Play Ball!

Posted: October 8, 2016 in creative writing, Everyday Life, Fathers, Life, poem, poet, poetry

My friend Carolyn, doesitevenmatter3, has unofficially declared this week “Donkey Week”. Here’s my contribution.










My father with his Donkey Baseball team’s MVPs. Really! They call it Donkey Ball.

In the 1930’s local baseball teams were organized in most American towns. Baseball was truly the national sport. Practically every town, from the smallest to the largest had at least two baseball teams. My father, and many others, felt the game boring and needed “a little spicing up” so he and a partner added to the spectacle of the game, the donkeys.

Donkey Ball, as it was called, became very popular in the Midwest. His donkey team traveled throughout the Midwest for a few years. His partner was the advance man who would “sell” a town a night or two of donkey ball and organize the time and date and put up posters and newspaper ads of the coming attraction and then a few days or weeks later Dad would bring into town the donkeys and organize the entertainment.  The towns had to furnish the players.

Really the donkeys were well-trained animals that he and his partner spent months training. Each animal had its own specialty. One would not move an inch if directed to “stay” by my father. Another would only let a child sit on its back but bucked if an adult tried to ride it. ( the child was given candy to give the donkey before they mounted it.) One would run the bases even if the player fell off, one would totally carry the player off of the field and back to the stock truck. Another would just lay down on the ground if anyone tried to ride her. The towns people loved seeing the local gentry, the police chief or the mayor thrown off the donkey or kicked or disobeyed. Really an evening of fun.

My father had an added attraction of a bull-whip act that he performed sometime during the show which the donkeys also participated in. Similar to a circus lion taming act, where the donkeys would line up and perform tricks at the commands of my “lion tamer” father.

Here’s a YouTube of how the game was played. This is not his team playing, it is just one of the only documented films of the game in the early 1930’s when he was in the business. There are Donkey Ball teams still today but this film best represents what my father described it to be in the 1930’s. Wish I had a film of his. There are still donkey baseball and basketball game promoters in business even today. My father’s and others were among the firsts.

Such is the life of John.


  1. iampeacenow says:

    Very funny. I’ve heard the term but truly had no idea what it meant. Certainly a more entertaining way to place baseball. peace to you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hee Haw! Two of my fav things…donkeys and baseball!
    This is SO wonderful! How cool that your Dad played such an integral part! 🙂
    Thank you for sharing this, John! And for jumping on the donkey bandwagon!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I added a link to your post on my Donkey post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Last week was donkeys…this week I am posting on motorcycles! 😀
    How’s your week going, J?
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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