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Early days of Sheboygan baseball celebrated

By Dan Colton
for The Beacon

RON NYTES

Author Ron Nytes. — Beacon photo by Dan Colton

One local man wanted to take a trip down memory lane.

So he wrote a book to do it.

First-time author Ron Nytes grew up in Sheboygan during baseball’s heyday of Legion and semi-pro games in the city. Some of his fondest memories are from the early ‘70s when, as a young man, he suited up to play at Legion Park.

Back then, Nytes said, the sport of baseball held a much more prominent role in Sheboygan’s everyday life. It was much closer to the 1930’s and 1940’s when major league feeder clubs rolled through town — or “barnstorming,” as Nytes called it — oftentimes boasting high-caliber players like Jimmie Foxx, who’d go on to play 20 season in Major League Baseball.

For years, Nytes wondered what it would’ve been like to sit in the Sheboygan bleachers and watch those guys play.

“It would’ve been so cool to be at those games,” Nytes said with a smile.

So after embarking on a research project into Sheboygan’s historical ball fields, Nytes decided it was time to put the idea to the test.

Twenty years later, he finally finished his novel, “Stealing Yesterday.”

Stealing Yesterday cover

Nytes’ book is available through Amazon.

The book focuses on Don — whom Nytes admitted is an impression of himself — and Jimmie Foxx. The book is aptly named, as the plot is fueled along by the science-fiction engine of time travel. It begins with Don experiencing a bout of vertigo, which his doctor assures is nothing to be concerned about.

But a while later, as Don strolls through Sheboygan, the vertigo hits again. By the time he regains his bearings, Don realizes he’s been transported back into the 1930s and he meets Jimmie at one of the city’s bygone baseball fields.

Don said the duo end up jumping back and forth between decades, visiting old city landmarks and reliving the old-fashioned Sheboygan experience.

That makes the book a prime read for locals who want to revisit the city’s past, Nytes said.

The book flows well and hits a nice beat, especially for a rookie author. The 281-page paperback boasts handsome printing and striking cover art.

 Nytes says good-naturedly that it took him 20 years to complete, and his least favorite part of the process was typing out his notes onto a computer screen.

“I don’t consider myself an author,” Nytes said. “…I’m just a guy who wrote a book.”

Nytes doesn’t put too much stock in sales of the book. He said a winning scenario would be to talk baseball and Sheboygan with his readers, and maybe signing copies of his book for good measure.

“Realistically, I’d like to have people read this book and say, ‘Hey, I’d like to meet this guy and have him sign (my book).’”

Yet Nytes said the “Stealing Yesterday” stands on its own merit, and he speculated that maybe a publishing house will see that, too, and pick up the title.

According to Nytes, the book is aimed at the older generations, but he said anybody of any age is able to enjoy it.

Still, he said, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a fascination with local history and athletics like he does.

And with one book under his belt, Nytes said he’s not done yet.

For his next writing project, Nytes plans to pen a history of baseball in Sheboygan — this time, no time travel involved.

“Stealing Yesterday” is now available to purchase through Amazon.

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