A loose knit group of former baseball players gathered during the 1940’s and 1950’s to form a unique baseball organization. Beginning in 1946 or 1947, the group began hosting an annual old-timers game, sponsored by the Fort Wayne Baseball Federation for the benefit of amateur baseball within the city. However, there was little formal activity until 1953 when it the formation of a local National Hot Stove League of America was announced, complete with newly elected officers.
However, facing diminished interest in the early 1960’s, the group was revamped to boost public and media interest. The restructuring included a name change to the Fort Wayne Oldtimers Baseball Association. Additionally, at the October 16, 1961 meeting, Co-Chairmen, Red Carrington and Elmer Wagner, announced the formation of a Fort Wayne Baseball Hall of Fame; with Lou Holterman and James “Hub” Hart being named as the first two inductees.
They continued to operate through the 1970’s and 1980’s before going on hiatus in the early 1990’s. In 1992, a halt in group activity was spurred by the unfortunate passing of many of the more proactive members. A few short years later, in 1998 led mainly by Bob Parker, the group resurfaced and revived the induction of deserving candidates to the local Hall of Fame. In 2002, the Dean Kruse Foundation’s American Heritage Village invited the organization to house the organizations’ long-sought museum and Hall of Fame.
In 2003, the group undertook another name change to the modern-day Northeast Indiana Baseball Association (NEIBA). In addition to the Museum, the Hall of Fame and Annual HOF Awards Banquet, NEIBA publishes a quarterly publication, Line Drives.
* This information was adapted from work previously published by Don Graham