John Liepa has been a collector of baseball memorabilia since his youth. His subject for our March dinner meeting is “Baseball and the Civil War”, a Power Point program John has given to other historical organizations and Civil War Round Tables. As part of his program, John will display a portion of his very valuable collection beginning with baseball cards in the 1860’s and 1870’s up to the 1950’s, to include Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and many of the players our members grew up with during our youth.
For those interested in the Civil War era, John recommends the book, Baseball in Blue and Gray, by George B. Kirsch, which gives a very good historical portrayal of baseball during that era. Many of the soldiers both North and South were first introduced to baseball during the war (You can purchase a copy of this book from Amazon, using our website).
John is Professor Emeritus of History and Political Science at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC.) He taught courses in Political Science, U.S., and Iowa History from 1972-2010. Since retirement, John has been teaching courses for the College for Seniors in central Iowa on “Iowa’s Role in the Civil War", “Iowa’s Ethnic Heritage and Origins", and the “Early History of Baseball in Iowa.”
John has a B.S in History and an M.A. in Political Science from Iowa State University.
He received an “Excellence in Education” award in 2001 and was honored as DMACC’s “Educator of the Year” in 2004.
He served five terms on the State Historical Society of Iowa’s Board of Trustees from 1998 - 2113, having served both as Chair and Vice-Chair; and, on the Iowa Historical Foundation, the fundraising arm of the State Historical Society of Iowa.
John has been an 18-year member and Program Chair of the Des Moines Civil War Round Table and has done presentations on “Iowa’s Role in the Civil War.”
A life-long baseball card collector, John owns an extensive collection of cards and memorabilia representing Iowa’s 217 Major Leaguers, featuring Iowa’s seven Hall-of-Famers. A charter member of Iowa’s “Field of Dreams” chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), he has had numerous articles on Iowa baseball history published. Over the past 3-1/2 years, he has done over 60 presentations on baseball history throughout Iowa, often appearing as Montrose, Iowa’s Calvin McVey, Iowa’s first professional baseball player.
John lives in Indianola, Iowa with his wife, Dianne, who recently retired after 33 years on Senator Tom Harkin’s staff.