1919 Ravensdale Baseball Team
As major league baseball swings through the playoffs advancing towards the World Series, this column looks back a century to baseball in Ravensdale.
This 1919 photo of Ravensdale players comes courtesy of Gary Habenicht and appears in the series of 15 historical signs located in Ravensdale Park.
The signs tell the history of Ravensdale – with the sports and recreation-focused one located between the baseball and soccer fields. The Ravensdale Town Team was comprised primarily of coal miners as competition between neighboring mine teams was fierce.
The teams were typically sponsored by the local coal mining company. Many a miner was hired as much for his baseball prowess as his mining skills. Miners who worked jobs of hard physical labor six days per week, eight to ten hours per day looked forward to the camaraderie and relaxation provided by baseball.
Much of the town would turn out for Sunday home games in an era before television dominated culture. Shown in this photo is Gary’s father, Vern Habenicht, middle row center.
The Habenichts were some of the earliest immigrant families to work in Black Diamond’s coal mines, arriving in the mid-1880s. Other players identified include Frank Wilsco, who Vern has his arm around; and Vern’s brother-in-law, Frank Schmitz, top row, far right.