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In the 1921 season, Baldwin had been more successfully represented in football, basketball and track than ever before. This was due to the organization of the Baldwin Athletic Association in September, 1921.

Charles Wendt was elected president of the organization. Miss Elenora Buckley, vice president, Miss Lucy Bedell, treasurer and Ryals Cole, secretary. Every student was invited to join. The initiation fee was 25 cents with monthly dues of 25 cents. Several weeks after the organization of the association, football spirit pervaded the school. At a meeting held to determine actual interest, about 15 highly motivated athletes declared themselves ready to form a team.

Various problems then arose, such as, how to obtain uniforms. Helmets and shoulder pads were purchased by the Athletic Association, and each member of the team provided the rest of the equipment.

Baldwin played six games during this initial season, winning two. Despite this fact, the team was to be commended for its exceptional showing. It lacked experience, coaching, a place to practice and a home field. With only 15 players, they lacked depth or a second team. The most important factor in football a second team. Competing against this formidable opposition, but with true sporting spirit, the team held together.

The team was greatly indebted to Mr. Walker who financed the team, and later proved to be its most faithful supporter. Frank Hurley was also thanked for his splendid work in coaching the team. At the same time the football team was organized, a cheering squad was formed. Clyde Hurley was elected leader and Harry Leich, his assistant. Practically every member of the school was an ardent enthusiast on the cheering squad.

From its inception in 1921 until the team played at Steele School in 1926, the players had no access to a locker room or shower facility. The football players dressed in the basement of Prospect School about a half-mile away. The only shower was a cold water pipe and only one person at a time could shower. The equipment was laid on the floor to dry and air out after every practice, and was stored in a white school house across the street from Prospect School.

One day a school custodian was cleaning out the coal burners. He left the hot coal and ash in a garbage pail in the basement. It was too hot to move so he went out to dinner. Unfortunately, when he came back, the building was on fire. The football team lost all of its uniforms and equipment. Through sheer determination the team and the community were able to raise money to purchase new uniforms to finish the season.

After the first season, Baldwin was able to secure a football field. They played at the Star Shell Field from 1922 to 1925. The field was located between Central Avenue and Milburn Avenue on Clinton Place. At this time, Baldwin still had problems buying new equipment and uniforms, because the school did not have a budget for sports equipment. The school raised money for the program by selling season tickets to the home games.

From 1926 to 1932 all varsity football games were played at Steele School where a stadium and locker was built. In 1933 the district moved the field to Plaza School for one season so Steele School could refurbish the field and put in new bleachers. It was during the 1933 season that Baldwin won its first division championship.

The football team played at Steele School until 1940. In 1941, the Baldwin football program moved to Lenox School. The field was dedicated on Nov. 4, 1947 and was named John D. Gardiner Field, or just Gardiner Field. Gardiner was a school board member who raised money for the new football stadium and field house. Before a crowd of about 5,000, the field was dedicated during the Baldwin-Freeport game. Baldwin won 19-7.

Baldwin’s fifth field was where the current high school is today. All high school programs were moved to the high school in 1959. This was the first time the football field was in the same location as the high school. Prior to the high school being built, the Brookside Country Club and golf course was a golf course on this site.


The information from the early years was provided by John McDermott, captain of the 1927 football squad. Mr. McDermott also served as assistant superintendent of building and grounds at Baldwin during the periods when Dr. Henry C. Ducker and Dr. Fred Shore were serving as School Superintendent.


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