Bauer remembered with memorial field
By Ginna Young
A long-forgotten dedication plaque was uncovered this year, at the Cornell Little League field – or as its true name is – the Craig Bauer Memorial Field. Just in time for the field’s 30th anniversary, the current t-ball league decided to bring the field’s name back, front and center.
The field was dedicated in 1989, to Cornell Little League player Craig Bauer, who lost his life in a childhood accident, passing away prior to completion of the field.
“Craig enjoyed Little League tremendously and we saw that,” said Dave DeJongh, Bauer’s coach. “The league coaches at the time felt it (naming of the field) would be appropriate, because the field was relatively new at the time.”
Although Bauer has not passed out of people’s memory, the name of the field has faded into the recesses of the mind. Once the plaque was unearthed while cleaning the Little League concession stand, t-ball coordinator Eric Sime knew something had to be done.
Sime’s brother, Joe, went to school with Bauer and played on the Twins Little League team with him.
“Once we found the old sign, we talked to some of the other coaches and members of the community,” said Sime, “and we all thought it would be a nice gesture to purchase a new sign. Apparently, at some time, it (plaque) was probably Bauer remembered
displayed on the inside of the concessions stand, and it either broke or got taken down.
“After purchasing new equipment, we had money left over and wanted to find a project for it that would benefit the community.”
Purchased with funds from the league’s weekly concessions stand and the Pepsi wagon at KJ’s Fresh Market, the look of the new sign was turned over to Ronnie Duncan of Ron’s Designs and Signs in Cadott. Made of a composite material, the new sign is made of the same material as awnings around gas station pumps.
“It should have real good longevity,” said Sime.
The small, old sign was mounted on a plaque, which Sime plans to install somewhere near the exterior of the new sign, possibly in a shadow box. Since the installation of the new sign, Sime says many people have mentioned, after seeing the new sign, that they recollect the naming of the field when it first happened.
“Until the old sign was found, there was really no proof or remembrance that that was the name of the field,” said Sime. “The family contacted the city and said they were very happy with the sign, and glad to know that after all these years, that it was still remembered.”
DeJongh agrees and said he is glad Sime is helping with the revitalization of the Mill Yard Park area, as efforts to do so are ongoing. As Bauer’s coach, DeJongh well remembers the youth who loved the sport of baseball and who always had a smile on his face.
“Craig was a very special boy who I had the honor of having on my Little League team…,” said DeJongh. “It was kind of a difficult time.”
DeJongh says he appreciates Sime’s efforts to make the field’s name remembered and in keeping Bauer’s memory alive.
“It shouldn’t be forgotten.”