Loeb Stories - American Legion Baseball

The Aviators worked with BoilerComm, Purdue's student run public relations firm, to gather stories from those that have been involved with Loeb Stadium over the years. Here is what they gathered with Joe Bumbleburg of American Legion Baseball. For more stories, see:

Feature Story on Interview with Joe Bumbleburg of American Legion Post 11 Baseball

It’s summer in the 1960’s, the heart of baseball season. An eight-year-old boy walks through the gates of Loeb stadium with dreams of becoming the next major league player from Lafayette. Hand in hand with his dad, he smells the ballpark hot dogs and freshly cut grass from the outfield. The pair make their way through the stadium and arrive at the Nautical Club, a place down the third base line where parents can drop their kids off while they watch the game. Joe looks out at the field and takes it all in, admiring the players he hopes to be like one day.

Joe Bumbleburg, Indiana Judge Advocate of the American Legion reminisces about these summer ball games saying, “I always remember my dad taking me to those. I remember seeing all the great players of the day,” It was, in part, witnessing and meeting these players at Loeb in his youth that led Joe to fall in love with baseball. A love that has only grown stronger over the decades.

Since the stadium opened in 1940, Loeb has attracted baseball fans and players of all ages. According to Bumbleburg, “Everybody wanted to come to Loeb Stadium to play. It’s such an incredible playing surface and stadium.”

When Joe says everyone wanted to come play at Loeb, he means it. Of the many people that have passed through the stadium’s opening gates, a great deal of them were legendary players whose stories still live on today. Joe explained, “There was always this great story about a guy by the name of Rowe, Schoolboy Rowe… a great baseball player in that whole era”.

Rowe became infamous among the Lafayette baseballers for his legendary homerun. A wallop that launched the ball not just over the fence, but beyond— over Main Street, over the houses and coming to rest atop the old Oakland school. It seems the ball travels further with every telling but that’s what makes it special. Tall or not, the tale brought a certain joy to Joe’s face as he told it. That common nostalgia we all share, with a cracked smile and distant eyes.

Schoolboy Rowe accomplished a lot in his days as an American Legion baseball player; some of his greatest achievements include winning a world-series championship and being a three time All-Star.

After his time at Loeb, Rowe went on to play for the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies. Despite the fact that Rowe moved on from playing in Loeb stadium, the legacy of his homerun lives on. American Legion baseball has always brought in dominating players throughout its history and Loeb has always been the place that these athletes call home in Lafayette. With the new renovations coming to the stadium, even more great players and their stories will make an impact on local baseball.

For the full audio and transcript of the BoilerComm's interview with Joe Bumbleburg, visit: http://www.lafayettebaseball.com/promo/legion-transcript.