For the love of the game

Karl Heyenga, 85, was the staple behind the Allison Cats’ 49-year run as an amateur baseball squad. He played, then managed and then directed the team from 1948-96. (Pat Racette Photo)

The Allison Cats outlasted any other town team in Butler County, playing amateur baseball for 49 consecutive years. 

Just a teenager when the Cats finally ran out of years in ‘96, Casey Klunder never had the chance to wear the big A cap. His dad, Steve, however, had one of the longest careers for the squad, playing until he was 38; while his grandfather, Robert, played at one time as well.

Growing up hearing Allison Cat stories, Klunder, 29, is the brainchild of reviving them this year, after an 18-year hiatus. His two reasons in bringing back the Cats – to show the new generation how important the Cats were to Allison, and give his former players a chance to play in the summer.

Read full story in the July 3 Tribune-Journal.