Saturday, June 2, 2012

Where Did Everyone Go?

Minor league baseball players in the late 19th Century often led a nomadic life. Minor leagues and teams were independent, not having the direct support of a Major League club as they do today. A league or a team that failed to draw enough fans and remain financially solvent couldn't hang on for very long without folding. As a result of this constant state of flux, players could not always count on staying in the same city throughout the summer. Even if their team and league were stable, it was still common for players to play a few games with other local teams when their league team was idle. For the Fargo Divorcees in 1897, these factors, along with a late start to the season (late May), the July 31st folding of the Red River Valley League, and the craving of baseball fans in the valley produced a perfect storm in which Fargo's players appeared in many different uniforms throughout the summer.

A working list of teams that featured Fargo players sometime during the summer of 1897:

Jimmy Banning - Umpired in the RRVL
Bergstrom - Minnehahas (MN)
Flannery - Perham, MN
Jimmie French - Hope, ND (2 games)
Reilly Green - Kenyon, MN
Haverty - Detroit Lakes, MN
Hayes - Omaha, NE (Western Association)
A. J. Hessler - Foster County, ND
C. R. Hickey - Wadena, MN (1 game)
Henry "Harry" Howe - Moorhead Barmaids and Denison-Sherman/Waco, TX (Texas League)
Charles Jahnke - Moorhead Barmaids
George Keas - a team in Southern Minnesota (after the league folded)
Arthur "Tige" Lyons - Sheldon, ND, Perham, MN, and served as umpire for RRVL games
Gus Munch - St. Paul Saints (Western League), Staples, MN (1 game)
Oscar Peterson - Minneapolis Millers (Western League), Wadena, MN (1 game), Wheatland, ND (1 game)
Charles "Deacon" Phillippe - Minneapolis Millers (Western League)
Josh Reilly - Kansas City Blues, Indianapolis Indians (both Western League), Springfield, IL Governors (Interstate League), Kenyon, MN
Lee Roberts - Mandan, ND (several games), Sheldon, ND, Detroit Lakes, MN
Fred Steele - Milnor, ND (1 game), a team in Western Iowa possibly
Bill Zink - a team in Western Iowa possibly

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