Seymour Baseball During the 1930’s
Interview with Roy Puls
Previous issues of the Seymour History Bulletin looked at baseball in the Seymour area around the turn of the century. Recently Roy Puls shared some of his memories of baseball during the 1930’s. Baseball has always been popular in Seymour, and during the 1930’s the local team dominated the competition.
Roy started playing ball in 1925 at age 12. Bill Row, the manager of the legion team, recruited Roy’s older brother Ralph, and Roy tagged along. The Seymour nine played their games at the fairgrounds. Bill Row, who managed for about 20 years, took great care to improve the field until as Roy said, “Even though the outfield grass wasn’t always mowed, we had one of the best diamonds in the area.” He recalled getting beat by a Green Bay team 33-8 “because they mowed the entire field and the ball just kept rolling.” Years later, when playing at the Greenville Grange, Roy, a singles and doubles hitter, hit a home run when the ball got lost in the outfield grass. He said, “The next day the headline in the paper said Puls wins the game with a home run!”
Seymour played Nichols, Navarino, Black Creek, Gillett, Krakow, Bonduel, Cecil, Oconto Falls, and other area communities. Games were played on Sundays, and a play-off game would draw up to 500 spectators. Roy cited Nichols and Navarino as having some “talented players” and the most intense rivalry was against Black Creek.
Roy played for the city team for 12 to 15 years and remembered that he would have to hustle to get cheese made early on Sundays so he could get to the game on time. Ace centerfielder for Hortonville, Elmer Collar, described Roy as, “a good hitter and slick fielder.” The team was comprised of players from Seymour and others who were actually paid “expenses” to travel to Seymour. Most notable were first baseman, “Cocky” Hammen, and catcher, Harvey Hartjes, who came from the Little Chute area. Roy cited “Smiley” Nickodem as being one of the best local players. Smiley, who played into his 40’s, was a “good hitter, had a strong arm, and could run with the best.” Regardless of the outcome of the game, the players usually socialized following the contest. In Seymour, everyone met at the hotel. Roy commented that he made many friends on opposing teams.
Seymour Woodenware sponsored the Seymour team. Roy recalled that Joe Adamski, the owner, was quite a sports fan. He traveled to Chicago with Joe and others to watch the Cubs and Packer-Bear games. With the coming of WWII, many players entered service, and area baseball slowed considerably until it was reborn again in the 1950’s. (Perhaps we will investigate that era in a future issue. We need former players to contact us.)