Baseball is a family affair.
The Milroy community, with names like Zwach and Dolan, is a clear demonstration of that reality.
A family with its baseball roots in the Milroy area was able to write another chapter over the past few weeks as part of the Minnesota Baseball Association Class C State Amateur Baseball Tournament.
After the City of New Ulm opted not to host the tournament in 2020, a new location needed to be found.
The City of Springfield, which had been slated to host games as a third site for the tournament, became the main field for the Class C tournament, and a second location was selected – the City of Milroy.
As this was going on, a town team, the Prior Lake Mudcats, were well into the season, and after climbing its way through the playoffs the team qualified to compete in the state tournament.
Among the players on the Mudcats roster was Luke Weber, who knew the Milroy area and its baseball tradition well, because his grandfather, Rich Kramer, lived it as a member of the Milroy Yankees.
According to Mary (Kramer) Kieffer, Rich Kramer’s daughter and Luke Weber’s aunt, her dad played baseball from the late 40s and into the 60s.
Aunt Mary, who lives in Illinois (an eight-hour drive), was in Milroy two weekends in a row to watch her nephew play baseball in Milroy.
The Milroy Yankees baseball team Web site lists Kramer as a member of its hall of fame and calls him “probably the most notable Milroy Yankee of all time.” He was considered the best hitter in team history and played outfield. He hit from the left side of the plate.
For Weber, just being on the same field as his grandfather was something special.
“My grandpa was a great guy,” said Weber, adding he was a strong supporter of all of his grandchildren and was willing to share his knowledge of the game with Weber.
Weber said being a lefty at the plate is something he is glad was passed on from his grandfather, adding he recalls his grandfather’s advice.
“He always told me to ‘hit it where they ain’t,’” said Weber with a smile.
Weber has to wonder if his grandpa was smiling down on the Prior Lake Mudcats during the playoffs. They had more than one close game as they qualified for state and competed in the first few rounds of the Class C tournament.
“It really has been a roller coaster,” said Weber.
For Weber it became the perfect scenario for him to be able to represent the Kramer family and especially his grandpa in a state tournament held on Milroy Yankees field when it wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place.
Weber has played baseball his entire life and is in his second year as a member of the Mudcats.
He also was a member of the Fort Ripley town team when he moved to Brainerd after finishing college.
Weber, who will be 30 next season, said he is pretty confident that he will play again next season.
The season came to an end for Weber and the Mudcats Saturday afternoon with a loss to Bemidji.
When he is not playing baseball, Weber is a chiropractor in Prior Lake.