The Packers? Are we talkin’ Cheeseheads? Nope. We’re talkin’ Prune Packers, a Healdsburg baseball tradition dating back 100 years.
The Packers’ name stems from the prevalence of the prune industry in this area, and the many people employed in packing sheds that were a part of downtown commercial properties—now storage units and wine processing facilities.
In those days, town teams were named after local industries, like the Fort Bragg Loggers and the Petaluma Leghorns.
The Packers started in 1921 playing as a Minor League Farm Club team. There were various iterations of team and league play through the 20th century, continuing today via the California Collegiate Baseball League (CCL), founded in 1993.
The CCL is a premier summer, wooden-bat league sanctioned by Major League Baseball. Packer players are hosted by Healdsburg families—thank you, host families! Approximately 50 games are played in June and July.
It’s America’s summer pastime at its best, played right here in Healdsburg. Go to www.prunepackers.org to find their schedule, watch live streaming or YouTube videos of home games, or simply find out more about the Packers!
Fun facts: Game time is 6pm; admission is $8; bring a picnic or purchase food; the seats are a little hard because they are made from redwood, originally built for the Cotati Speedway, then purchased and moved to Healdsburg in the 1920s; night games began in 1948 when the city lighting committee sponsored a no-interest bond that paid off in the 1960s; the stadium’s name and renovation honors Clarence Ruonavaara, a life-long Healdsburg resident and outstanding pitcher in the 1950s; present day Packers are a winning machine, league champions in 2021 (45-7), their prior win-loss records include: 2019 (33-7), 2018 (36-10), 2017 (36-15), 2016 (37-14) and 2015 (37-17). So come on out to the ballpark, sing that 1908 song, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and have a good old time. See ya there!