I've commented regularly on the descriptiveness and creativity found in newspaper accounts of baseball games in the late 19th century. Today a game can be summarized by a few nice snapshots, or even video highlights. Writers in the Red River Valley certainly didn't have these luxuries, however, and actual photographs of any baseball games in the era are quite rare. In the summer of 1897, the Fargo Forum, Sunday Argus, Grand Forks Herald, and Moorhead Independent never featured a single photograph relating to baseball. Fortunately, written accounts of the games were usually quite good, being both descriptive, and at times, even entertaining. A few days ago, I posted a cartoon drawn in the Grand Forks Herald satirizing the 1897 league and the plight of the umpires. This is the only drawing that appeared in the Herald during the 1897 season concerning the Red River Valley League, but illustrations from the cartoonist Straub were fairly common in chronicling the 1896 season. The following is one of my favorites. It captures the spirit of a strong rivalry between Crookston and the Company F team of Grand Forks, with a good dose of humor injected as well. The Grand Forks squad won the game 15-9. Several members of the 1897 Grand Forks Senators appeared in the game, including Charles Hutton, Harry Walker, and Jack Turner.
Grand Forks Herald July 17, 1896 "Fixed 'Em Plenty"