-State tournament apperances in 1977, 1979, 1983, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009 Class B, 2013,2014,2015
Class C State champs in 1996
Class C State champs in 2007
Class C State Champs in 2015
Plato Baseball History
In the early years of Plato’s existence, baseball was a popular sport being played in most Minnesota towns. Baseball in Plato goes back to the turn of the century. One of the first baseball fields was laid out on the J.P. Torrey farm, which was along the East road into Plato.
The first game on record in Plato was played on June 23, 1892. Plato faced Glencoe, with Plato winning by a score of 25-14. In 1907, the field was improved and became one of the best in the county. That same year, Plato won the County Championship. They beat Glencoe at the Norwood ballpark by a score of 6-0. Some of the teams Plato played in the early years were Biscay, Lester Prairie, Camden, Rich Valley, New Germany, Norwood, and Glencoe.
In the 1920s, the baseball field was moved to the Albert Lepel farm on the Northwest end of town, where the games were played in the pasture. The team played in the McLeod County League.
After nearly 10 years without a team, Plato again fielded a team in 1933. Plato joined the Western Minnesota League. The league consisted of teams from Brownton, Glencoe, Lake Marion, Green Isle, Arlington, Hutchinson, Heatwole, Stewart, and Plato. It was also the first year that teams could only use home talent. Twenty players reported for practice. Plato had a fast, though comparatively inexperienced team. Their first game was against a veteran Green Isle club, with Plato edging Green Isle 9-8.
The team also rented 2-1/2 acres of land in 1933 from Ferndiand Jannusch to make a new ball diamond, which was located just North of the public school. On Nov. 25, 1940, the ball team bought the land. The grandstand was built in 1941 and the field was greatly improved. The diamond was used until 1973 and is still used today for little league programs.
In 1934, Plato joined the Tomahawk league. Teams included in this league were Hamburg, Gibbon, Arlington, Nicollet, New Ulm, Gaylord, and Green Isle. The opening game saw Plato defeat Hamburg 8-4.
A year later, in 1935, Plato joined the Dairy Belt league. This league consisted of six teams: Winsted, Lester Prairie, Lake Marion, Hamburg, Glencoe, and Plato. Other teams that joined the league later were Lake Jennie, Lake Side, Heatwole, Hutchinson, West Lynn, Green Isle, Stewart, and Buffalo Lake. The team traveled mostly by school bus.
In 1940, Plato became a member of the Crow River Valley league, to which they still belong. The Crow River league members were Norwood, Victoria, Chaska, Mayer, Young America, St. Boni, and Waconia.
In 1949, Plato ended the season in fourth place, but defeated Lester Prairie and Norwood in the league playoffs to become the first Plato team to win the Crow River Championship. They later lost to Chanhassen in the Region 7B playoff.
In 1971, after months of hard work, David Gnan succeeded in convincing the Plato Village to purchase land from Rueben Engelmann and Harry Lepel to build a new baseball diamond. After two years and many hours of hard work by the baseball team and fans, Plato had one of the nicest parks around.
In the spring of 1973, the old grandstand was moved to complete the diamond. A big day in Plato baseball came on April 30, 1973, when Plato played their first game on the new diamond. The land that was purchased in 1971 continues to be the site of the baseball diamond to this day. Since 1973, there have been many changes to the ballpark, including a new grandstand (1983), dugouts, fences, and an in-ground sprinkler system, but the pride that Plato teams have in the condition of their baseball field has been constant.
Plato’s first state tournament appearance came in 1977. The tournament that year was hosted by Wadena. Plato was the victor by a score of 5-3 over Wadena in their first game, but lost their second round match-up to St. August by a score of 11-6. Joel Lepel was selected for the All-tournament team, becoming the first Plato player to earn that honor.
Since its first appearance in 1977, Plato has appeared in ten additional state tournaments. Those appearances were in 1979, 1983, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2007. The most noted of these were the 1996 and 2007 tournaments in which Plato captured the Class C State Championship. David Franke was the tournament MVP in 1996, making him the first and only Plato Blue Jay to ever earn that honor. The tournament MVP in 2007 the Blue Jays’ draftee from Hamburg, Mike Mueller
This is a little glimpse into the history and tradition of Plato baseball. Thanks to the loyal fans and dedicated players, baseball has always been, and will continue to be, a pastime for the people of Plato.