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White Oak Athletic Club

NWBR Baseball

   The first baseball field in White Oak was located at the blue Rock/Cheviot roads triangle intersection known as Wissel’s corner.  Oscar Wissel who liked baseball developed a ball diamond on the open land behind his home.  The first base side of the field was along g the Cheviot road side.  There was a high hedge along side.  A concession stand that sold all day suckers for 1 cent, pop, root beer barrels and 5 cent lemonade between the diamond and the house.  Art Wissel, known as Cap, was Oscar’s brother.  He organized a ball team to be in the Tri-State league that was called St. James Team.  Fr. Meyer of St. James church was catcher for the team and used to remind the parishioners to attend the Sunday afternoon games.  Joe Betsch at age 16 started his baseball career there.  They won the league championship the first year.  There was no admission charge but they would “pass around the hat” to help with team expenses.  The St. James School children learned to play baseball at the field.

  When the land on which the field was located was sold the team manager, Vic Beischel, transferred the St. James team to Groesbeck, but kept the same name.  In 1942, the newly formed WOCC decided to sponsor a team.  They asked Joe Betsch to organize, play and manage a team to be called the White Oak Team.  John Janszen agreed to let the civic club make diamond on his pasture on Riehle Road.  After many hours of volunteer work the diamond was ready and Joe entered the team in the Semi-Pro Buckeye League.  Fr. Abt who was very active in the community activities announced the game at each Sunday mass.  The 1942 season was very successful for they won the league championship.  The team played at the field in 1943, but by 1944 there were not enough young men to “field a team”.  In 1946 without the team sponsorship of the civic club the team was moved back to Groesbeck under the name of the Groesbeck team.  All the faithful fans followed and the team won several championships there, but it wasn’t like playing in White Oak for White Oak.  One summer evening in 1949 Joe Betsch and Joe Haubner were standing on a hill at the end of Paramount Ridge Lane looking at the piece of property that Joe Haubner had purchased.  Originally part of the Ed Niedhard farm, the land had eventually been purchased by Frank Ulrich for a dairy farm.  Joe Haubner wondered what he was going to do with the end of the property he had developed White oak Drive.  The land contour was a creek running between 2 hills.  After a while Joe Betsch said, “I can see a beautiful ball park down there.”  They discussed it for a while and Joe Haubner said, “Let’s do it.  I have a lot of fill available from a street I’m developing in Groesbeck”, Joe Betsch said that he would transfer his team back to White Oak.  He realized that funds would have to be raised to start the team on the new field.  He contacted friends and held a meeting at his home where eleven people agreed to give $100.00 each for the new project.  They included Al Bruns, Audrey Bruns, Ray Bigner, Joe Sugelter, Rose Riester, Conrad Rebman, Carl Bausch, John Betsch, Ed Sebald, Ed Neidhard, and Frank Ulrich.  /   They were the founders of the White Oak Athletic Club.  They were the founders of the White Oak Athletic club.  Frank Ulrich was elected president, Ed Sebald, was to serve as Secretary, and Joe Sugelter was treasurer.  By spring of 1950, Joe Haubners crew had developed an excellent foundation for the field.  Local residents had cut down trees, moved rocks and cut the weeds around the field with a switcher.  It was a big day for the community when the field was dedicated on April 23, 1950.  There was a 50 car parade with a 60 Piece band, a flag raising ceremony, speeches, etc.  The knothole teams, dressed in new red and white uniforms, were managed by Ed Schibi, Howard Naehring, and Bill Corte with Stan Davis serving as business Manager.  There was no parking lot that time, only an open field so when it rained everyone rant to get his car off the field.  The Athletic Club continued to grow.  Girls Softballs was started and also a mens softball league sponsored by local merchants.  At the end of one season Riester's tavern managed by Jim Krass, and the Knotty Pine Bar managed by Ed Schibi were tie for first place.  The managers mad a bet.  If Jim won Ed would wheel him in a wheelbarrow from the Knotty pine to Riester’s and if Ed won, vice versa.  Riester's won the game and needless to say, Ed Schibi wheeled Jim from Riester’s to Knotty pine.  Many improvements were made to the field by Joe Haubner and also by the members of the Athletic Club, but in 1960 after renting the e field from Joe Haubner for a nominal fee for 10 years, the Athletic Club bought the field.  The Club had paid back the money the 11 founders had given them and they were ready to buy the field. There was rededication of the field in 1960.  There were excellent communications between the WOIA and the WOAC for many years with a representative of the Athletic Club informing the members of the Improvement Association of the various sports activities and Field Improvements.  Many activities of the Athletic Club are noted in WOIA minutes.  In 1973 major improvements were made to Haubner Field.  A fine big brick and concrete concession building was constructed to replace the chicken house donated by Joe Zugelter, although many improvements had been added to the original structures.  All concrete stands were built and a concrete walls were erected around the outfield where ads are sold each year. Two new fields were developed behind the big field and a chain link fence was added there.  The Athletic Club made horseshoe courts where tournaments were held each year.  In 1976 seats were installed on the back fields.  The size of the concession stand was increased in 1981.  The White Oak Athletic Association and the St. James Athletic Association hold a combined festival each year to raise funds.  Haubner Field is the home the LaSalle Alumni softball League, a Women’s Softball League, a mixed couples Softball Leagues, an Old Men’s Softball League and several soccer teams.  Many of people have contributed to our current project and there is no way to thank everyone invoilved.   

The original construction of Haubner field was by a few men who had a dream for kids to play baseball in the White Oak area.  After much consideration, they found a large depression and valley at the end of a street which later became named White Oak Drive.  The began to fill in a large crevice in the 1950’s with dirt and spoils to create a place for boys to enjoy the sport of baseball.    

At a WOAC Monthly meeting in March of 2008, the WOAC Board approved and addition to the current concession stand. After 8 Months together, the Rain shelter expansion is finally nearing the completion stage.  The project actually started after our last time together at Haubner/WOAC Family night in 2008.  Once the grill was finally stowed away, construction of the new west wing was finally underway.   The construction initially started with a lot on unknowns.  How was the tree and root infrastructure going to be removed without harming the building?   Once things were decided, the tree and embankments were removed.  The excavation initially began in early October, with a 3 week excavation to remove the existing hillside, parking lot, relocation of the Soccer barn and removal of the historic Announcer stand.  The foundation and retaining wall structure which families and children will enjoy for lifetimes to come was actually started on October 9, 2008.  After the foundation was installed, there was much work which to lie ahead.  With the expertise of a few members, a new concrete floor was poured.  Shortly there after, the existing concrete wall and grill area were soon removed.  Our new “Rain Shelter” expansion was underway.  The Roof trusses were installed over thanksgiving weekend thanks to the help of some more members. After that came the cold weather of December and January were construction was brought to abrupt stop.  Brisk Temperatures slowed construction, but everyone remained committed to our completion date.  During the month of February, small advancements were made while vital decisions were made to ensure benefits for all families involved.  Once the month of March was upon us, construction was underway at full steam.  New Overhead doors were installed. Fresh wood pine with Padre Brown stain would become the new color staple for the expansion at Haubner Field. The existing walls and new walls were sprayed with a waterproof concrete style texture which should hold up for years to the come.  The ceiling a maintenance free vinyl bead boar ceiling is also installed.  

Gone are the old 7’ high ceilings, the old overhang, the 2- 8’ garage doors, and the old Picture tube style TV in the corner, the old concession stand entrance?   Times have changed, welcome to New Haubner Field, owned and operated by WOAC.  You will now enjoy the fruitful delights of new TV’s, Bottled Beer and a great atmosphere of some fine youth baseball.  Check out the new technologically advanced walls, a great new vinyl ceiling, and a new retaining wall to access an area which few ever new existed.  I truly believe you will be amazed with the improvements which have been made.  Haubner Field which has legacy like no other in the city of Cincinnati has been transformed into a place like no other.  A place to hang out with Family, friends and children!   Whether it is Baseball, Softball, Basketball or Soccer, Haubner will be place to enjoy!  Hope to see everyone soon!!