MADISON, Ind. (July 2004) John Paul Park is a place of fond
memories for many Madison residents especially those who
have played baseball there. Throughout the parks history both
youth and adult teams have shared time on its single diamond. It has
been the home field of the American Legion, an independent adult league,
Little League and the Madison Cubs before the high school got its
own field. It is now home to the Madison Parks Department adult softball
by Ruth Wright
left, Tim Armstrong and
Harold "Pee Wee" Lakeman.
In honor of the parks baseball legacy and in celebration of
its centennial, city personnel director Harold Pee Wee
Lakeman and Madison police officer Tim Armstrong have organized a
vintage baseball game.
Both Lakeman and Armstrong are among those who share in the parks
As Madisons first full-time parks superintendent and first Little
League president, Lakeman spent a lot of time there. I know
everybody thats ever played there. If I dont know them
(personally), Ive read about them, Lakeman said.
Armstrong played at the park as a kid in Madisons first Little
League in 1969 when Lakeman was president. He later played there as
a Shawe Memorial High School student. He is now coach of the Madison
Cubs baseball team.
Lakeman and Armstrong will join a team of local baseball veterans
who will play the Indianapolis Blues Vintage Base Ball Team during
the John Paul Park Centennial Celebration.
The Indianapolis Blues Baseball Club was established in 2001. The
team plays about 20 games each year against other vintage teams throughout
the Midwest. The Madison game will be its first against a team not
associated with the Vintage Base Ball Association, according to team
manager Scott Anderson.
Indianapolis Blues vintage "base ball"
team will play
in Madison on July 31.
Because they are a vintage team, the Blues not only dress in period
uniforms, they also play by rules that were established during the
games infancy. The vintage game at John Paul Park will be played
according to the rules of Base Ball adopted at the Dec.
10, 1867, meeting of the National Association of Base Ball Players.
In those days, when base ball was two words instead of one, the players
pitched underhand and played without gloves.
Those who come out to watch the vintage game are encouraged to bring
lawn chairs, sit back and enjoy what will be a nostalgic event reminiscent
of games played there in the early 1900s.
A lot of good players have played at John Paul Park, said
Paul Park Centennial Celebration
31, noon-5 p.m.
Ice Cream by Mundts
Vintage Games Exhibit
Historical Kiosk Display
Narrative Oral History
Music (Charlie Schnabels
Dixie Land Band; Sweet Adolines)
Antique Car Display
Vintage Baseball Game at 1 p.m.
Tree Planting by DAR
The list includes Madison native-turned pro Tommy Thevenow (1903-1957).
Thevenow played professional baseball from 1924-1938 for several different
teams including the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pittsburgh Pirates,
the Cincinnati Reds, the Boston Bees and the St. Louis Cardinals.
He played with the Cards in the 1926 World Series against Babe Ruth
and the New York Yankees. The Cards won in seven games. Thevenow was
ranked fourth MVP that year by the National Series League.
Other Madisonians who played first at John Paul Park before going
on to major league baseball include George Dutch Distel
(1896-1967), who played one year with the St. Louis Cardinals, and
Larry Ray (1958), who played one season with the Houston Astros.
Also on the field at the park has been former Madison Cubs coach Gary
ONeal. An Indiana Baseball Hall of Famer, ONeal led his
team to 16 sectionals, five regionals, one semi-state and one state
The vintage baseball game will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 31.