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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Fun and development were important motivators for the development and success of the Dubuque Independent League

DUBUQUE INDEPENDENT LEAGUE. Vernon A. HABERKORN founded the Dubuque Independent League in 1968 on the principles of discipline, sportsmanship, motivation and friendship. He later credited the league's success by continuing to use these principles as guidance.

Weirich Field was named in honor of Fr. William J. Weirich, pastor at Holy Ghost parish from 1905-1931. After use by the Independent League, the field fell into disuse until purchased by Josh and Ashley Moore for use by the Dubuque Thunder softball organization.

The Independent League began playing on Weirich Field. According to a 2022 article in the Telegraph Herald by Jim Leitner, the league began the year Haberkorn had completed an undefeated season as the coach of the Holy Ghost seventh-grade softball team. School officials were looking for a way of continuing the players' baseball development during the summer months. The league began with only six teams. Each played fifteen games at Weirich Field on the Holy Ghost Parish campus. The number of teams doubled by 1970 and soared to include over than seven hundred players in four age divisions--8U to 14U.

In 2022 the league continued to serve as a feeder system for the city's high school teams. Several players have advanced to play high school, college and professional baseball.

Vern served as the president for twenty years and was a board member and umpire for twenty-eight years. In 2019 he was asked to throw out the ceremonial first ball in that year's season. (1)

In 2006 the league hosted its 27th Annual Dubuque Independent League Rising Stars Baseball Tournament at the Dubuque Sports Complex. The tournament featured the A (14 years old and under), B (12 years old and under), C (10 years old and younger), and D (8 years old and younger). (2)



1. Leitner, Jim, "Haberkorn Nurtured Youth Baseball," Telegraph Herald, Nov. 16, 2022, p. 1A

2. Harrison, Russ, "For Fun and Development," Telegraph Herald, June 18, 2006, p. 2C