Baseball had been an important pastime in Central Minnesota since the 1920’s. The Great Soo League was the area’s first organized league, beginning in 1926 and lasted for 40 seasons. Some of the Stearns County League teams had their initial seasons as part of this well-known league.
Most of our local amateur teams had their beginnings in the 30’s. St. Martin was the first current member of the Stearns County League to have an organized team, playing its first season in 1929 as part of the Sauk Valley League. New Munich has its debut season in 1930 as a member of the Great Soo League and was the only current league member to field a team in 1931 and 1932. Elrosa had its first team in 1933 as part of the Central Minnesota League.
In 1934 the first league to take the name Stearns County League was formed. It included only two of its current members; St. Martin (which played only two seasons in the now defunct Sauk Valley League) and Richmond which played its inaugural season. Other teams in the six team league included Cold Spring, Albany, Melrose, and St. Anthony. (Cold Spring and Albany already had other teams in the Great Soo League). That Stearns County League lasted through the 1936 season.
In 1937, New Munich and Richmond had teams in the Great Soo League and only Richmond fielded a team in 1938.
In 1939, another league known as the Stearns County League began and that included some more of its current members. First year teams included Lake Henry, Farming, and Roscoe. St. Martin which did not have a team in 1937 & 1938 was part of the league as was New Munich, which had left the Great Soo League after the 1937 season. Elrosa left the Central MN League to join and Spring Hill had a team for one season as part of the league in 1939.
Lake Henry, New Munich, St. Martin, Farming and Roscoe continued in the league in 1940 and 1941. No one fielded a team in 1942 – probably due to the war.
In 1943 and 1944, Farming had resurrected its team and was now part of the Great Soo League where it stayed until 1950. St. Martin started up again in 1945 as part of the Great Soo League, went to the Central Minny in 1946 and then to the Stearns County League in 1947.
Lake Henry, Roscoe, and Elrosa all rejoined the Stearns County League in 1946. New Munich joined in 1947, didn’t field a team in 1948, but then rejoined again in 1949. Richmond meanwhile had been part of the Great Soo League since 1937 but missed seasons from 1942 through 1945, beginning again in 1946, still as part of the Great Soo League.
As you can see from the information above, while many of the current members of the Stearns County League have their roots prior to 1950, it wasn’t until 1950 that the current members of the Stearns County League were all pretty much present. (There were also many other communities who once were in a league that was known as the Stearns County League – including the likes of Melrose, Belgrade, Brooten, Rockville, even St. Cloud to name a few). Because of this, it could be stated that the Stearns County League as we know it came to be in 1950. In that year, 7 of the 8 original towns that played together until 1983 when the league expanded were members (with Richmond joining 3 years later).
In 1950, the new league was formed and it was called the Central Stearns (for the first three seasons). It was made up of Lake Henry, New Munich, St. Martin, Farming, Roscoe, Elrosa, Regal, and Green Grove – which was the two communities of Greenwald and Meire Grove.
Elrosa lasted only the first season and was replaced by Freeport. Regal left the league in 1953 and was replaced by Richmond. Then in 1959, Freeport folded and Green Grove was split into the separate teams of Greenwald and Meire Grove. The league stayed the same from 1959 until 1983 when it expanded and added Elrosa and Spring Hill to form its current 10 team league.
It can be argued when the official Stearns County League began. In 1949, five of its current members were already present. But in 1950, eight of the current communities were part of the league, so for that reason, the history of the Stearns County League begins in 1950.
Regardless of when the league officially began, it’s doubtful there has been a more stable league anywhere in the state.
Following are the standings based upon information contained in the St. Cloud Times.
All information gathered by: David Schneider
Note: the information has been gathered from the St. Cloud Times stored on film at the St. Cloud State library. The earliest year film existed was 1928