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The Russiaville Youth Baseball League played its first season on the current site (Lions Club Grounds) in 1966. A story in the June 23, 2002, edition of the Kokomo Tribune related some of the details of the move: Knowledgeable veterans recall the meager beginning and move from Forest to Russiaville in 1966 … Joining still-bouncy Charlie (Rollins, first league president) were Dave Reser, Bob Robey, Jack Waddell, Albert Hill, Lowell Warden, Cleo Hale, Dan Walden, Bob Kanable, Hugh Stewart and many others. “We had about $65, an old chest protector with holes in it and a team and a half,” Charlie said with a laugh. “When we first viewed the field just off (North Liberty Street), all we could see were 6-foot briar bushes and places to hunt rabbits. But the Russiaville Lions Club stepped up and made the ground available, and we were in business. “We got a garage from the South Side Drive-In in Kokomo and made it our concession stand; our lights came from an old service station in Illinois; the power company provided and set the poles; and Cecil Reed built the dugouts. I went out to watch the play, and the next thing I knew, I was behind the plate,” he added. In addition, the company now known as Haynes International, donated the posts for the backstop fence behind home plate, at what is now called Robert M. Waddell Memorial Park. Reser told the Kokomo Tribune in the June 23, 2002, story, that on November 1, 1965, the league had a balance of $244. The Tribune’s story on June 23, 2002, described Opening Day thusly: Unquestionably, today’s Russiaville Cal Ripken League is a main highlight, its pre-season trademark being an incredible Opening Day parade that takes over (Indiana) 26 with floats, sponsors, Western’s band and 400-plus, small-fry base thieves. Toss in a few roses, and you’d have Pasadena in April.

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