Kane County History: Take Me Out To The (Batavia American Legion) Ballgame

Kane County History: Take Me Out To The (Batavia American Legion) Ballgame

  • Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series on Kane County’s amazing history. Today’s article was submitted by Batavia Depot Museum Curator Amber Foster.

American Legion baseball was the first to provide a national baseball tournament for teens. Since 1925, the national league has had millions of participants with a number of former players being inducted into the baseball hall of fame in later years.[1]

Sixty-four teams play at eight regional sites with eight teams going on to the American Legion World Series. The winning team receives a trip to the Major League World Series, a tradition that dates back to 1926.[2]

In 1954, Batavia’s American Legion post 504 formed its first baseball team. The team did not have their permanent uniforms ready for inaugural play, so they played with pullover jerseys in the interim.

The number 504 is displayed on the front of this jersey belonging to Richard “Dick” Bowron with his number 16 on the right sleeve.

Other team members included: Bobby Buckner, Gary Anderson, Mark Elfstrom, David Benson, Larry Peddy, George Streigle, John Malone, Joe Melgosa, Dale Nelson, Larry Kroff, Ron Briggs, Ray Thompson, Larry Tierney[3] and managed by Bob Kehoe.

The Macgregor Goldsmith B40 glove also belonged to Mr. Bowron and was known as the “trapper model” designed specifically for the first baseman. The glove features a deep pocket to ensure protection and agility during game-play.

Richard Bowron (1954 Batavia High School Photo- Junior year).

Mr. Bowron made sure his glove didn’t get mistaken for a team-mate’s – he wrote his name along the wrist. Gloves today are designed with every position in mind, not just first base and catcher.[4]

As a national institution, “American Legion baseball has taught hundreds of thousands of young Americans the importance of sportsmanship, good health, and active citizenship.”[5]

Batavia American Legion Post 504 was chartered August 21, 1920; celebrating their 100th anniversary last year. A Women’s Auxiliary of Batavia Post 504 was formed November 10, 1921.[6]

About The Batavia Depot Museum

The Batavia Depot Museum opened in 1975 as a joint effort between the Batavia Park District and the Batavia Historical Society. The Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad Depot was the first of its kind built in 1854 and is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.

Inside, the city’s past comes alive through exhibits detailing the history of rail transportation, manufacture of windmills, agriculture, banking, commerce and a brief stay by Mary Todd Lincoln at Bellevue Place. Suggested donation: $5.

FootNotes

  • [1] “Welcome to the American Legion: American Legion post 504.” Accessed May 20, 2019. Bataviapost504.org
  • [2] “The American Legion.” Accessed May 20, 2019. https:// www.Legion.org/baseball/history
  • [3] Dick Bowron. Interview. May 21, 2019
  • [4] Jim Morrison. “Baseball’s Glove man.” Smithsonian.com. September 12, 2011. Accessed May 22, 2019. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/baseballs-glove-man-77865726/
  • [5] “The American Legion.” Accessed May 20, 2019. https:// www.Legion.org/baseball/history
  • [6] “Welcome to the American Legion: American Legion post 504.” Accessed May 20, 2019. Bataviapost504.org

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