‘In memory of Anna C. Rumph’

Monday, June 28, 2021
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Anna C. Rumph from an old story in the Miles City Star.

Editor, Miles City Star:

I am wondering if your sports reporter or readers have noticed the backstop at Conner/Denton Fields this summer. If you did look, you saw the farthest right panel of the backstop that reads, “In memory of Anna C. Rumph”. Your readers may have wondered, “Who is Anna Rumph and why is her name on the backstop?”

I would like to introduce you to one of Miles City’s greatest baseball fans ever. To do that I am including an article from the Star from the late summer of 1987 that will explain her history with the Miles City Mavericks. Another Star picture featuring Anna came when she won a young racehorse in a benefit raffle designed to raise money for the Miles City Turf Club. The filly was donated by Wallace and Helen Lockie of Miles City. The family thinks Anna may have been 88 at the time. She took the money instead of the horse, although she had confidently asserted for months ahead of the drawing, despite NOT being a gambler and only buying one ticket, she was going to win that horse.

In 1986, when Anna was 90, she was invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch during one game of the 12-state invitational American Legion tournament. When she threw that pitch, the catcher receiving the ball was her great-grandson, Miles City born J.D. Klein, who caught for a Spokane, WA team that was participating in the tournament. She was thrilled to be invited, practiced ahead of time, and made an impressive peg for anyone, but especially for a 90 year-old. When invited to, she would not get closer to home plate and insisted on throwing from the mound. (We have recently moved and since the move cannot find that great picture from the Star of early July, 1986.)

The reason Anna’s name is being memorialized is that at the time of her death in 1994 at age 98, her children used the memorials sent to the family to start an Anna Rumph Baseball Memorial Fund, investing in a mutual fund. The family was able to send funds in Anna’s name to the Miles City Youth Baseball program nearly every summer, never touching the principle. In 2018, 22 years after starting, and due to their advancing ages, they liquidated the fund and sent the balance to the Miles City youth baseball program as well.

On June 5th the family was able to see Anna’s memorial on the backstop during a Babe Ruth tournament game featuring one of the Miles City teams. It was a thrill to have family pictures taken at the backstop, and even more of a thrill to have the wonderful young men from Miles City thanking the family as they left the field. Bryce and Yvonne, four of Anna’s granddaughters, and assorted spouses, were able to enjoy applause from the crowd as Jeff Brabant and other youth baseball leaders thanked the family for their support.

Anna and Archie Rumph moved to Miles City from their homestead south of Broadus in 1932. They had three children who served in World War II. They were Duane (Army Air Corp radioman who served in Europe and the CIB theater), Elaine (Women’s Marine Corp, Hawaii) and Bryce (Army, South Pacific and Korea). Yvonne, the youngest, who graduated from Custer County High School in 1947 is 91, and Bryce, who lives in Gillette WY, is 96. Both are able to live alone and walk daily and expect to live to 100, crediting the good genes they inherited from Anna for their long and healthy lives. Duane died of polio in 1952 while still serving in the military, leaving a widow and four children. Elaine died at 96 and is interred at the Eastern Montana Veteran’s Cemetery.

Anna began cheering for the Mavs when her children were in high school. She retired in 1962 from the bookkeeping department of the Montgomery Ward store, and after that, she rarely missed a home Maverick game. She later began attending Babe Ruth games as she supported neighborhood children and was of course so pleased that both her great-grandsons played baseball. Her baseball legacy is deep within her family, but also had an impact on many generations of Miles City baseball players and their families.

She would be absolutely delighted that there is a college baseball team in Miles City, that a young man from Miles City made it to the bigs, and in spirit at least, we are confident she is cheering all the Miles City boys of summer as they take the diamond at Denton Field, where she loved to spend as many summer hours as she could, her distinctive summer hats well-known to the players and every other Miles City baseball fan for over 50 years.

Sherry Fields

Miles City

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