History Matters: Early county sports teams and when the Otsegos played the Tigers | Top-gallery


A few weeks ago the 2020 Detroit Tigers began their spring exhibition season in Lakeland, Florida, giving us snowbound folks here in Otsego County a sense that we may have turned the corner on winter and spring might actually be on its way.

Sporting events have always loomed large as a form of entertainment for the citizens of Otsego County, but likely even more so in the early days of our history back before television allowed us to watch spring training baseball games live via cable or satellite. In the early 20th century the only way to take in a basketball game was courtside in the old City Auditorium east of the current Otsego County Building, or to view a thrilling Otsegos baseball game one had to perch themselves in the right field bleachers at Stephens Field, where now resides the Gaylord Intermediate School.

According to Jay Soderberg, who wrote a comprehensive history of Otsego County sports teams in the Otsego County Herald Times Commemorative Centennial edition of 1975, Gaylord High School fielded its first basketball team in 1904. The games were played at the old Opera House.

Baseball teams, both high school and of a…

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