Bancroft News

‘Snowball’, ‘Spot’ and ‘Lefty’ play for Bancroft


Ted Houge was the speaker Jan. 17 at the Presbyterian Church. One of the regular speakers is in the hospital in Huron. We wish him well quickly.

I saw a sign the other day that said “If you don't SEE the sunshine, BE the sunshine.” Thankfully we could SEE the sunshine yesterday. What a beautiful sight!

Larry Martens has now had something placed in his tracheotomy, so he can speak some. Now, I pity the poor nurses who will have to “listen” to him give them orders. Each step is small improvement, so we are very thankful for that!


The team consisting of Dan Costello (of), Brick Tyrrell (of), Clarence Nenaber (c), Basil Dill (p), Max Mears, Merle Jencks, Orville Billington (1b), Mat Muller, (manager), Dee Underwood (ss), “Snowball” Winjim (2b), and Andy Gambler(3b) played in the early '20's, with many people recalling the rivalry that existed with Iroquois. In one such contest, the game went 21 innings when Clarence Nenaber punched the winning hit out. It was quite a coincidence that the hit came off a visiting cousin of Andy Gambler who was one of Bancroft's own players.

During the '30's the team changed faces again with the new players Cy Tyrrell (p,1b), Reinhard “Spot” Maass (c), Leroy Hoover (3b), Donald “Bud” Fry (of), Wally Perry (of), George Perry (2,3b), Albert “Lefty” Peterson (p), Herman Schlueter (1b), Ron Wigman (of), Eddie Jencks (p,2b), George Smith (c,of), Noble Olson(of) and Glen “Pat” Jencks (ss). This team's major competition came from Yale due to the brothers of Spot Maass playing there.

The most recent team of players, many of whom still live in our area, was the team of the 40's-50's. It was composed of Ken Jencks (ss,3b), Slim Akkmann (1b), Virgil Samulson (of), Ben Poppen(c), Clinton Tibbetts (p), Ed Poppen (1b), Gib Ford (of), Tuck Costello (ss), Don Peterson(of) and Gaylord Barber. Stories tell of the elder Slim Akkmann who once played for the Sioux Falls Canaries. In 1940, the team was one game away from playing in the state tournament with Carthage, its last stepping stone. The team had won most of the games until Carthage stopped them. The game was played on neutral ground at Iroquois, with one local player recovering from an accident. Despite this, the team was ahead with two down in the ninth until the Canary player himself, Slim Akkmann, dropped a pop fly at the first, and the opponent's winning runs crossed home. The team who brought Bancroft its first trophy wasn't able to capture another that day.


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