Monday, May 17, 2010

My Hometown on Monday - Baseball in Coon Rapids

My Hometown on Monday - Baseball in Coon Rapids (Iowa) - Week 20

From the Coon Rapids Centennial 100 years proud 1863-1963:

Baseball has always been a favorite sport in Coon Rapids. Due to the drought and poor crops in 1894, men and boys had ample time, so a baseball team was organized.

One of the earliest enthusiasts was Arthur Parkinson, an Englishman and a blacksmith {See more on him, next week}. In 1897, Bill Morrison, the first professional baseball player was employed to play for Coon Rapids. The rest of the team played for nothing, but each contributed $1 per month to pay Morrison.

That same year Babe Towne, a local boy, began  his career here {see his story, beginning on Thursday, right here}. He later went to the Chicago White Sox and was playing with them when they won the World Series in 1906. Many other players went from Coon Rapids to Big League teams.

By 1920, the whole town was mad over baseball. It was the first year for Sunday baseball. Even the son of the Methodist minister on the team played on Sunday. Jno. Donaldson one of the greatest pitchers appeared here with the Tennessee Rats in 1911. Among the fellows who played about then were: Henry Steele, Raday Smith, who rated as a fine catcher, Dave Davis, Claude Thomas, Bert Williams, Scott Walker, Andy McLaughlin, Mark Stiles and Roy Prettyman.

In recent years, Lloyd Johnson distinguished himself by playing professional baseball for 2 years with the Boston Braves organization in 1938-40. His brother, Clayton, Jr. also played professionally in the Cub system from 1948 to 1952.

[As with all stories from this report, take each one for what they are - reports by individuals with interests in the activities reported, accepted by the committee that created the Centennial report in 1963.]

Families are Forever!  ;-)


  1. I enjoyed reading this. Thanks Bill (I love baseball).

  2. Glad I'm not the only one trying to keep the memories alive! Great stuff!

  3. I shared your info about Babe Towne with my husband, the White Sox fan and history lover. He was not aware of this person, but will be looking him up.

  4. In two weeks I will post a lot more on Babe Towne - his real name was Jay King Towne. Fascinating character. White Sox Cards blog has the greatest discovery! ... if you want a real sneak peek! ;-)