It seems like every community has one — that guy who knows everything there is to know about America’s favorite pastime…they often are dubbed ‘Mister Baseball.’ And in Bottineau, everyone knows who he is. This is the story of a veteran who works hard to make sure all things baseball are good to go in Bottineau.
“It’s just nice to be around the kids. I’ve watched a lot of great baseball players in my day,” said Harley Getzlaff, “Mr. Baseball.”
Getzlaff is Bottineau’s American Legion Baseball Commissioner. He’s been in charge of the teams since 1994 and is an active umpire.
For good reason, he’s come to be known as Mr. Baseball.
“Al Wondrasek. I’m around baseball a lot and he just gave me that name, and I guess it stuck with me every time I’m around that guy,” Getzlaff said.
“I’ve said it 100 times. If it wasn’t for Harley, we wouldn’t have American Legion baseball,” said Al Wondrasek, director, Bottineau County Veterans.
Last year, Harley helped out during the college playoffs and noticed something was missing from Tommy Turtle Park.
“When I was working first base, everyone kept saying, ‘Harley, what’s the score? Harley, what’s the score?’ Well, I just said to myself, ‘Next year, we’re going to have a scoreboard out here,'” said Getzlaff.
And with help from four sponsors, Mr. Baseball was able to get what the field was missing.
“It’s a ‘state of the art’ scoreboard. So, we’re looking for many, many good years of use out of it,” Getzlaff.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been used yet because the seasons were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, he knows once kids can play ball again…
“It’s just a great addition to the kids, the teams, the coaches, the fans itself. It’ll just be a wonderful thing,” Getzlaff said.
“For every kid in Bottineau that’s not playing baseball, you need to start playing baseball,” Wondrasek said.
And maybe the next Mr. Baseball will take the field soon.