| February 25, 2023
By CCL Reporter Sean Brennan
(LINCOLN, CA) - California Collegiate League baseball has quickly become the main event during summers in Lincoln, Calif.
On most nights from late May to early August, fans from all over Placer County pack the historic McBean Stadium to support the Potters, Lincoln’s CCL team.
Fans have mostly been treated to success during the CCL’s first three seasons in the Clay City – you’ll likely be hard-pressed to find a lot of empty seats when the Potters are playing at “The Bean.”
Though every summer of Potters' baseball is memorable, the upcoming season will hold even more significance. That’s because the organization is dedicating the 2023 campaign to honoring baseball in Lincoln, which has a rich history dating back an entire century.
America’s favorite pastime has been ingrained into the fibers of the city since the early 1900s. In 1875, the establishment of Gladding McBean & Co., a renowned pottery company, put the then-small Northern California town on the map. The company assembled and funded a ball club years later in 1923, and just like that, a rich tradition of baseball in Lincoln was born.
“It [the club] wasn’t called the Potters for the first few years,” Potters general manager Matt Lundgren said. “The Potters came in with a similar logo to us and everything in the 40s (…) The Potters went all the way through the 60s and into the 70s. And then it [the club] went away for almost 50 years.”
The original Potters remained a mere memory in Lincoln until 2016, when the city, along with other entities, put money into revamping an outdated McBean Stadium that hadn’t seen renovations since the 1950s.
A revitalized ballpark and Lincoln’s interest in hosting a summer baseball team proved too lucrative of an opportunity for Lundgren’s camp to pass up. Then came the question – what would the team be called? But for Lundgren, the answer was a no-brainer.
“We’ve obviously adopted the name ‘Potters,’” Lundgren said. “We wanted to keep that tradition alive. We put in our logo,‘Established 1923.’ We’d like to pay homage to that. We still put the Gladding McBean patch on all of our uniforms, just like they did back in 1923.”
With a five-decade hiatus sandwiched between two iterations of the club, the Potters technically haven’t been around for 100 years. However, the celebration goes beyond just the team on the field. Look no further than the Lincoln community, which welcomed a new team in its city with open arms.
“When we started rebuilding everything at the end of 2016, it was very early on that we realized we were going to have the community’s support,” Lundgren said. “They came out, showed up and backed us from the beginning.”
Even with a strong base in Lincoln, Lundgren knew it was in the organization’s best interest to reach the surrounding communities. This proved a difficult task due to people in the area generally staying within their own towns. However, the fans in Lincoln helped “set the tone”, and all of Placer County soon became Potters Country.
“We just provided something that those communities didn’t have,” Lundgren said. “And once we got them out to the ballpark, you see the energy and the community coming together. So it’s really taken off and become a regional thing rather than just a Lincoln thing, which has been pretty cool.”
So what (and when) will this highly-anticipated 100th-year extravaganza be? According to Lundgren, the entire season will be one big celebration. The Potters will don a 100-year patch on their hats, and will hold other promotional events, such as giving away commemorative pins and a replica of McBean Stadium, throughout the summer.
Despite a milestone season just around the corner, the Potter's main objectives remain player development and success on and off the field, with the hopes of winning the CCL State Championship. Last August, Lincoln hosted the West Coast World Series at McBean Stadium and went all the way, which is no minor feat. But Lundgren admits that earning the CCL Trophy would be even more special to his team and community.
“We want to win a championship,” Lundgren said. “You might think our sole care is how we do financially, which is super important. But we’re as competitive of a group as you can find, and we really want to bring a championship home to this community.”
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