Mike Downes Memorial Award Winners

2010 - Herb Koch


Awarded annually since 1981 for outstanding service to Minnesota Amatuer Baseball. Mike Downes was a league president and region commissioner for a long time from the Nashwauk area.  He was very instrumental in keeping town team baseball alive in the small communities on the Iron Range.

Herb Koch was presented the Mike Downes Award at the annual meeting of the Minnesota Baseball Association on Saturday, October 17th. Koch received the award for "Outstanding Service to Minnesota Amateur Baseball."

Koch, who had just returned from a fireman's convention in Duluth at which he was honored for 30 years of service, acknowledged the award by thanking the board and giving credit to his family.  He said that he had come up with a lot of crazy ideas over the years including the installation of lights at the Loretto ballpark, and his wife and family had supported him the whole way.

Herb started playing town team baseball at the age of 16 and still plays occasionally if the need arises.  He is currently the manager of Loretto and his team participated in the 2009 State Tournament in Gaylord and Arlington.  Loretto lost 7-5 to the St. Cloud Snappers in the second round of the tournament.

Koch has been the town fire chief for 30 years.  He has served on the local athletic club board for over 30 years and is presently President of the three North Star Leagues.  He spearheaded the improvements to the Loretto ball park and transformed the park into one of the nicest parks in Minnesota.  He was also involved in building a little league field and two softball fields next to the baseball field which provided Loretto with many recreational opportunities.

Written by Bill Nelson Mn Baseball Association