Daryl Hennen receives 2013 Mike Downes Memorial Award

Posted on Oct. 21, 2013 by CJ Siewert 

As many family members started to file into the room during Saturday’s 90th annual meeting of the MBA, it became clear – to at least one man in the room – who would receive the Mike Downes Memorial Award.

After MBA President John Richter read a lengthy list of accomplishments, most notably regarding field improvements, the award was presented to Daryl Hennen of Maple Lake.

The award is for “outstanding service to Minnesota Amateur Baseball” and this year marks the 33rd time it has been presented since 1981.

Below is a transcript of what President Richter said about Hennen:

“He may not have been the best player on the field, but he was probably the most dedicated player on the team. His love for baseball continued on into his adult life playing town team baseball. His loyalty to the team and dedication was not only playing, but also helping with ballpark maintenance.

“His two goals were always for his team to be the best it could be, but also for the ballpark to be the best in the league. After a 10-year absence of baseball in his town, he became one of the driving forces to bring baseball back. The field needed a lot of work and no one put in more time, effort and money into getting the ballpark back in shape.

“The field maintenance and improvements did not end after one year. The field improvements continued on every year until the field was in great shape. Now there was talk of hosting a state tournament. The updating has now continued at a bigger level as the end result with his town not only hosting one state tournament, but through the years has now hosted three state tournaments.

“If you were to ask him how many hours and how much money he has put into the ball field, the only answer you would get from him is how nice the ballpark looks. This shows you how our Mike Downes Award winner is a great person who knows no enemies, but has many friends.”

Writer’s note:

Although I’ve only been involved in the MBA on a statewide level for two seasons, it became clear to me the moment I met Daryl Hennen that he is one of the most committed hometown ballpark supporters in the state.

After the MBA Board meeting on June 15, I decided to take a back roads tour of all the town team parks in the towns I drove through from St. Cloud to St. Peter. My first stop was to check out Maple Lake, since I had never been and the state tournament was just a few weeks away.

I pulled up to the entrance and the first person the greet me was Daryl. Work gloves on and shovel in hand, Daryl gladly spoke to me about all the field improvements that happened leading up to that day and all the work that still needed to be done before the state tournament.

Although there was a lot of work to be done, by the way Daryl talked about the field with a smile on his face the whole time, it was obvious he didn’t view it as work, but as a love for the game and the ground its played on.

Congratulations, Daryl. The award is well deserved. 

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