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Professional baseball played in Kenosha for the first time in 81 years
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23 Jun 2019

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24 Jun 2019 08:12:52 PM
For the first time since 1952, fans gathered and watched a professional baseball game in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The Kenosha DNRs, a ballclub previously in operation from 1908 to 1952, donned their neon green uniforms for a Park matchup against the Orlando Ocean over the weekend. The team was compiled mostly of teenagers including 19-year old Gregory Trexler, a relief pitcher whom entered the game in the 5th inning. He pitched 2 and 2/3 innings, striking out 6 and earning the 5-1 win over Orlando.

"It was thrill," said owner Reed Johnson, whose grandfather of the same name managed the franchise decades ago. "I honestly never thought we would see baseball here again."

The pickup game was part of a nationwide movement which saw professional baseball played in dozens of cities around the country for the first time in 44 years. While the DNRs folded in 1952 (citing time and financial struggles), professional baseball on the whole abruptly came to a halt during the 1970 season amidst the “Great Flood.” Countless franchises from Hillsborough to Los Puercos to Maryhill dug their old uniforms out of museums this weekend, trying to revive the sport.

The Kenosha DNRs burst onto the League scene in 1911, going 152-10 in the Newbies League and capturing their first title. They would go on to become a founding member of the Frontier League in 1913. They played 12 seasons in the Frontier League from 1913 to 1920, and again from 1949 to 1952.

As the DNRs played their pickup games in the Park, banners pulled from the Kenosha Public Museum were hung on the right field fence commemorating their four championship titles: 1911 Newbies, 1920 Frontier, 1921 Global Up-and-Comers, and 1933 Global Baseball League victories.

A small flag adorned with imagery of eggs, bacon, and the letters MOY 1941 stood next to the championship banners, recognizing Reed Johnson's Continental Breakfast League Manager of the Year award following his 103-59 season and Game 7 loss in the Division Championships.

Four more banners hung on the left field fence commemorating the franchise's retired numbers: #4 for second baseman base-stealing extraordinaire Jack Cantrell, another #4 for the slugging DH Jeremy Morton, #10 for the beloved Marcelino Johnson, and #32 for the greatest starting pitcher in their franchise history, Archie Robinson.

Much of the rest of Kenosha's history has been lost to time. Career records, rosters, game logs and more never made it to a museum or personal collection. But the DNRs are ready to write some new history - new players, a new minor league system, and a new franchise full of victories and manager of the year titles and championships and freshly retired numbers, if a new stadium is built in Kenosha and the opportunity presents itself.

The "vintage" Kenosha DNRs won 4,257 games. How many will the new team win?

Edited by reedjohnson on 01 Jul 2019 04:42:33 PM.

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