Our Past | 1951: Donkey baseball at the fairgrounds

Selected by Karen Larsen

We’ve seen a lot of donkey basketball in recent years, but not much donkey baseball. This article, published in the July 12, 1951 edition of the Waterville Empire-Press, tells of an upcoming game, which was a fundraiser for the fireplace in Pioneer Park. In the same paper, there was also an article about an upcoming square dance to raise money for the fireplace.


Donkey Baseball Game July 22

There’ll be fun galore at the fairgrounds Sunday evening, July 22, when a donkey baseball game will be played between the Waterville Lions Club and the Waterville Wranglers. The game will start at eight o’clock and will be played in front of the grandstand. The grounds will be lighted with portable flood lights, furnished by the same company that supplies the donkeys.

Proceeds from the game will go to the planning council for construction of a fireplace in Pioneer Park.

If you are not familiar with the game, here are a few of the rules:

All players are mounted with the exception of the pitcher, catcher and batter. The ball is pitched to the batter until he gets a hit. There are no balls or strikes called on the batter.

When the batter gets a fair hit, he mounts the donkey and tries to get to first base. A mounted player must get the ball and throw to the pitcher who must throw for the out. A player is safe on base if the donkey has one or more feet on base.

The pitcher and catcher are not allowed to get out of their boxes to get the ball. Should a fielder or baseman get off his donkey to make a catch, it is not counted as an out. The runner is allowed to keep on going until the one getting the ball gets back on his mount and throws the ball to the pitcher.

Fielders going after the ball must ride up to the ball. Then they are allowed to get off and pick up the ball, but must get back on the donkey before making the throw.

When there is more than one runner on base, the one getting the ball may use fielder’s choice in throwing for an out. In all other cases, the ball must be thrown to the pitcher, who throws for the out.

An added attraction will be Elmer Holcomb, rodeo clown, with his trained donkeys.