In 1922, the Ball Field Moves to Present Location
The ball field was moved to the area now called Firehall Field, along Walnut and Gibbs Streets, in 1922. In the July 16, 1942, Journal: “The Prescott amateur town baseball team shutout Ellsworth 6-0.” The Prescott Journal recorded that the City Slickers lost to River Falls. Games were also played with the Clifton Plow Jockies and the Big River Snorters when a lopsided score of 36 to 2 was recorded.
In 1946, the city enlarged the ballpark by vacating Gibbs Street, turning two city blocks into the present ball field. Games continued to be played, and in June 1947, the newspapers headlined “Bay Babies Bawl-Most Umpiring Farce.” Bay City bumped into its first defeat of the season at the hands of Prescott, 8-0. “Harry Most, Prescott’s umpire and brother of of Prescott’s centerfielder and first baseman, was Prescott’s ‘most valuable player,'” the Red Wing Republican Eagle reported.
“With Ken Eichman at bat, Umpire Most looked over at least five strikes before walking Eichman who scored Prescott’s first run. Most called Prescott runners safe at home when the runner was six feet from home.”
The Pierce County Herald responded by noting “How any sports writer could dish up such an article is beyond any baseball fan. Bay City had a winning streak and to have it broken just about broke their hearts. Now they are doing the ‘baby act’ of laying the blame on the Prescott umpire….it hurts Bay City to lose a game to a better team and by fair decisions on the part of the umpire.”
Athletic Club Organized Here
“Plan for a Top Notch Field” was the headline in the August 7, 1947, Prescott Journal. “For the past several months the most athletic-minded little town in Wisconsin has been asking itself if there is a possibility of providing a good lighting system with the cooperation from local governing bodies and athletic teams?”
“At the present time the school and baseball club are enlarging the field to include the recently acquired school property (when Gibbs Street was vacated). The first step was organization of the Prescott Athletic Club on July 31, 1947, when interested citizens formed the group (presently, the CAB Company performs this role). A board of directors was elected. Projects outlined were enlarging the paying field, increase seating and parking space.”
The Journal reported that the Pierce County Highway Department provided its best grader operator, John Finley, to do the work of leveling the new diamond. Water was provided by the City. A financing project was begun to raise money for lights. “By our combined support and work we will be able to provide these facilities which will be a boost for our town and a source of personal satisfaction.”
Estimated cost of lighting: $5,800 (1947)
Thirty-five Athletic Club members heard a presentation regarding the cost of installing lights at the athletic field, $5,800. Lights would be a semi-pro system. The number of reflectors would be 64, compared to 33 at Ellsworth. Sixty foot poles rather than 40 foot poles were proposed, as well as two or three transformers, plus labor costs.
Several suggestions as to how this cost would be raised were examined. “The project will be financed by cooperation, not taxation.” the August 28, 1947 Journal reported. “At the end of the baseball and softball season any surplus cash will be transferred to the club.” “The school which has participated and cooperated so generously will also help from its athletic fund,” the newspaper noted, as well as donations from civic clubs. An athletic club, the Recreationites, handed over $700 , disbanded and consolidated with the newly formed Athletic Club.
Former player Jerry Reichert remembers the transition years when the field was moved to its present layout. Right field was actually Young Street (traffic barriers were put up during games), with balls regularly going into the yards across the street, while home plate was near the present firstbase.
In the same year, 1947, the Prescott baseball team won the Tri-County League championship by defeating Ellsworth 8 to 5. The Journal reported that Ellsworth’s Klecker pitched wild ball allowing 12 hits and 11 walks. Prescott’s “Porky” Eichman pitched good steady ball allowing 7 hits and 3 walks. It is believed this if the first time that Prescott won a championship trophy. As the club began 1948, the first meeting noted receipts from ball games last year were $1,720.37, while expenses totaled $1,211.06. Officers were Ken Eichman, Herb Steele, Bernard Schommer, and Floyd Leseman. Expenses included $270 for new uniforms.
Two years later the team won the Pierce-Pepin League title. A photo of the team is in the Prescott History book, page 374. “Don Eggers had the distinction of smacking a ball well over 450 feet landing on his uncle Ernie’s chicken coop roof across the road from the ballpark.” (This building still stands today in near dead center field.)