Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The League Collapses

As I alluded to in earlier posts, the Red River Valley League folded before it completed the 1897 season. When the season began, Crookston and Detroit Lakes were interested in entering the league, which would have made six teams in all. Both cities failed to get organized in time and pay the "guarantee" or "forfeit" money to the league. The forfeit money was a deposit that would be kept by the league if the team folded before it finished the season.

So, with Crookston and Detroit Lakes out of the picture, the league went on with four teams: Fargo, Moorhead, Grand Forks, and Wahpeton-Breckenridge. Fargo, Moorhead, and Grand Forks drew fairly well in terms of attendance throughout the season. It appears, however, that late in July, Wahpeton-Breckenridge was having difficulty staying financially solvent. When it looked like W-B was ready to fold, two different plans were proposed. The first would have allowed W-B to use their forfeit money deposit to help them complete the season. The second idea was to have the W-B players transfer to Crookston and be sponsored by that city, as Crookston was still enthusiastic about the possibility of having a team for the remainder of 1897.

In the end, the Crookston contingent of financial backers proved too slow in accepting the plan to adopt the W-B players and form a team. The league was anxious to continue playing and organize a revamped schedule. In addition, some of the W-B players were becoming restless. The uncertainty of the situation put their short term pay in jeopardy, and they began to look for other opportunities. By the time Crookston finally got their act together, the Wahpeton-Breckenridge team had disbanded, and the now three team league was forced to fold.

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