Nite Hawks gather once again

Ed Rood
Nite Hawks gather once again

Time traveled backwards July 13 when members of the old Slater Nite Hawks baseball team gathered at the Nite Hawk Bar & Grill for the opportunity to reminisce about the good old days.

Bob Locker, who played as a catcher from 1958 to 1974, organized the reunion.

Looking back, the lights went on June 11, 1948 — the lights at the Slater Memorial Baseball Park that is. It was on that night more than 800 fans came to see the town’s new team, the Slater Nite Hawks, play their first night game on their newly lighted diamond.

Gerald “Bib” Schaudt, 85, remembers it well. He had just graduated from Slater High School and joined his older brothers, King and Bill, as they traveled central Iowa playing other town teams.

The Nite Hawks originally played in the Story County League. Other members of the league were Colo, Ames, Zearing, Huxley, Cambridge, Maxwell, Roland, Story City and McCallsburg.

“It gave the town something to do,” Schaudt recalls as his mind traveled back in time. “We had fun … a lot of fun! My brother King had a short fuse. Other teams’ players knew it. They kidded him a lot. One night, King fought some guy from Kellogg. King won. Later he gave me a little advice: Always make sure you get in a good first punch.”

Schaudt also remembers how King and Bill would work hard trying to recruit pitchers. They often set their sights on Iowa State players. King managed to snag Gary Thompson for a couple of years, and even gave him a job at his service station during the summer.

The Nite Hawks graduated from the Story County League to play in statewide and national competition over a period of more than 50 years. They won many state championships and represented Iowa in the National Baseball Congress tournament on several occasions during the height of their success.

When asked if the Nite Hawks are planning to play an old timers game anytime in the future, Bob Locker quickly dismissed the possibility. “We’re too damn old!”

Those in attendance included: Jerry Kindhart, 1966-1972; Gerald Schaudt, 1948-1954; Steve Crandell, 1969-1980; Don Bjelland, 1965-1972; Wendell Blankenburg, 1963-1975; Bob Locker, 1958-1975; Jack Blake, 1968-1981; Jeff Elgin, 1969-1974; Jim Hermann, 1953-1961; Grant Halsne, 1957; Ron Locker, 1958-1973; Jerry McNertney, 1956-58; Phil Groth, 1966-1969; Nels Nord, 1960-1961; Jene Scott, 1970-1973; Ron Fontana 1959-1960; Larry Larson; Barney Alleman, 51-55; Clair Rierson, Gary Thompson, 1956-57; Bill Boettcher, 1950-1962; Dave Posegate, 1962-1970; Mike Johns, 1973-1975; Ron Ridnour, 1972-1974; Jim Janevick, 1969.