Johnson: Minnesota’s own field of dreams is in Miesville

From SABR member Sarah Johnson at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on June 11, 2016:

The first thing you see are the lights — high atop single poles rising out of this fertile farmland of hay bales and irrigators. In southeastern Minnesota, only 8 miles south of Hastings but seemingly on the outskirts of civilization, lies Miesville, pop. 125. This unassuming hamlet is home to the Mudhens, a townball team known for its “Field of Dreams”-like ballpark. Miesville also enjoys a rich history as a rest stop for horse-and-buggy travelers journeying between Red Wing and Hastings. Today, a pregame stop may include King’s Bar and Grill, home to more than 75 kinds of burgers, or Wiederholt’s, a family-owned, 84-year-old supper club.

You will find Jack Ruhr Field, home of the Mudhens and named after their longtime president who oversaw all five of their state championships. The ballpark is situated between St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery and the Miesville Fire Department. Although you have to park in a dirt lot, it is free to do so, and I smile as I hear one of my favorite sounds of summer: the repeated “pop” of the ball hitting the catcher’s mitt (mixed with the crunch of gravel that heralds the arrival of another spectator).

Baseball has been played in Miesville since the 1920s, originally in surrounding farmers’ pastures. The team adopted the “Mudhens” nickname in 1948, some say partially in jest from the Toledo Mudhens, who went on to become a Twins minor league affiliate from 1978 to 1986. The current ballpark opened in 1961 after 25 locals put up $100 each to build it. In 1994, a crowd of more than 1,000 showed up to watch the first night game.

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Originally published: June 13, 2016. Last Updated: June 13, 2016.