TeKippe recognized for 50 years with the semi-pro team of Rickardsville | Local sports
RICKARDSVILLE, Iowa – After 50 years of involvement in the Rickardsville semi-professional baseball program, very little surprises Lenny TeKippe over a diamond ball.
But on Sunday afternoon, the 66-year-old was completely caught off guard.
Over 100 friends, family, former teammates and even a few longtime rivals honored TeKippe for his service ahead of an Eastern Iowa Hawkeye League home game against Cascade. Even more impressive, they kept the rally – hosted by TeKippe’s wife, Nancy – a secret for weeks.
“I had no idea. When you’ve been doing it for 50 years you sometimes wonder if anyone notices it, but I guess they do,” TeKippe said. “I’ve always been crazy about baseball. I don’t know what I’ll do when I can’t do it anymore. You do it as long as you can. “
TeKippe grew up down the street from Rickardsville baseball stadium and joined the semi-pro team as a player in 1971. He took over management in 1976 because he didn’t want to see the team. fall back, then built it into a semi-pro. pro power. The 2006 Dubuque County Baseball Hall of Fame inductee reached the 1,000-win plateau at the 2016 Holy Cross Tournament.
But so much has been invested in these gains. It takes time to line up the players, program the referees, manicure the diamond… and dozens of other details.
“You need a ton of energy to lead a team, especially in a small town,” said Mike Leibfried, who has played and assisted TeKippe for 35 seasons and served as emcee for Sunday’s ceremony. . “There are so many things that come into play that most people don’t see, and 50 years is a terribly long time to do anything. But the fact that Lenny has been involved for so long shows his passion for Rickardsville and Rickardsville baseball.
In addition to his love for gambling, TeKippe has remained involved in gambling for the sake of friendships and relationships. It struck recently, when his longtime teammate Phil Klein lost a courageous battle with cancer.
Leibfried dedicated part of Sunday’s program to Klein, who will be inducted into the Dubuque County Baseball Hall of Fame in July.
“When Phil got sick we reconnected and spent a lot of time together, and he never forgot the special moments we had when we were playing,” TeKippe said. “There were a lot of people here who I never thought I would get because they left the area. But it does mean a lot that they take the time to be here and it shows just how much those fun times playing together meant to them.
At Leibfried’s request, TeKippe spent the game roaming the crowd and sharing stories. But he couldn’t look away from the diamond.
“It’s a little strange,” he says. “I should be in a canoe, especially with us losing. I should be there chewing some ass.