Druten Stadt Sportverein 91, commonly referred to as Druten Stadt SV 91 or just SV 91, is a professional baseball team situated in the city of Druten Stadt, located in the region of Oranje within the country of Günsovölk. Recognized as the first official baseball club in the nation, Druten Stadt SV 91 holds a significant place in Günsovölk’s baseball history. The team was one of the five founding clubs of the Günsovölk Baseball-Bund, the governing body of baseball in the country.
The club was founded by Alexander Maier, who was inspired during his honeymoon in Humoor, Koana Islands, where he witnessed Albert Spalding’s team of All-Stars and the Chicago Club in action. Druten Stadt SV 91 owes its inception to Maier’s fascination with the sport. Captivated by the spectacle, he made it his mission to introduce baseball to Günsovölk. As a result, Maier extended an invitation to Albert Spalding’s team, inviting them to play an exhibition game at Kupferhammerpark in Druten Stadt on August 14, 1889. This exhibition game marked a pivotal moment in Günsovölk’s baseball history, igniting interest and laying the foundation for the growth of the sport in the country.
Maier, the owner of a copper mine in the eastern part of the city, initially formed Druten Stadt SV 91 as a recreational outlet for the workers. Inspired by the success of the Vizhune IS, who won the Super Ligan in 1895, Maier chose the nickname “Die Schlangen” (The Snakes) for the team and added the 91 in honor of his first daughters birthday (9th of January 1891).
On May 15, 1892, the Günsovölk Baseball-Bund was established in a café called Haus am alten Walzwerk and was organised by Alexander Maier. This association was dedicated to preserving baseball as an amateur sport. The founding members, all hailing from Gilsemans Island, included BV Küstestadt, Ducibus, Hafenstadt BV, VfB Andacht, and Druten Stadt SV 91.
From 1893 to 1897, Die Schlangen were one of the most successful clubs of it’s time, winning the Baseball-Pokal in 1895, having finished as runners-up to BV Küstestadt in both 1893 and 1894. Upon the formation of the Baseball Meisterschaft in 1898 however, the team suffered a downturn in fortunes. After finishing as runners-up in the inaugural season, Druten Stadt SV 91 plummeted to the foot of the table, neve finishing higher than second-last from 1900 until they were voted out of the league at the end of the 1907 baseball season. It wasn’t until 1926 that it was discovered that Alexander Maier had veto power to any changes to the Baseball Meiserschaft until 1906, preventing the team from being voted out of the league. They were replaced by Käseplatz SSV.
A quirky outfield with a quirky name, Kupferhammerpark (Copper Hammer Park), is the home ballpark of SV 91, located in Druten Stadt, Günsovölk. It boasts a distinctive design that showcases both its historical origins and functional elements. The most notable feature of the stadium is the 15-feet-high walls positioned in left field. Originally installed with the purpose of limiting the number of baseballs entering a road that stretched from the left field foul pole to center field, these walls stand as a testament to the stadium’s early layout and strategic considerations.
Over time, as the popularity of baseball grew and the need for spectator seating became apparent, the local council made the decision to purchase the road that ran through the outfield. This paved the way for the construction of stands, accommodating a larger number of fans while preserving the dimensions of the playing field. Consequently, despite the changes to the seating area and the removal of the road, the field itself remained unaltered, maintaining its original dimensions.