Navarino Rangers: Welcome
Welcome to the Navarino Rangers Website
Navarino Ranger Golf Outing
The Navarino Rangers 15th annual golf outing will take place on Saturday, June 24, 2017. The event will be held at the Golden Sands Golf Community in Cecil. For more info on the four person scramble contact Terry Conradt @ 715-758-2314.
Navarino Ranger Hall of Fame
The Navarino Rangers will be inducting its 12th class of inductees into the Navarino Rangers Hall of Fame for past players, managers, fans & supporters of Navarino baseball. The 2017 Hall of Fame Game will be August 6th vs the Hofa Park Panthers at 1:30. The inductee this year will be Greg Carpenter.
Navarino Ranger Memorabilia
If you would like to see some Navarino baseball history it is located at the Navarino Town Hall. The Rangers have on display old baseball uniforms dating back from the 1930's thru the 1990's. The 10 Grandchampionship trophy's along with team photo's, misc items and the Navarino Rangers Hall of Fame Inductee's plaque.
Navarino Baseball History
The team was reorginized in 1934 by Ira Hilliker. We have pictures that date back to 1910. The team played under the Galesburg name until 1950. Navarino is a charter member of the Dairyland which was founded in 1959. The Navarino baseball team became the "Rangers" in 1980. The property where the ball field stands was donated by George and Rosette Henn in 1948. Over the years many improvements have been made to the ballpark. The most significant was the installation of the lights in 1991. The Navarino "Rangers" and Navarino Little League are governed by the Navarino Athletic Assocation U.A. Board of Directors. The Rangers longtime announcing/scorebook team is Steve Daebler and Rayce Pues. The "RANGERS" of NAVARINO.
The Following articles were in the Appleton Post Crescent
July 6, 2008
Root, root, root for the home team
In places like Navarino, cheering for local nine is a tradition
By Brett Christopherson Post-Crescent staff writer
NAVARINO — A familiar face is relaxing in his lawn chair, the promise of another Sunday summer afternoon fading by each passing inning. He’s framed overhead by the leaves of a maple tree, enthusiasts nearby and an old friend — as radiant as ever despite the erosion of six decades — to his right and in front. “I built this ballpark," said Ed Krohlow, the pride in his 90-year-old eyes evident as he scans every inch of Navarino Athletic Field, home of the Navarino Rangers, one of nine amateur baseball clubs that comprise the Dairyland League. “This old ballpark was just a field. I built it, most of it, because I came in here with a tractor and equipment. Somebody gave us the property, and I worked it up like a garden."
That somebody was George and Rosetta Henn, who in 1948 sold it to the local school district for a mere $1 and other considerations a parcel of vacant land on the western edge of this unincorporated town in southern Shawano County, 35 miles from Appleton, that has since grown into something of a cathedral for many of the 4o8 souls who live here. Baseball fans might croon over Wrigley Field or Fenway Park, but the Navarino faithful hold nothing back in gushing over their own slice of Camelot. “It’s one of the best ballparks in the league," said Krohlow, a handful of outs separating the Rangers from completing a 4-1 Dairyland victory on June 29 against Bonduel, a win that handed the rival Broncos their first league loss in six tries. "There's no doubt about it."
Throughout Wisconsin, and across the nation, amateur baseball fills summer calendars. There are no egotistical owners, meddling agents, talk of free agency and bonus babies — unless you count the capitalistic-minded youngsters at Rangers games, who sprint after foul balls knowing their safe return to the PA booth means a shiny quarter in their pocket. Some of the amateur clubs in this state reside in larger cities, like Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay and Appleton. But many breathe life into sleepy outposts and are called the Seeley Mudpuppies, the Interwald Woodticks and the Navarino Rangers. They give their small communities a face, and baseball is the excuse for people to come together and rehash yesterday, contemplate tomorrow and cheer for today — all within the confines of a couple of hot dogs and a few lazy hours.
That's what Krohlow, a retired dairy farmer who rarely misses a game, finds so appealing about the amateur level. “You can always come home from church and change clothes, even if you had to be back home at 5 o'clock to milk cows," said Krohlow, a Navarino outfielder and first baseman for 22 years, beginning in 1934, that was interrupted only by a four-year stint in the service. "It's something to do. “In other words, it's a cherished pastime — whether the team name splashed across the jersey reads Hager City, Washington Island or Navarino.
'We had a good brand of baseball'
Tuna's Tavern bumps against State 156, just west of the Navarino-Lessor Fire and EMS Building, but a quick spin east of the Sgt. Avery Wilber Memorial Bridge, a short span that crosses the wandering Shioc River. From the outside, an overhang bolstered by two stone pillars identifies the longtime watering hole, an otherwise unassuming place that sits in the center of town. But walk inside and you'll find an 800-square-foot shrine to Navarino baseball.
On one wall are a handful of team pictures, along with three framed jerseys, one of which says Galesburg on the front. Although Navarino baseball dates back to the 1900s, the town team officially got its start in 1934 through the efforts of Ira Hilliker and was known as Galesburg until 1950.Hilliker's grandson, 57-year-old Lon Hilliker, recently unearthed a pair of team scorebooks, one from the inaugural 1934 season and another from 1940 that demonstrates a seemingly simpler time by the printing on its cover: Spalding Official Base Ball Score Book No. 91-835."We went every Sunday," said Lon, a Navarino resident who works for Miller Electric Manufacturing Company in Appleton. "My dad went to them, managed the team and then followed them after that. That's what you did on Sunday. You just went to the ballgames. I still follow them."
Another jersey is from the 1994 season, which ended with the Rangers beating Cecil in the Dairyland grand championship game to finish 16-0 — and led to packing the tavern, then known as Walt's Bar, in celebration afterward."This place would be full of beer on the floor, just people everywhere," said Kobey Pues, 43, a Navarino native and a sweet-swinging first baseman on that 1994 team who lives in Shawano. "They were outside this door, that door — they were everywhere. Our fan base here, the 25 years I played, was better than anybody else. “We’d go to some of these places, and they'd have 10 people there. We'd take our fans with us. We'd have 100 at away games. And when we were winning in the '80s, it would be nothing to have 200 people at a game, and that's a lot for a little town like this. We had a good brand of baseball, and people liked to watch that baseball. “The results of that brand — strong pitching, solid hitting, sound defense — can be seen on shelves above the tavern's entrance in the 10 grand championship trophies on display. Navarino, which in 1959 joined Black Creek, Bonduel, Hofa Park, Landstad and Nichols in forming the first Dairyland League slate, won titles in 1960, '84-86,'88, '90-91, '94-95 and 2003.
Many of those championships were sparked by the dominant pitching of left-hander Kevin Thiel, who played from 1984 to '95. Thiel, a Marion High School graduate, pitched in the California Angels farm system from 1972 to '76.Future big league hurler Bob Wickman, from nearby Abrams, was also known to make cameo appearances with the Rangers in the '80s.The wood bat league is celebrating its 50th season this summer. “You go back all those years, it was the activity for the whole town," said 63-year-old Jack Dingeldein, a retail lumber yard owner who lives in Oconto Falls, but grew up in Navarino. He played for the Rangers for 28 years and once served as the Dairyland president. “Everybody came to the ballgame. The camaraderie and even the families interacting at the games — I don't know, maybe there wasn't a lot else to do. But this town took its baseball seriously, it really did."'Your dad played, and you played'
A quiet crowd ignored a gloomy sky and unseasonably cool temperatures and doled out $2 in admission to watch Navarino improve to 3-4 in league play with its win over Bonduel. No attendance totals were taken, but the murmur throughout the park had that number anywhere between 100 and 150.Some sat under the covered bleachers behind home plate — the canopy installed last fall to complete another in a long line of improvements seen at Navarino Athletic Field — now the property of the township — over the years. Some hung out in the spacious concession shelter, sitting on picnic tables or their own portable chairs and within easy reach of an array of snacks and beverages. The area is a major upgrade from the old 10-foot-by-10-foot ice shacks that were once used as beer stands. A new outfield chain-link fence and scoreboard, bordered by tall pines, topped the project list in 2005, while lights were added in 1991.The Navarino Athletic Association U.A. (unincorporated association), a nonprofit organization that oversees Rangers baseball, and private donations helped fund those projects. “It’s as nice as any in the league, maybe nicer than any of them," Dingeldein, also a past president of the athletic association, said of the field, which measures 340 feet to straight-a-way center, 330 in the alleys, 310 to left and 285 to right. "The facility, the stands. Us and Bonduel have the two nicest parks, the two best-kept parks. “The two teams are also steeped in tradition, having combined to win 18 Dairyland grand championships. “I still don't think anybody knows how much it meant to the ballplayers to win," Dingeldein said. "Sometimes, nowadays, we're teaching our young kids — we shake our hands after the game and everybody's 'Yeah, Yeah. You played good, that's all that counts.' That wasn't so with us, and I don't think it was true of the league. “I didn't like the guys from Hofa Park and Bonduel, even though I knew them. I wanted to beat them worse than anything you can possibly imagine. I don't think some people know or can understand that feeling about playing baseball.
"Every Sunday was the World Series. I don't want to make it sound too much like the players were bloodthirsty animals out there. But dammit, you played to win. “So, what's the secret? Why have amateur teams faded in places like Black Creek and Shiocton but remained vibrant in Navarino?"Your dad played, and you played," said Dan Diemel, a 62-year-old who has lived in Navarino his entire life. He played 14 years with the Rangers and also served as the athletic association president. "That's the way it kind of went with my family. That's what most of them are, a cousin of this guy or a son of this guy. That's kind of how it gets passed around. “Look on the roster list of those who have played on Navarino title-winning teams and you'll find a number of Diemels and Dingeldeins and Herbs and Pues and Richters.Dingeldein even played long enough — from age 14 through 42 — to catch for his oldest son, Scott, who's now the Rangers' manager. “I told my wife, if (my 13-year-old son) wants to play ball when he's 16 and comes out here, I think I might have to come back out of retirement and play some more," Pues said with a smile. But could a day loom in Navarino when amateur ball becomes a memory? “I hope not," Pues said. "Every year, I tell them, if they need a player to avoid a forfeit, call me. I'll put the uniform on, and I'll be here in a second. I hope it never dies out here because of the history. But could you see it happening? Yeah. Black Creek is much bigger than we are, and they died out. It’s that fear, along with a craving for the game that keeps Chris Herb in uniform. At 35 and in his 20th season with the Rangers, Herb is the oldest player on the roster. He said the onus is on veterans like him he has played on multiple grand championship teams — to instill the tradition onto the next generation of Navarino ballplayers.
The youngest age on this year's club is 16, with the majority being in their 20s and hailing from Navarino.Twenty-five player names are listed on the Rangers' official roster. “There are a couple of years where we struggled getting players out," said Herb, a designated hitter/outfielder who was raised in Navarino and now lives in Wittenberg. "But now, kids are coming out and playing and sticking around, which is nice. I've been talking about retirement, but what else are you going to do on a Sunday? Come down here and watch the baseball? If I'm coming to watch, I'd just as soon be playing. “And winning. When Rangers pitcher Matt Krause struck out the final batter to cap the victory in a snappy one hour, 52 minutes; Diemel leaned over to Krohlow, smiled, extended his right hand and said, "I'll shake on that one."
A little while later, the concession shelter continued to fill as players and fans gathered for food, spirits and lively conversation. But the diamond wasn't deserted. One young boy stood near the mound, another was crouched behind the plate. Maybe they were pretending to be Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs or New York Yankees. Or perhaps their minds were on something more meaningful. Perhaps they just wanted to be Navarino Rangers.
July 6, 2008
Rangers booster Anvelink was 'a special lady'
By Brett Christopherson Post-Crescent staff writer
NAVARINO — Perhaps no one took Navarino baseball more seriously than Josie Anvelink, who with her husband, Walt, opened Walt's Bar in 1930."She's probably one of the key figures that kept the ball team going through the years," said Terry Tonn, 52, owner of Tuna's Tavern who mainly played second base for the Rangers during a 10-season career that began in 1978. "She donated a lot of time and money to keep the ball team going when times were tough. When they didn't have money for uniforms or equipment, she was always right there asking the ball team what they needed. She was willing to do whatever."
Today, the Navarino Athletic Association U.A. (unincorporated association), a non-profit group organized in the early 1980s that also governs the town's Little League and T-ball programs, funds the Rangers with a chunk of its income generated through an annual golf outing that raises up to $2,500.Generally, home expenses — baseballs, umpires, lights and miscellaneous items — cost the Rangers $2,000 per season. A new set of uniforms this year, however, added an additional cost of $3,500.
But years ago, the team would raise money by selling the backs of their jerseys to local businesses for advertising, something like you'd see in NASCAR. Sales, however, weren't always brisk. And that's when Anvelink, nicknamed "Peppermint Josie" because she enjoyed throwing back a shot of peppermint schnapps on occasion, stepped to the plate, to use a baseball cliché. “I remember in 1965, I ran the checkbook for a few years there, and I came up short, like three or four uniforms," said Freedom's Bruce Landsverk, 63, a Navarino native who suited up for the Rangers from 1960 to '72 before playing seven more amateur seasons with the Freedom Mets. “I mean, how many uniforms can you sell in Navarino? I was sitting at the end of the bar and having a beer and just down and thinking, 'I don't know how we're going to be able to do this. It was $25 a uniform, I remember that. And Josie went in the house, signed the check and gave me the check and just said fill in the numbers. She was a special lady."That affection, however, went both ways since fans and players alike shoehorned themselves into Walt's Bar following games. “You couldn't fit in this bar. You'd just get through the door," said Jack Dingeldein, 63, a former Rangers player. "Back in the old days, they'd put up beer out there under the trees and all of the family's kids would be playing there for hours and hours. Nowadays, they'd throw you in jail for that.
"But it was all families, and it was fun. There'd be a picnic out there. People would bring food. It was every Sunday. You just couldn't wait to get here. “Added Dingeldein's son, Mike, a 34-year-old second baseman/shortstop who lives in Bonduel and is in his 19th full season with the Rangers: "She was quite the character. We'd go down there and she'd throw a case of beer up there, 'Drink it up boys!' The place would just be packed. You knew she was happy when she threw that case of beer up there for you. It was a blast."
Anvelink continued to run the bar, support the team and charm those with her insatiable zeal following Walt's death in 1981.Upon passing away in March 2006 at the age of 94, a bouquet of flowers was found stuffed in the handle of the door leading into the tavern on the day of her funeral. “She stuck up for the locals," said Tonn, the bar's owner for the past two years. "She was just a genuine great person, a one-of-a-kind person."