One of the early teams in what some refer to as the “Golden Age of Baseball” in Princeton was the 1974 American Legion baseball team that qualified for the State tournament. Last Friday night some members of that team gathered for a 40-year reunion in Princeton. In the back row are Ken ”Buzz” Johnson, Pat Tierney, Pete Steinhagen, Tom Rogde, Dave Mingo and Dan Lofgren. In front are Mark Enger, Craig Remus, Mike Kapsner, John Kapsner and Keith Julson. Others on the team were Steve Bakken, Mike Solheim, Kevin Young, Brad Blankholm, Paul Trunk, Stu Remus and Kevin VanHooser.
Back then only one team from District 10 went to State, not four as was the case later. Princeton beat Hopkins for the district title and then beat Moorhead 4-0 in the first game at the State tournament in New Ulm. Princeton then took a 5-0 lead over St. Paul Attucks Brooks on the second day, with MLB Hall of Famer Paul Molitor in the Attucks Brooks lineup. But defensive miscues cost the team in a 7-6 loss to Attucks Brooks, which went on to win the State championship. Twenty minutes after that loss, Princeton had to play Sleepy Eye and lost 2-0, thus being eliminated from the tournament. A number of players from the 1974 team went on to play college baseball– three of them at St. Cloud State where they won two conference championships.