Reporting Matt Brickman
MIESVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) – In the summer months, small towns in Minnesota are brightened by the sights and sounds of townball.
Amateur baseball has been a tradition in this state for almost a century, and for some towns the ballparks themselves are as much an attraction as the game.
WCCO viewers’ pick for Best Small-Town Ballpark turned a town of about 120 into a destination for baseball fans.
It’s the home of the Miesville Mudhens — Jack Ruhr Field in rural Dakota County.
The joke about Miesville is the town’s so small that if you blink you’ll miss it.
But in the middle of seemingly endless cornfields, a ballpark like Jack Ruhr Field tends to stand out.
Miesville has had some form of amateur baseball since the 1930s. But in 1960 they faced the possibility of losing their team.
“The league said your field is not good enough to continue in this league,” Juice Johnson said. “So you need to improve your playing field. So they said ‘OK, the Mudhens aren’t going to fold.’”
So for $2,500, they bought five acres of farm land and got to work building a ballpark.
“We’ve got the cornfields planted over the fence, so everybody kind of likes the ‘Field of Dreams’-type image there,” Johnson said.
Their field of dreams became a reality, thanks to local volunteers who gave their time to put up grandstands, the iconic outfield wall, the scoreboard, and the lights.
“Everybody kinda has a communal feel to baseball down here in Miesville,” Johnson said.
Wednesday’s game did get rained out, but the Mudhens play Friday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.