The maxim for the Stearns County League in Minnesota amateur baseball is that it takes "two bars, a Catholic church and a ball field" to gain membership. Go west and drift south for 100 miles and you could find Rosen, an unincorporated village near the South Dakota border that has 16 houses, St. Joseph's Catholic Church and the ball field, but not even one bar.
"There was a general store, but that's been gone for quite a while," said Tom Rademacher, for many years the veterans service officer for Lac qui Parle County. "We still have two masses a week — Friday and Sunday — at St. Joseph's, and the field at the ballpark is better than it's ever been."
There were varied branches of Rademachers in the area, and one obligation was to provide enough men to keep the Rosen Express going in the what's now a 13-team Land O' Ducks League.
They received assistance in this role from the Adelmans, other farmers with a proclivity for producing ballplayers.
One of the best of these was Greg Adelman. He attended now long-closed St. Joseph's Grade School for eight years, then went 7 miles east to Bellingham public for high school.
Adelman graduated from Bellingham in 1959 and went to St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. His uncle was Brother Silverius of the Holy Cross order and worked there. He helped persuade Greg to attend, both as a devout young man and a baseball player.
Greg studied business administration at St. Edward's for two years. He found a job in the Twin Cities and wound up at Federated Insurance.
He would return to Rosen on weekends to play baseball in the late spring and summer, and in the fall to pursue another passion: hunting ducks and pheasants.
There were 10 Adelman kids, an average-sized farm family in that era. Greg was the second oldest among 10; Vince was the third boy among six.
Tom Rademacher and Vince Adelman were in the Class of '67 at Bellingham. Vietnam was heating up. Vince enlisted in the Air Force and did not wind up there. Tom was inducted into the Army in 1968.
He was in Vietnam, in the back of a cargo plane, in August 1969. "The cargo shifted and my left foot was caught under three tons of artillery," Rademacher said. "The foot was amputated. I was discharged in October."
Rademacher returned home and helped revive a Rosen town team that had been shut down for a couple of years. He became a manager, an organizer, eventually a member of the Minnesota Baseball Association board and an inductee into the state baseball Hall of Fame.
He was the Rosen manager on June 13, 1971, when rival Ortonville came to town. "It was suffocating hot; sort of like today," Vince Adelman said last week.
The middle of Rosen's infield was Greg at shortstop and Vince at second. It was well-known by the locals that the Mayo Clinic had found a heart defect with Greg years earlier that cost him much of his high school athletic career.
No matter now. Summer Sundays meant baseball for Greg.
"We took infield before the game; there was no air moving, so we were all standing outside the dugout," Vince said. "Except, Greg was sitting in there, and he started gasping for air."
Teammates Clifford Price and Sylvester Rademacher jumped in the front seat of a car to head for the Ortonville hospital. Vince was in the back with Greg's body partly on his lap.
"Just as we got in front of our church, Greg tried to raise up, and I held him down a little," Vince said. "He slumped, and I could tell he was gone."
On Sunday, 50 years to the date of Greg's death at age 30, the Adelmans, Rademachers and other Rosen fans will remember him. Cottonwood will be in town for a 2:30 p.m. game, and a granite bench down the left-field line will be commemorated in his honor.
And the old-timers in the usual crowd of 200-plus will tell younger fans: "Greg was a switch hitter, quite a shortstop, and pitched for us, too. He was a good one."