Rome Raiders Baseball

  Land O Lakes Southwestern Division

Rome Baseball History

Chapter 20

Posted by romeraiders on August 15, 2011 at 11:05 PM

Little Rome, Wisconsin would even have a fictional TV series based on it in the early 90’s called Picket Fences. It ran from 1992-1996 and during the first season or two the one-hour weekly program would open with scenes from around town. Pictures of the Lutheran church , the Feed Mill, the Boy Scout cabin that some of us had built with our dads, and other pictures would flash across the screen as the program would begin.


The intro to the series as stated on the web,,,,“ An aging sheriff tries to keep the peace in a small town plagued by bizarre and violent crimes.” We didn’t have violent crimes but we did have some of the bizarre like many other small towns of America do.


That makes me remember Udo driving his car off his man-made ramp and into the Picket Fence pond to kick off the World’s greatest Junk Parade one year. With as many people who did show up, I guess that would qualify as part of the bizarre.


The tv news stations from Madison and Milwaukee covered the Junk Parade from day one. I called Producer David Kelly’s office in California a few weeks ago to ask if someone could get back to me and explain why Rome, Wisconsin was ever picked for a fictional tv series, but no one has yet called back. Maybe you as the reader has the answer to that question. Wikipedia says that Picket Fences is still a popular rerun in Western Europe, especially France, Germany and Denmark.


So, Rome, Wisconsin has gone global, and continues to do so.






Luella Maul.... the sweet little old lady of Rome in the brown brick house down from the church while I was growing up. I mowed her lawn as an early teen. When finished mowing she would have me come in and fill out the checkbook and then she’d sign it. She was in her 90’s and her vision was almost gone. She was one that had early days knowledge of Rome. As I got in my mid-teens I had a summer or two of mowing the Rome Fireman’s Park. Hop on the red McCormik C and take it down to Louie’s garage for gas and oil changes.




Dempse Behling.... the poor guy had a stress syndrome from the war, it wouldn’t take much for him to get into a stuttering pattern from something that would set him off.


Smitty was the World War I veteran from Rome who I could remember riding in the Memorial Day Parade as a kid. I always thought that was pretty neat, having a World War I vet in our town.


Clifford Streich....the older man who would walk around town with his arms spread out stiff from his side, not sure what the poor man was dealing with in that.


Arnie Radisky....the man from the edge of town who had his personal demon found in the bottle.


Was Rome really founded on seven hills as Rome Italy was? Not sure if that had anything to do with its naming, but it was one theory that would sometimes pop up.


Don Barnes said that Dick Krueger, Rome resident and left handed batter who played in the late 50's and early 60's for Rome, was a member of the 1954 Jefferson High School football team line. The line was known as being bigger that year in size than either the Badger or Packer line. Sports Illustrated had a picture of all the Jefferson lineman in an issue during the 54 football season.


The sledding hill at the edge of the Campground brought a lot of fun, pretty steep to get back up. The older guys of town for a short time had a go-cart track down below the sledding hill.


I remember as a middle school boy listening on my transistor radio in the winter as the Jefferson High basketball team with Rome’s Dale Walton would battle Fort lead by Deke Dullere. Walton and Dullere had some great battles. And then the outdoor basketball games in Keith and Kent’s driveway. A lot of town guys would at times would show up for those games as well.


Time would go on and we’d have the city league softball, basketball and flag football games in Jefferson. For a number of summers it also seemed like there was a softball tournament to get into somewhere just about every weekend. Rome would often have at least two teams for each, flag football maybe being the exception. Sometimes we would take on guys from other towns for tackle football. One time we played a Waterloo team on Fisher Field in Jefferson, we called them the Waterloo Plowjocks, they had a few mammoth guys.


The summers of Fireman’s Picnics for Rome and the other surrounding towns are also a part of our memories. One year I was surprised to find out that the wrestlers who just a short time earlier were trying to destroy each other, were actually pretty good friends as they waited for each other to shower up in my Uncle Red’s backroom bathroom.



The memories could go on and on, perhaps you are having some of your own as you read these accounts. This whole endeavor began for me this summer as I attended two Rome games, as they were playing in the Fort Tournament. After visiting with Kent and Denny during the first game and finding out that the team had a website I thought I’d write a few things.


I had no idea I’d write as much as I did, it kind of turned into a summer project. I even witnessed a triple play that Rome pulled during their win, I don’t think I had ever witnessed that live before. It also dawned on me while watching them play that they hardly ever struck out. What a contrast that was from how we batted especially in that first year of 74. We were experts of the whiff. Some of us had played for Merle Fischer’s Woodchopper softball team. We could whiff every way possible, in the dirt , out of the strike zone, above our heads with the high woodchopper chop, or with the bat staying on the shoulder. We got better as time went on but these current players are good.



When teams play a sport they want to win. Sometimes it happens but usually it doesn’t unless you are part of some kind of dynasty. What I found out is that Rome took first in 33, 39, 47, 49 and 57. Rome took second place in 58, 62, 76, 77,and 78. It was also found that Rome took third place in 61, 83 and 93.


I wrote from just a small sliver of time and closer research will undoubtedly find many other high finishes. My research didn’t go much beyond 78, the time that I’d move on and start a different direction and location with my life. But growing up memories remain.


I grew up on a farm near Cushman’s Mill, attended the one room school at Cushman’s Mill for grades 1-3, the whole school was grades 1-8 that had one teacher. We also had outhouses and a pump in front of the school to get the water for everyone. I was the smartest kid in my class at Cushman’s Mill because I was the only kid in my class. A friend once reminded me that I was also therefore the dumbest kid in my class.


Ron Hachtel was one of the older boys at Cushman’s Mill and he’d go on to Jefferson High School and have just great seasons in football and wrestling. At age 9 our family moved to Rome and that was where I was till I left the home of my parents Ken and Bev Kutz.



Games may go one way or the other but the important thing to do for certain is to win at life. Jesus said in Mark 8:36 , “For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul.”


Hebrews 9:27 says, “ And as it is appointed unto man once to die but after this the Judgment.” The bible says that the soul lives forever and that it will live in either heaven or hell. What one does with Jesus will determine the soul’s destiny.


In John chapter 3 vs.3, Jesus told Nicodemus that unless a person is born again he will not see the kingdom of God. Jesus was saying that Nicodemus needed a spiritual birth, he had the physical birth, he now needed to become a new creation in Christ with a spiritual birth. Salvation or being born again is offered as a free gift. If Nicodemus, a religious man and teacher of the Jews needed to hear this, certainly I needed to hear it along with all others.


Eph. 2:8-9 states, “ For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the GIFT of God, not of works lest any man should boast.” A gift has to be received to have it in one’s possession.


Romans 6:23 states ,” For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Ephesians 2:1 adds, as it is speaking to the believers at Ephesus, “ And you hath he quickened (made alive spiritually) who were dead in trespasses and sins.”


John 3:36 puts it as straight as it can be put, “ He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him.” In John 14:6 Jesus would say, “ I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”


The gospel message would be so important that Acts 20:21 tells us that the Apostle Paul would go from house to house taking the message of, “ Repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Mickey Mantle realized these truths before his days on earth came to an end and so did Pete Maravich the basketball player.


Albert Pujols came to life in Christ a few years back and his info about this can be readily found on the web.


John chapter 3 and and Romans chapters 3, 5, 6, and 10 are just some of the great chapters of the bible to read about salvation. Make sure these truths become real and personal to you, the bible says that your eternity depends on it.

2 Corinthians 5:17 declares the big IF, it says, “ Therefore IF any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation), old things are passed away (passing away,) behold, all things are become (are becoming) new. That’s new life in Christ, seek it and receive it.


Thanks for tagging along on this trek. May God’s richest blessings be upon you. Ron Kutz, Cambridge, Wis.

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