Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fargo Raids Winona Supply

Fargo's 1897 club was the beneficiary of apparent financial instability on the part of the Winona, MN team. Though the Winona team continued to play late into the summer, in early June they lost three of their key players to the Divorcees of the Red River Valley League. Fargo, interested in bolstering its roster after a slow start, added Bill Zink, outfielder Hopkins, and infielder Jack Murphy to try to provide a boost in run production. All three men, likely seeking better pay, had starred for the Winona club earlier in the summer of 1897. Their departure left pitcher Ignatius Comiskey, brother of then St. Paul manager Charles Comiskey, to lead the Winona team.

Winona Daily Republican Summer 1897.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Moorhead's Chances for 1897: A Team Preview

The Moorhead Barmaids would be a formidable group led by shortstop and Captain Jack Page. The Moorhead Daily News regarded Page as “one of the best infielders in the northwest.” Joining Page was a tough and talented catcher Tim Keefe, who would quickly make his presence known both with his play and with his mouth. Moorhead was led by its two pitching aces, Lawrence “Pike” Mullaney and Bob Brush, who would get plentiful support from a cast of solid, well-established players. The Daily News predicted Mullaney would perform well enough to be “the star pitcher of the league.” Compliments were showered upon all of manager William J. Bodkin’s squad. Local papers commonly exaggerated and overhyped their town’s teams during this era, even if a club had little chance of contending for a pennant. Unfortunately for the rest of the Red River Valley League¸ the comments from the Daily News were not simply another display of biased, blind hope. Moorhead’s chances were truly the brightest among the teams of the 1897 league.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Crookston Hoped for League Membership

The city of Crookston, MN was excited about its prospects to field a team in the Red River Valley League. Coming off a successful summer of 1896 playing various local teams, the Crookston community treasured the possibility of membership in an organized league for the 1897 season. There were promising signs that this dream would be fulfilled. The community had pledged sufficient financial support, and the city’s cranks were working on a new ball park for the team.
As late as May 19, Crookston looked like a lock to become part of the league. They had posted the $250 in forfeit money necessary to gain admittance, money that would be returned to the team as long as they stayed together and completed their entire schedule. Unfortunately, the news brought to fans the next day by the Crookston Daily Times explained with disappointment that the team would not be a Red River Valley League member after all. Unable to secure a sixth club for the league, officials meeting in Fargo decided it would not be feasible to attempt to form a schedule for five teams. Such a schedule would leave one team idle at all times. With a thin margin for error regarding finances, the clubs could not afford extra days without gate receipts coming in. As a result, Crookston was the odd man out, and the league would proceed with just four teams.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Still Writing - Book Planned

I thought I would give some updates on the Red River Valley League research project that I have undertaken. Since my last post in November, I have completed additional work on my research including:
- Research of the 1897 baseball coverage in the Grand Forks Plaindealer.
- Research of the Crookston Daily Times newspaper and completion of the city's hopes for fielding a team in the 1897 RRVL.
- Written previews of all four teams and their preparations for the season.

- Organization of previously written blog posts, integrating content into new writing.
- A complete summary of Fargo's games from the season, including the score, winning and losing pitchers, and whether the game was an exhibition or regulation game, among other notes.

In the next few months, I hope to put together a rough draft for a book, so look for updates as the summer progresses. The summer months always get me motivated to research and write this amazing story.

In the meantime, feel free to browse the 100+ posts. Use the tags to categorize them by topic, or use the search bar at the bottom of the page. If you have questions or comments, please make use of the comments section on the posts. I will be happy to answer your questions and talk more about this project, which has been a blast for me.