With the Minnesota Twins bidding for another All-Star game, it brings to mind the last All-Star game the Twins hosted in 1985. It was because of that game that the Minnesota Baseball Association inauguated one of its most successful programs, the MBA Loan Fund.
As part of the festivities in 1985, Major League Baseball put on the first ever MLB-sponsored Home Run Contest with the All-Stars as participants. Dave Parker of the Cincinnati Reds won the contest with six dingers. Tom Brunansky was second along with Carlton Fisk, Dale Murphy, Eddie Murray and Jim Rice (all with four).
The admission was $2.00 and as a result of great attendance the Twins had a large sum of money that they wanted to distribute over their drawing area of North and South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and of course, Minnesota.
The idea was that communities could apply to receive funds to help their local baseball teams fund projects and make important improvements to their facilities. Marv Scheele, of Hamburg, was the Secretary-Treasurer of the MBA at the time. He was also on the committee that was in charge of distributing the funds from the Home Run Contest.
All kinds of Minnesota communities were interested in applying for funds. But at a meeting of the MBA Board, an idea was hatched to use the money for more than a one-time use. What if the Twins donated a large chunk of money and the MBA donated some also? With the money pooled together, the MBA Board could administer a Loan Fund--one that could be loaned out at low interest to any team in Minnesota. In that way, the fund would be perpetual and help promote baseball in Minnesota forever!
Scheele took the idea to his committee and the MBA was awarded $20,000 from the Home Run Derby fund. The MBA tossed in $10,000 and the rest is history. The fund is available to any baseball team or association in Minnesota. The maximum limit to borrow is $4,000. The interest rate is 2% and the loan is paid back over a five year period.
Since its inception the fund has grown to over $40,000, even though the MBA was paid back its contribution at a rate of $1,000 a year ending in 1997. "This has been a terrific program," said current Secretary-Treasurer Bob Zellmann. "It keeps turning over and we have never had a loan that wasn't paid back. It really provides more good to a team or a community" (than a one-time grant).
To apply for the loan send your letter of application to Bob Zellmann, 219 Park Place, Box 246, Norwood, MN 55368. Or call him at 952-467-2741.