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Baxter baseball booster gets kudos from council

Joe Pohlkamp was invited to the Feb. 2 Baxter City Council meeting to be recognized for his years of service.

Man standing in front of the council
Joe Pohlkamp, left, talks to the Baxter City Council, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, about baseball and making the city a destination spot for youth baseball around the state.
Tim Speier / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER — After years of serving the Baxter community, Joe Pohlkamp accomplished what he set out to do: to make Baxter a place where kids can play baseball.

Pohlkamp attended the Feb. 2 Baxter City Council meeting to be recognized for his years of service, not only to the city but also for his dedication to baseball and to all those who looked to play the game. The former Baxter Parks and Recreation director was recently inducted into the Minnesota Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2021.

When Pohlkamp, a Baxter resident, wanted to sign up his kids for sports 18 years ago, he was told they would play in the Brainerd sports programs.

A man smiles
Joe Pohlkamp

“I just thought to myself, ‘Why?’” Pohlkamp said at the council meeting. “And so from that point on it was, let's build this program towards what it can be. And as you can see, it's taken off.”

That work was not done alone, said Pohlkamp, as he talked about working with the city of Baxter and with Roy Rauen — a former parks and recreation maintenance worker who Pohlkamp credits with repositioning Baxter’s baseball fields — to obtain the vision they had of building the parks and fields to where they are today.

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It's only going to get better and better.
Joe Pohlkamp

“This doesn't happen by me,” Pohlkamp said. “It happens by the city of Baxter. It happens by a lot of great coaches that we've had, a lot of parents, a lot of kids. I've never got a base hit in that park and I never got a home run in that park. It's been all kids.”

Pohlkamp filled many roles in the Baxter Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken program, including as a coach to two World Series teams, league director and field supervisor. At the state level, he was also assistant district director and chaired many state tournaments as well as several Midwest Plains regional tournaments throughout his career.

With the merger of Baxter and Brainerd youth sports programs, Pohlkamp accepted the position of Baxter/Brainerd Parks and Recreation coordinator after retiring from teaching in the district in 2021.

All the hard work that goes into making everything look nice and presentable is for the kids, Pohlkamp said.

“That's what it's about, we're trying to raise good citizens,” Pohlkamp said.

Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson thanked Pohlkamp for his years of service to the city and the parks and recreation program.

Pohlkamp’s name will also be added to the Minnesota State Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken Baseball Hall of Fame plaque in the Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Cloud.

“I have a lot of people to thank,” Pohlkamp said. “I appreciate being honored here and I appreciate all of your guys’ support. As we move forward to the merger with the Brainerd parks and rec program, it's only going to get better and better.”

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TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme , call 218-855-5859 or email tim.speier@brainerddispatch.com .

Related Topics: BAXTER
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