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The Henry Kuempel Collection - Austin Pioneers

Austin History Center

Silent | 1950s

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  •  Warming up 
  •  Batting practice 
  •  Pitching 
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This home movie, most likely shot in the late 1940s or early 1950s, captures baseball practice at Disch Field with the Austin Pioneers. The Pioneers was one of the eight original teams that formed the Big State League, a Class B minor league baseball circuit featuring clubs exclusively based in Texas. Ed Knebel, Henry Kuempel’s predecessor and colleague at the 7-Up Bottling Company of Austin, owned the club. He also financed the construction of Disch Field, the team’s home park. The Austin Pioneers played from 1947 to 1955, after which Knebel sold the franchise to James D. Connolly and Associates. The group subsequently brought the Texas League to Austin with a revived Austin Senators team. Disch Field, operated from 1947 to 1967, was home to the Austin Pioneers, Senators, and Braves. In the footage, players warm in the batting cages before practicing hitting and pitching on the field.
Henry Kuempel worked in the soft drink industry for more than 50 years, first with the Icy-Nu Bottling Company (later known as the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Austin) and then with the 7-Up Bottling Company of Austin. Kuempel served as president of the 7-Up Bottling Company from 1965 until his retirement in the mid-1970s. Kuempel’s son, Edmund, served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1983 to 2010. During his 27-year tenure, he chaired the House Committees on Retirement and Aging, Administration, State Recreational Resources, and Licensing and Administrative Procedures.