By Bruce Williams
This year is the 30th anniversary of the building of our community sponsored baseball facility, Hartman Field. This is part 1 of a two part series.
It was the end of the road, or so it seemed. Sitting on the aging set of bleachers at the San Juan County fair grounds, Bill Holstein another little league dad, and I wondered what our sons were going to do next year.
The boys had just finished their last game of the season at the old field located, where the skate park and playground now sit. I don’t remember for certain, but the games umpire may well have been Howard Hartman, a well known community member, who would regularly spend his evenings and Saturdays calling balls and strikes to keep the program alive. In those days it was a homegrown effort, with he and his wife Doris doing most of the work. Parents volunteered to coach and most of us relied on what we could remember from grade school and high school ball, making it up as we went.
Bill worked for OPALCO, and had the energy and enthusiasm to start a big ball program, and with help from Andy Prochy and Dave Ellingston we started looking for a place to put a new field. For several years I had been living on Lampard Road, and would daily drive past the vacant property that adjoined the Catholic church between Margurite and Price Streets. At our first meeting I suggested that it would be a great place to have a ballfield.
Bill and his wife took the bull by the horns and approached the church father and somehow secured a one year lease to use the land for a Babe Ruth baseball program. Bill got his boss to give us old telephone poles, and we gathered volunteers to help erect the first backstop, using donations of lumber,—chicken-wire and fishing nets. Richard Lawson, brought in his road grader to level the infield and outfield, and we were on our way to our first season. It was the spring of 1986.
Bruce has lived on San Juan since 1978, with his wife Anne and their family. He has been a volunteer coach, umpire, and board member of the local baseball boosters club.