Shelly Battcher says she didn’t always recognize the kind of impact her father, Mike Poppitz, had on the Victoria community.
“Growing up, we realized it benefited us as adults; giving back to the community,” she said shortly after her late father and Victoria Vic’s Baseball Club received Victoria’s Community Builder Award on June 13.
“There were a lot of hours that we missed with our dad,” added Battcher, of Arlington. “He showed us how to give back.”
Poppitz, who was well recognized for his love of baseball, died in 2017.
The award, created last year by the city, is designed, in part, to honor those who have dedicated significant time and resources to building a welcoming community in Victoria.
Poppitz was best known as the mainstay of the Vic town baseball team. For 36 years he played, scouted, coached and managed the Vic’s. He was also the steadfast, all-encompassing field team at its namesake, Poppitz Field at Lions Park, personally spending countless hours and tens of thousands of dollars to keep the field in stellar condition.
Sons Clark Poppitz, of Shakopee, and Troy Poppitz, of Chaska, took their father’s place to maintain the Vic and Poppitz Field team after Mike’s death. Clark is also the team’s head coach.
The Poppitz brothers established the Victoria Vic’s Baseball Club in 2018, a non-profit organization designed to raise funds to keep the team, the field, and Mike’s legacy and passion for baseball alive.
“His dedication to creating a safe and friendly community for those who love to play, watch, coach and enjoy America’s greatest pastime has been his life’s work,” Mayor Deb McMillan said at the ceremony. appreciation of city volunteers.
McMillan cited Mike Poppitz’s volunteer time, community service, significant impact on baseball in the city, and efforts to foster a sense of community as reasons that made him a “deserving” recipient of the price.
“That dedication extended to his children…who honored their father’s memory by continuing his efforts to keep baseball alive in Victoria and on the Vic team,” she said.
“It’s an honor to give back,” Clark said while holding the award. “He (Mike) worked a lot of hours and so did we. It’s very nice to be appreciated. We would anyway, even if we didn’t get that honor for it. We love him and it continues his legacy.