About 45 years ago a Princeton man had a dream to build a baseball field here, with lights, that would be one of the best around. And in 1970 that man, Howard Solheim, realized his dream after leading a group of volunteers, with huge support from the Princeton American Legion, to open what is now known as Solheim Veterans Field.
Solheim also organized a Legion baseball tournament that year at a time when there were few such tournaments in the state. He invited top teams, including Edina which won the first tournament over Little Falls, 1-0, with a future Major League pitcher getting the win. It was, and still is, a prestigious tournament that has included many, many of the top teams in the state through the years.
Two weeks ago the 43rd annual Princeton Legion Baseball Tournament was held, with four of the eight teams ranked in the top 10 in the state. That was impressive but even more impressive was the fact last week that five of the eight teams that played in this year’s tournament participated in the state Legion tournament.
Through the years visiting fans and coaches have praised the Princeton facility, as well as a tournament that is still one of the best 43 years later. Those same words were heard this year, with teams asking to come back.
Howard Solheim is, deservedly, in the state’s American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame and others have worked through the years to keep the tradition alive that he began. The tournament here two weeks was proof of that. I hope people appreciate what a gem of a field we have and what a tradition we have.