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Suggestion: New community park could be named after past players


WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) -  The proposed community park next to Athletic Park on Wausau’s north side is getting some public feedback. Along with the concerns about street and alley closures, the need for better street lighting, and worries about the public address system being a little loud, there were several positive comments. One of them was a suggestion to name the new park after one or two of Wausau’s past baseball legends. That idea came from resident Tim Bricko, who now lives in Frank Gering's old house near Athletic Park.  Frank Gering is not the only possibility. Bricko says Wausau produced a major league pitcher that did quite well several years ago named Johnny Schmitz.

Frank Gering was a baseball supporter and chaplain for many years with many organizations in Wausau. He also used to make room in his home for ball players in the summer.

Johnny Schmitz was born on Saturday, November 27, 1920, in Wausau, Wisconsin. Schmitz was broke into the big leagues in 1941 with the Chicago Cubs.

Wausau has a couple of other possibilities to consider.

Rudolph Freidrich Albert Baerwald, best known as Rudy Bell. Bell was born in Wausau in 1881 and played two years in the majors starting in 1907, with the New York Highlanders.

Bill Fischer was born in Wausau in 1930. Fischer was 25 years old when he broke into the big leagues with the Chicago White Sox in 1956.

One of the community meetings has been held to discuss the new park. Another meeting is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Thursday at the Boys and Girls Club in Wausau.