It’s playoff season for amateur baseball in South Dakota. On Friday, Platte opens up district tournament play in Parkston against Mt. Vernon. Platte’s team mascot, the Killer Tomatoes, stems back to the mid-1980’s.
It’s a nickname that combines comedy and science fiction into quite possibly one of the worst made horror movies in cinematic history.
Before they became the Platte Killer Tomatoes, the team was simply just known as Platte. Back in the mid-80’s, the team wore green and yellow uniforms that were similar to what the Oakland A’s wear at the major league level.
Former Platte baseball player Sam Nachitgal pinpointed that an upgrade to red jerseys and white pants helped pave the way for the teams nickname today.
"And so we went from green to red and it was kind of like, "Well, we were a ripened tomato." And somewhere along that time I was watching a Siskel and Ebert. They'd had the, they had the critiques of the movies at the time and one of their programs, they were doing the 10 Worst Movies of All Time and on that was Attack of the Killer Tomatoes," Nachitgal explained.
From there, the Platte Killer Tomatoes were born.
‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes’ is a movie in which evil tomatoes wreak havoc on unfortunate bystanders. The film also included a song that went along with it.
This song, much like the Killer Tomato philosophy, became apart of Platte home games as a kind of fight song for when the players would take the field.
Today, the fight song tradition has quietly slipped away, but the Killer Tomato nickname remains.