Beacon 70 Throwback Thursday: The Drag Spiker

In celebration of our 70th Anniversary, we take a look back at how Beacon’s first proprietary product came to be…

JULY 15, 1999 — One of Beacon’s new owners back then — and the engineering brains in the company to this day — Jim Myrland listens to Paul Zwaska, at the time the Head Groundskeeper with the Baltimore Orioles, as he explains the fine art & science behind maintaining a good infield skin.

While visiting Orioles that day, Jim noticed the Orioles’ ground crew was using a homemade drag spiker made out of wood, nails and a 6′ x 3′ steel mat drag. As he watched it perform, he decided right there what Beacon’s first new proprietary product should be.

January 2000 — Beacon Ballfield’s (which was Beacon Athletics’ original company name) introduced their first proprietary product, the Drag Spiker. It appeared in its new and first ever color catalog for Beacon Ballfields.

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Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 with a Bachelor's in Soil Science with a specialty in Turf & Grounds Management. Paul took over as head groundskeeper for the Orioles’ final season at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and then was heavily involved throughout the design and construction phases of Oriole Park at Camden Yards which debuted on April 4, 1992. Paul has led Technical Sales Support at Beacon Athletics since the summer of 2000. In 2012, Paul authored and oversaw the launch of "Groundskeeper University", the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Over the years, Paul has donated thousands of hours working with West Madison Little League, which also plays a critical role in the research and development for many of Beacon’s innovative field maintenance tools.