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Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.

Rumor: Minor League Ball Coming to South Cape

Giboney clearing 07 01 2011 7546 500x332 Rumor: Minor League Ball Coming to South CapeThe first day I was in Cape, we made the usual pass down Broadway, cruised past Water Street to see that the floodgates were closed, then headed down Aquamsi Street, jogged over onto Elm Street, then Giboney, on down to where the sinkholes had swallowed South Sprigg at Cape LaCroix Creek.

Funny how I always thought that was pretty much a straight shot until I looked at it on the map.

Giboney clearing 07 01 2011 7545 500x332 Rumor: Minor League Ball Coming to South CapeAs we passed below Fort D, I thought something was odd: we could SEE the fort. I thought I remembered the view being blocked by brush and trees.

What’s all the clearing?

Giboney clearing 07 01 2011 7553 500x332 Rumor: Minor League Ball Coming to South CapeOn the way back from looking at the sinkholes, we noticed that there was a lot of land being cleared north of the fort in an area roughly bounded by Maple on the north, Giboney on the east, Elm on the south and Ranney on the west.

“It’s going to be a minor league ball field”

Giboney clearing 07 01 2011 7543 500x332 Rumor: Minor League Ball Coming to South CapeThere was a work crew digging out the foundation of a building half-way up Elm Street, so I stopped to talk with a worker about what they were doing.

“Well, I guess it’s no secret. The rumor is that it’s going to be a minor league ball field. We have people stopping by here all the time saying that’s what it’s gonna be. In fact, Walter Joe Ford pulled up yesterday and asked, ‘Is this [name deleted]‘s ball field?’”

I didn’t track down the alleged owner

Giboney clearing 07 01 2011 7559 500x332 Rumor: Minor League Ball Coming to South CapeThe name is deleted because I didn’t confirm the name. I heard it from several semi-reliable sources, but I didn’t talk directly to the person who is supposedly putting the project together.

Reporting is too much like work

Giboney clearing 07 16 2011 9583 500x332 Rumor: Minor League Ball Coming to South CapeWhy didn’t I track it down? Frankly, that’s real reporting and real reporting is too close to being work. Something else was nagging me, too. I’ve worked stories about how big land purchases are put together. The early rumors of what was thought to be going on frequently turn out not to be even close to the final deal.

So, I’m going to let you folks theorize and speculate away. Let’s see how many of you have heard the same rumor I have.

Reasons that it might be true:

  • Giboney clearing 07 16 2011 9579 500x332 Rumor: Minor League Ball Coming to South CapeThe person who is said to be involved has a history of doing or being involved in big projects, particularly of a civic-minded nature, and has been closely linked with some of the university’s expansions.
  • The person has an interest in baseball.
  • If a pro league DIDN’T come to Cape, the property is close enough to the River Campus, that it could be re-purposed for the University.

Reasons why it might NOT be true

  • Giboney clearing 07 01 2011 7561 500x332 Rumor: Minor League Ball Coming to South CapeAs it stands now, there doesn’t look to be enough land for a playing field, practice fields, seating and parking. That’s not to say that more property hasn’t been obtained or could be obtained.
  • That area is made up of steep hills and deep gullies. Either an awful lot of hills are going to have to be cut down or there’s going to have to be a lot of fill brought in to make it level. There might be enough dirt on site, but I’m not sure.

Two houses need to be torn down

Giboney clearing 07 01 2011 7571 500x332 Rumor: Minor League Ball Coming to South CapeThe worker told me that there are two houses at the top of the hill that still need to be torn down. Rumor has it that at least one of the the houses is owned by an elderly man who has no desire to move from his home. There are some trespassing signs that I can “overlook,” but I decided I’d believe this guy might just mean his, so I didn’t knock on his door to ask him what was going on.

Clearing work brings out treasure hunters

Jamihia Walker Giboney Clearing 07 16 2011 9602 500x332 Rumor: Minor League Ball Coming to South CapeWhen I checked out the site on Saturday, I ran into Jamihia Walker, a 26-year-old SEMO student majoring in business, who was wielding a metal detector hoping to find coins or other treasures.

Trash or treasure?

Giboney clearing 07 01 2011 7556 500x332 Rumor: Minor League Ball Coming to South CapeMs. Walker, was an absolute delight to talk with except for her insistence on calling me “sir” – “I’m sorry, sir, that’s just the way my grandparents brought me up.”

She came here from Sacramento to help care for them. Now that they’ve passed away, she plans to get her degree, stay in Cape a few more years, then move to a bigger city where she will become an entrepreneur. She might just make it if she can shed that “sir” business.

What’s your opinion?

  • Jamihia Walker Giboney Clearing 07 16 2011 9609 500x332 Rumor: Minor League Ball Coming to South CapeIs the property suitable for a minor league ball facility?
  • Would Cape be able to support a minor league team?
  • Which major league team would it be affiliated with?
  • Would you attend the games or are you going to be spending all your time and money at the casino?
  • If it’s not a ball field, what is your alternative theory? Wild guesses acceptable.
  • By the way, I’ve heard this area called Mill Town and Giboney Woods. I’m not sure if they are the same or if it’s either. Anyone know the answer to THAT?

Photo gallery

Here’s a photo gallery of pictures taken July 1, 2011, and July 16, showing how much work has been accomplished. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the collection.

22 comments to Rumor: Minor League Ball Coming to South Cape

  • Willy

    How to refreshing to run across a young person using common courtesy. The young woman will go far in this world!

  • Cactus4

    Isn’t there supposed to be a motel built near the River Campus? Maybe that’s what is going on here?

  • van riehl

    How else would she address a bald headed, white bearded and portly old man…I even call him “Sir”

    • I’m sure Ms. Walker was using “Sir” as a sign of respect, not pity. At least, that’s what I hope.

      Trooper Van Riehl put a different spin on it when he’d bark, “Step out of the vehicle, SIR.”

      I think I like Ms. Walker’s version better.

  • Mark Steinhoff

    Van,

    “Ouch!” Let sleeping dogs lie…

  • Bill Stone

    Pure spectulation on my part but it is possible that Cape could support a professional team. Cape has a great baseball tradition. There is the independent Frontier League operating in the Midwest that currently has the River City Rascals in OFallon, The Grizzles in Sauget, Il and the newest entry in Marion, Il. An entry from Cape would fit in that league, nicely. The Frontier League has teams as far away as Michigan and Ohio so I am sure a team located in Cape would be welcomed. Again, this is just guess work on my part.

  • Mike Taylor

    Depending on how minor the minor league ball field is they’ll just leave the hills and gulleys in place. I played on a few like that and there’s even one at the major league level in the out field of the Houston Astros . Adds flavor to the game.

  • Joe Whitright

    Ken, the area south of Hackberry street and west of Sprigg and on south to old 74 highway was all a wooded area when i was a kid living on south Benton 70 years ago and was me and my brothers old stomping grounds.It was what we knew as the Giboney Houck woods. Don’t know when that area was cleared but it was many “moons” ago!
    Joe Whitright “45″

  • Joe Whitright

    Ken, the area west of Sprigg St. and south of Hackberry St. , on south to old 74 highway was a wooded area that we knew as the Giboney Houck woods. It was cleared a long time ago; don’t remember when!
    Joe Whitright “45″

  • Hazel (Buckner) Wellter

    Ken…One of the homes torn down was my families at 502 Elm and next door was my Aunts home. (also gone)
    It will be interesting to see what the land becomes but knowing the Fords he most likely has a good idea. LOL No guesses from me but I will be watching along with other faamily members and town people. By the way Giboney Woods was also known as Bluebell Island.Being such an old sole is good sometimes.

  • Hazel (Buckner) wELTER

    correctios to previous email..

  • UPDATE:

    I posted one of the photos to The Missourian’s subscriber-submitted photos site.

    Melissa Miller, who is a REAL reporter, confirmed the name I had heard associated with the project. Here’s the comment she filed:

    “I spoke with Earl Norman recently about the work he was doing to clear this property.

    While Norman does have dreams of seeing the area used as a sports complex someday, the clearing work going on there doesn’t mean these plans are moving forward.

    Norman said he was getting rid of some eyesores at the site to make the property more attractive to a potential buyer.

    For now, we’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds for this site.”

    So, there’s the answer.

  • Mearlin Allen

    here some more rumers– Sides Steel and Standley Batch was also looked at a buy out, with all the property in between for the same purpose, a ball field. That’s a bit of land if they grade it all level.

  • Thanks for calling me a “REAL reporter.” I’ll take that as a compliment. :)

  • David Dalton

    Hi Ken,
    Thank you for everything you do on this website – your stories are fascinating. I would preface my answers to some of your questions by saying a minor league baseball team would be a fascinating thing to have in town. I have no remaining familial connections to Cape and have been away for over 25 years. I do live in O’Fallon, MO, home of the class A frontier league River City Rascals. I would impose a few wishes if it started to look like a reality in town: no public funding be used – it should strictly be a privately funded venture; and don’t leave the naming of the mascot up to the townspeople. I really wish the River City Rascals would re-brand itself – for starters, where’s the river – I’ve lived in O’fallon for 20 years, and believe me when I say, O’Fallon is not known for any river. Rascals? Umm, maybe I’m just used to more classic mascots like Tigers or Bulldogs. You asked would Cape be able to support such a team, and so far I answered that I would personally support a team. I’ll try to answer the question using my business mind in another post.

  • David Dalton

    Ken,
    Thank you for everything you do on this website – your stories are fascinating. I would preface my answers to some of your questions by saying a minor league baseball team would be a fascinating thing to have in town. I have no remaining familial connections to Cape and have been away for over 25 years. I do live in O’Fallon, MO, home of the class A frontier league River City Rascals. I would impose a few wishes if it started to look like a reality in town: no public funding be used – it should strictly be a privately funded venture; and don’t leave the naming of the mascot up to the townspeople. I really wish the River City Rascals would re-brand itself – for starters, where’s the river – I’ve lived in O’fallon for 20 years, and believe me when I say, O’Fallon is not known for any river. Rascals? Umm, maybe I’m just used to more classic mascots like Tigers or Bulldogs. You asked would Cape be able to support such a team, and so far I answered that I would personally support a team. I’ll try to answer the question using my business mind in another post.

  • David Dalton

    The success of a Cape minor league team may depend on how far you want to stretch your imagination. In O’fallon, located in a metropolitan population, crowds have dwindled after the novelty has worn off. I think the Rascals may be suffering from some kind of identity crisis because when my kids decide to go to a baseball game, they automatically buy cardinals tickets without giving the rascals any thought. But the reality is that this is a town of 30K located deep in rural southeastern mo with one interstate highway running nearby. Planners will have to figure out a way to sustain attendance after the honeymoon seasons. That will be a challenge in a region that has experienced overall very slow growth over the past 40 years. Thinking about this, I’m reminded of an old English assignment where we had to convince others on a position – I chose the Sloan Dome. I was in favor of it, but it seems there were’t alot of proponents: “We already have a bubble” “the gymnasium is just fine” – those were alot of the responses I got. Oh well, you might say I’ve come full circle after coming in touch with reality on other projects of similar scale in town. :) All I’m saying is tread cautiously on this.

  • Linda Priddy

    As a Southern Illinois resident, I can say that having the minor league team at Marion (the Miners) has been a real boost to the entire community. There have been a number of businesses that have sprouted in the area of the ballfield and more are coming online all the time. Game attendance is still very good even after the initial honeymoon years. I think the key is that we are at a great enough distance from St. Louis that it makes it appealing to those who simply don’t have time to travel to the games. The quality of the facilities and the dedication of the team has been instrumental in keeping loyal fans. It’s a two-way street, of course, with the players performing better because of the fan support. Then too, a lot of people are simply fed up with sports figures making obscene amounts of money and either don’t want to support it or just can’t afford it any more. The minor leaguers are in it for the sheer joy of playing and believe me, it shows. I think it would be fantastic if Cape had a Frontier League team. Go for it.

  • Jamihia walker

    Hello, Ken thank you for your nice comments. You are very nice. That sir thing is just out of respect. If there is anything I could do as a part time job just let me know.

    • I’m glad you saw your photos. It was a pleasure talking with you. You make a great impression (except for that “sir” thing).

      I’ll be looking for you to do great things so my “I knew her when..” photos will be worth lots of money. Just, please, hurry up. You aged me 20 years with all of those “sirs.”

  • Bill Stone

    A follow-up to my earlier comment. I have since been able to ask the Assistant Commissioner of the Frontier League about their interest in forming a team in Cape. His comment was that there was no interest because they consider Cape in Southern Illinois Miners’ franchise territory. That baseball fans from Cape would travel regularly to Marion to watch minor league baseball is hard for me to believe, but that is what the Frontier League thinks according to a league official!

  • Charlie C.

    The Cardinals did not renew their affiliation with Quad Cities and are looking for a new venue for an A-ball team. I would like to see Cape get in on this opportunity. Probably would require some very quick action to get things moving quickly enough to get a stadium built by April 2013 or soon thereafter.

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