Jumbo Baseball Team
Watertown Base Ball Team
Robert “Jumbo” Keel
1861 - 1929
Jumbo baseball team, team photo, 1905
Sitting (l-r): Ed Schultz, Babe Lemke, W Wendroff
Middle Row: M Bachhulter, William Richard, Jumbo Keel, Emil Boetcher, Romy Hahn
Standing: Walter Kuenzi, Fal Leschinger, Frank McAdams
Watertown Daily Times, 03 28 1906
The Jumbo baseball club held its annual meeting at R. S. Keels' place and selected the following officers for the ensuing year: Manager and Treasurer, R. S. Keel, Captain, R. M. Hahn; Rec. Sec'y. W. M. Kuenzi. It was decided to erect a grand stand this spring at Washington Park for the comfort of the lovers of the game - a move in the right direction. The outlook for the team is very encouraging. Last season the Jumbos won 19 games and lost only 6. The team is strong, well balanced and no doubt will maintain its reputation as expert baseball players and continue to win victories on the diamond.
Watertown Base Ball team
Watertown Daily Times, 04 10 1906
The baseball season will soon open here. The Jumbos adopted the more metropolitan name this year. It will hereafter be known as the Watertown Base Ball team. The opening game is planned for May 6 with a Milwaukee team. There will be a new grandstand at Washington Park. The boys will start the season with even brighter prospects and greater encouragement than was extended them last year. A fact that is worthy of note is the exceptionally good record of the “Jumbos” last season. They participated in twenty-four contests and victory crowned their efforts in twenty of the games. That is certainly a record to be proud of and the fact of the matter is the citizens of Watertown do take a justifiable pride in this team and are giving support this spring in that substantial way of voluntary contributions. The management of the team is desirous of raising the sum of $200 for the purpose of making some needed improvements in the Washington Park.
1912 “Jumbo” To Be There
05 16 R. S. Keel (Jumbo) of Watertown came to Cambria Thursday to see his mother, who had a sudden attack of vertigo the day before and fell to the floor, but she is recovering her normal condition again. When told that an effort was being made to get the old Cambria White team together at the Cambria homecoming, Jumbo exclaimed: “That’s bully! Get ‘em here by all means and I’ll be with them, you bet.” He was the catcher for the old Cambria team and afterwards for the Columbus Blues of long ago, when Geo. Gavis was star twirler. Jumbo is kindly remembered by all the older Portage fans. – Portage Democrat / WG
Waterloo Democrat Annual, 1897, P H Bolger, p 36
R. S. Keel
Proprietor of one of our city [Waterloo] saloons was born on a farm in the town of Scott, Columbia County, Wis., August 1, 1861.
He has always lived on a farm, with the exception of two years that he was in business at Cambria, three years at Columbus and six years at Watertown. About eighteen months ago “Jumbo,” as he is commonly called, came here and bought out his present business and since that time has enjoyed a very lucrative business.
There is hardly a section of the state that the base ball “fans” are not acquainted with, or have heard of, “Jumbo” Keel as he has been a noted base ball player throughout this section for years and was signed with the Milwaukee league team one season but, owing to an injury, was unable to play the entire season. Last year he played with the local team, filling the position of catcher.
“Jumbo’s” place is base ball headquarters in the city and he has a host of friends here.
He was united in marriage in 1885 to Miss Lena Dallman.
Watertown Gazette, 05 16 1912
“Jumbo” To Be There. R. S. Keel (Jumbo) of Watertown came to Cambria Thursday to see his mother, who had a sudden attack of vertigo the day before and fell to the floor, but she is recovering her normal condition again. When told that an effort was being made to get the old Cambria White team together at the Cambria homecoming, Jumbo exclaimed: “That’s bully! Get ‘em here by all means and I’ll be with them, you bet.” He was the catcher for the old Cambria team and afterwards for the Columbus Blues of long ago, when Geo. Gavis was star twirler. Jumbo is kindly remembered by all the older Portage fans. – Portage Democrat.
Watertown Gazette, 08 01 1929
Sudden Death of R S Keel
At 9 o’clock last Tuesday morning [07 30 1929] R. S. Keel died suddenly at his home of heart disease, aged 68 years. In 1861 he was born at Cambria, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Keel, and when a young man he went to Columbus to reside and a few years later come to Watertown.
He was familiarly known as “Jumbo” on account of his large physique and good natured manner.
For many years he was catcher for the famous Watertown Mutual baseball club, composed also of the late Joe and Frank Smith, “Tony” Oestreicher, and Pat Diekoff and “Bud” Fowler (colored), all dead, and Ed. Steinberg of Jefferson, Yox Christenson of this city, Mattie Smith of Escanaba and several others.
He also played with the Cambria Whites, the strongest amateur baseball team in the country at the time.
He was a general favorite in Watertown and his hosts of friends here and elsewhere learn of his death with sincere regret.
Shortly before he died he went to a grocery store near his home and purchased some groceries, apparently in good health, and on returning home went out to his lawn and toppled over.
His wife died in 1919.
One daughter and two sons survive him, Mrs. Geo. Richards, Ary G. Keel of this city, and Garrett Keel of Engerton [later also known as “Jumbo”], also three sisters, Mrs. G. S. Sager and Mrs. Rudolf Rausch of Cambria and Mrs. Fred Phillips of Richfield, Minn. There also four grandchildren surviving him.
His funeral took place this afternoon from his late home. The interment was in Oak Hill Cemetery.
Robert S. Keel Saloon, 823 Main (east assumed), Watertown City Dir, 1913-14
As recorded in the Oak Hill interment ledger, he was age “67 years, 11 months, 29 days” at the time of his demise.
Watertown Baseball chapter
History of Watertown, Wisconsin