Gift to Provide Turf, Other Improvements at Ronken Field
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Augustana President Rob Oliver and Director of Athletics Bill Gross today are proud to announce a major gift from South Dakota amateur baseball legend Lee “Goldy” Goldammer to the Viking baseball program. Goldammer's gift will provide funds to turf the infield at Ronken Field and make further improvements to the on-campus facility.
The largest enhancement will be the addition of artificial turf from dugout to dugout on the infield of the playing surface. Currently, there are no turfed baseball facilities in South Dakota or the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
Installation of the turf will begin following the 2012 spring season. Turf surfaces in the upper Midwest greatly minimize weather-related postponements and cancellations.
Further improvements, which will also be made possible by Goldammer's lead gift, include new dugouts, a brick backstop and a net system to be located behind home plate.
“We are grateful for Lee Goldammer's generous investment in Augustana College and the Vikings' baseball program,” Oliver said. “Lee is a member of the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame and it is a privilege to have his support on behalf of our aspiring student-athletes.”
A member of the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame, Goldammer's amateur career spanned more than 35 years. The right-handed pitcher won 312 games, struck out 4,292 batters and was part of six state championship teams while playing for Canova (3), Salem (2) and Renner (1). He also spent time playing with the Mitchell organization. Following his retirement from amateur baseball, Goldammer guided South Dakota to five Men's Senior Baseball League World Series titles in Phoenix. He retired in 1986 but returned in 1989 and is still active in the MSBL.
The South Dakota Sportswriters Association tabbed him the state's 1971 Independent Male Athlete of the Year. In 1989, the Argus Leader named Goldammer the starting pitcher on its state's all-time amateur baseball team.
Goldammer, 71, has been throwing batting practice for the Viking baseball team since 2006.
A retired farmer, Goldammer grew up in Canova, S.D., and graduated from Canova High School in 1959. He currently resides in Sioux Falls with his wife, JoAnne.
Goldammer's gift is the largest in Augustana baseball history. He will be recognized at halftime of Augustana's football game with Winona State Saturday at Kirkeby-Over Stadium.
"Over the years Lee's bright smile and friendly, caring attitude have had a positive impact on the Augustana baseball program and Viking athletics,” Gross said. “Now Lee's inspiring generosity to provide improvements to Ronken Field will be an additional benefit for Augustana baseball student-athletes for years to come."
The dedication of Ronken Field on April 17, 1993, provided Augustana with its first, on-campus baseball diamond. An estate gift from Maurus and Anna Ronken in June, 1992, provided the lead gift for construction of the facility. Ronken Field is located adjacent to the Elmen Center and bordered by 33rd Street to the north and Lake Avenue to the west.
Said head baseball coach Tim Huber: “Goldy is a great guy to have around our program, and our players love it when he comes and throws batting practice for them. It is very exciting that he has decided to help our baseball program take our facilities to the next level. We have big plans for major upgrades to Ronken Field. There is no way any of these plans would be possible without Goldy leading us off and stepping up to the plate. Hopefully others will join in on this momentum and the excitement.”
Goldammer's lead gift signifies the beginning of a fundraising campaign by the Augustana baseball program to make further improvements to its facility, including a grandstand and new press box. More information regarding the campaign will be posted at www.GoAugie.com in the coming weeks.
Pictured Above: Goldammer and head baseball coach Tim Huber.