The Fieldhouse / Wildermuth Intramural Center
Backstory and Context
The Indianapolis Indians first began arriving on the 31st of March in 1943, just four days after the Cincinnati Reds. Both teams started off with only batteries present, pitchers and catchers. The exception being Freddie Vaughn of the Indianapolis Indians who arrived with the batteries to help manage the players’ accommodations. Vaughn would also leave after just four weeks but it is unclear why. Both teams performed daily workouts which included running around the Indiana University campus in Bloomington once a day in the early morning. Early on, the batteries of both teams had intrasquad games, meaning they played against their own team members, to begin the training and to simulate a game environment without having to spend money on travel. Those representatives of the Indians were Trainer Jim Pierce, Freddie Vaughn (second baseman), Al Bronkhurst, Glen Fletcher, Johnny Hutchings, Chief Hogsett, Bob Logan, Earl Reid, Walter Tauscher. The catchers were Stewart Hofferth and Norm Schlueter. Later on infielders Mickey Haslin and Eric McNair would join Vaughn at Spring Training. Outfielders Gil English, Wayne Blackburn, Joe Moore and Willard Pike would be the last to arrive on April 1st .
The Cincinnati Reds’ Johnny Vander Meer, Joe Aliperto, Mike McCormick, Red Kane, Hugh Poland, Johnny Moore and Bill Little all arrived on March 27th. They would move into suites at the Graham Hotel and be treated to a banquet hosted by the greek organizations on campus. The Indiana Daily Student would cover both teams’ time on campus but since the Reds arrived first and had major league status, they received more space dedicated to chronicling their training. After the exhibition game between the two teams on April 7th, the Reds left Bloomington to play around the state, eventually making their way back to Ohio. The Indianapolis Indians stayed until mid-April and hosted additional exhibition games with the South Bend Cubs and Syracuse team in Bedford. The Indianapolis Indians played the Indiana University Varsity team on April 8th, the Cream and Crimson winning five to three after five complete innings. The game was called early because of inclimate cold weather and both teams retreated into the field house to warm up.
The following photos show both teams enjoying training in the field house, now called the Wildermuth Intramural Center just across seventh street from what was Jordan Field. When both teams returned for the 1944 season training, grounds crew from both stadiums actually constructed a field inside the field house structure, some of the painted lines can still be seen under the flooring of the main gym today. Batting cages were constructed with extra nets sewn from previously used club volleyball nets. The frequently changing weather caused many of the drills for both teams to be held inside the field house.
Baseball Reference.com “ 1942 Cincinnati Reds Statistics” Baseball Information
Statistics Copyright. Accessed March 12th, 2020.
Baseball Reference.com “ Bill McKechnie” Baseball Information Statistics Copyright.
Accessed March 12th, 2020.
Baseball Reference.com “Donie Bush” Baseball Information Statistics Copyright.
Accessed March 12th, 2020.
Courtesy of Stats Crew. “1942 Indianapolis Indians Statistics”. The Home of Sports
Statistics. Accessed March 12th, 2020. Copyright 2020.
Graham, Francis Allan. Athletic Department of Indiana University. “Cincinnati Reds in
Fieldhouse”. March 5th, 1943. Fieldhouse/Wildermuth Intramural Center.
Accessed March 10th, 2020. Courtesy of Indiana University Office of University
Archives and Records. http://purl.dlib.indiana.edu/iudl/archives/photos/P0033639
Photographic Services. “Indianapolis Indians in the Fieldhouse”. March 28th, 1943.
Fieldhouse/Wildermuth Intramural Center. Accessed March 10th, 2020. Courtesy of
Indiana University Office of University Archives and Records.