Ralph Zwaschka contribtions to baseball remembered

The Tomahawk Amateur baseball league has reported that Ralph Zwaschka, it's vice president, passed away at his home last week. He was 67.

He has long been involved with and supportive of amateur baseball in the Sleepy Eye area and has served his present position a number of years.

Visitation will be on Monday, January 25, from 4-8 p.m. at the Sturm Funeral Home, Sleepy Eye and will continue Tuesday 10-11a.m. at the church. There will be a parish prayer service at 7 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.

Service will be held at the St. Paul's Catholic Church, Comfrey, Tuesday, January 26, 11 a.m.

In the Jan. 19 New Ulm Journal, writer Jim Bastian editorialized on Zwaschka's career as follows:

"Zwaschka was "Mr. Baseball" in Sleepy Eye for a long time. He managed the Indians' Tomahawk East League team and also maintained the Sleepy Eye ballpark for many, many years.

"Because of his efforts, the Sleepy Eye ballpark had one of the best playing fields in the state.

"Zwaschka kept the amateur team going in Sleepy Eye for many years, essentially by himself.

"He was dedicated to the game of baseball and was respected because of that," comment Bastian.

CJ Siewert wrote the following e on the Minnesota amateur baseball website:"

"Zwaschka managed the Sleepy Eye Indians from 1983 to 2004 and led the Indians to 11 state tournament appearances (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002), including a second place finish in 1986 and a third place finish in 1995."

Ralph Jon Zwaschka was born on January 11, 1949 in Comfrey, MN to Alfred & Evone (Anderson) Zwaschka. He attended St. Paul's Catholic School and graduated from Comfrey Public School in 1967. Ralph believed in higher education and was a Southwest State-Marshall, MN graduate and received a degree in Health/Phy.Ed in 1972. He continued his studies at Mankato State Univ. part time and received a master’s degree in Guidance/Counseling in 1976.

He began his teaching career at St Mary’s schools in Sleepy Eye from 1974 to 1976 and in 1977 began a 30 year career at Sleepy Eye Public retiring in 2007.

After playing football and baseball in high school, he played two years of amateur baseball for the Stark Longhorns in 1969 and 1970. He then went to Leavenworth and revived their amateur baseball program and was a player/manager from 1971 until 1982. Ralph continued his coaching and became the Sleepy Eye Indians amateur baseball manager from 1983 until 2003.
He took his team to 11 state tournaments including a 2nd place finish in 1986 and a 3rd place finish in 1995. Ralph was also the Sleepy Eye Indians High School football coach from 1978-1985 winning two conference titles.

Currently, Ralph was the Vice President of the Tomahawk East amateur baseball League and the Sleepy Eye Baseball Association 1983-2003.

He is survived by his sister, Ruth (David) Englin of Comfrey, nephew, Andrew Englin of Comfrey, nephew, Garret (LeAnn) Englin of Sioux Center, IA and children Jenna, Carli & Kayle, niece, Kate (Rick) Thurston of Sioux Falls, SD and children Taylor and Asher, special friends Lee and Loren Havemeier. He was preceded in death by his parents, Alfred and Evone.