games only. Following a rainout of part of the round-round games, the finals took place Sunday, Sept.18.

In those days the two semifinal games and the finals were all played on the same day. Semifinal games were scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Due to a heavy downpour the start of the first game was delayed until 12:30 p.m., and games wore on long enough into the evening, making it necessary to turn on the new lights for the last three innings of the final game.

Royal defeated Flatville for the tourney championship.

Glen Fletcher, grandfather of Toronto Blue Jays catcher Darren Fletcher, produced an iron man pitching performance in that he pitched both the semifinal and final victories.

The Buckley grounds crew headed by Arlie Seymour was credited with doing an excellent job of getting the well-drained field in top shape.

League commissioners were quoted that it was the biggest and best tournament in history of a paid attendance of 1,800.

Comments were also made that Buckley's park was the best in the league and the Buckley hosts did a grand job of running the tournament.

The commissioners must have liked what they saw because in 1950 and in 1951, Buckley was once again chosen as the site for the tournament's final round. Flatville was the champion in 1950, defeating Loda 12-5.

The accommodations were improved by the addition of concrete dugouts and a shower room. It was reported in the Paxton Record by Bud Larson that many of the 2,500 fans had nothing but compliments about the beautiful park.

As a side note it was also reported 170 pounds of hamburger, 50 dozen Eskimo pies, 90 cases of pop and 100 cases of beer were consumed.

The 1951 championship once again was won by Flatville.

The biggest disappointment of the tourneys was the Dutchmasters did not make the finals either year, having been defeated in the semifinals played earlier in the day. Their day would come in 1952 when, as irony would have it, the tournament was played in Gifford (Flatville's home field).

The 4-0 tournament victory over Rantoul was the culmination of an all-everything year for Buckley. The Dutchmasters won the regular season championship with a 13-1 record, and Virgil Scheiwe, for whom the field was named this year, had a pitching record of 9-1 and a batting average of .456. Buckley had always fielded a competitive baseball team, but it was in :1933, with the arrival of Arlie Seymour, that things really began to happen.

Seymour's arrival was purely accidental. While traveling, he and his family became hungry about the time they drove through Buckley. They couldn't find a restaurant in town, so after some discussion, the Seymours decided to settle in Buckley and start one.

Shortly after his arrival he went out to the ballfield where a game was in progress. To his amazement no admission was being charged, and he learned the players chipped in for balls and bats that were needed Seymour suggested they charge admission. Next thing he knew he was business manager for the team, a position he held for 20 years prior to leaving the area for a job in Texas.

During his tenure, Seymour did everything he could to promote Buckley Dutchmasters baseball, including admission (25 cents for adults and 15 cents for children), staging horse races to bring extra spectators to ball games, fireworks, sheep dog herding, races around the bases, parachute jumps, gate prizes and night baseball.

Night play was accomplished by acquiring lights from the 1933-34 World's Fair, making Buckley the only amateur team in Illinois with lights. It was under Seymour's leadership Buckley became a member of the Eastern Illinois League in 1934, which means the Dutchmasters are in their 65th year of competition.

The scrapbooks he kept while in Buckley are also the source of most of this information.

Buckley has long been known for its baseball teams. There are records to prove there were baseball teams in Buckley as early as 1860.

In 1926, the team acquired the name "Dutchmasters," and the rest is history.

A statement made in a 1939 newspaper article said that although the players may change, Buckley always had a team that would not give up until the third out in the final inning.

That remains true some 60 years later. Though many players have come and gone, and many games have been won and lost, Buckley continues its long tradition of E.I. baseball at what has to be considered the No. 1 ball park in the league.

Happy 50th birthday to Scheiwe Field.