Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ollie Berg Accomplishes Incredibly Rare Feat

Wahpeton-Breckenridge pitcher Ollie (or "Allie") Berg received mention in the September 16, 1902 edition of The Minneapolis Journal for an incredibly rare feat: an unassisted triple play. The unassisted triple play occurs when a fielder is responsible for recording three outs on one batted ball, without any assistance from the other fielders. The play is so incredibly rare that it has happened only 15 times in the history of Major League Baseball. Berg turned his triple play in 1901 when he was pitching for a Langdon, North Dakota town team against a town team from Cavalier, North Dakota. 

Unassisted triple plays in Major League Baseball: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/history/rare_feats/?feature=unassisted_triple_plays

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Moorhead's Frank Kulp Dies in Oregon

One unique aspect of the 1897 Red River Valley League was the fact that players came from far and wide to play baseball on the northern plains. Frank Kulp was originally from Le Sueur, Minnesota, coming up from southern Minnesota to play for the Moorhead Barmaids in 1897. Kulp's baseball career was relatively brief and likely began in 1896, when he served as captain of the Winona, MN club. After the 1897 season in Moorhead, Kulp played a few more years of amateur ball before making his way to the West Coast. He became a police officer in Bend, Oregon, and eventually served a brief stint as their Chief of Police before his death in 1923.

The Bend Bulletin, January 11, 1923. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Perham Team Had Ties to 1897 Fargo Divorcees

The 1901 Perham baseball team had two players who likely had ties to the Red River Valley League of 1897. The catcher on the team is listed as H. Howe, and I believe this is Henry "Harry" Howe, who played for the Fargo Divorcees after several years playing for other Midwest clubs in both the Western League and Western Association. The pitcher on the Perham club is listed as C. T. Roberts, and I believe this is Charles "Tad" Roberts, brother of Lee Roberts, the player and manager on the Fargo club of 1897. Lee and Tad often played together on Fargo nines during the other summers of the 1890s. The picture explains that all of the Perham players were local men, except for the battery (the pitcher and the catcher). Tad Roberts hailed from Fargo and Harry Howe was likely from the Twin Cities, so that piece of the puzzle seems to fit.

The Minneapolis Journal, August 26, 1901

The Perham club of 1901 participated in a loose organization of clubs, a common occurrence among town teams of the era. Unlike the Red River Valley League of 1897, Perham's league was not officially recognized by the National or American Leagues. Nevertheless, the club certainly reveled in its success.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Bill Zink Honored 40 Years After RRVL, 30 Years After Historic Game

The May 27, 1937 Hutchinson News reported that its beloved ballplayer, Bill Zink, would be honored at a ceremony before the May 29 game between the Hutchinson Larks and Joplin (MO) Miners. The Larks were a Class C farm team of the Pittsburgh Pirates at the time, while the Miners were affiliated with the New York Yankees. Bill Zink played in Kansas from 1906-1910, in 1906 as a member of the Leavenworth Old Soldiers, and 1907-1910 as a member of the Hutchinson Salt Packers. On May 29, 1907, Zink took part in a 23 inning contest between Hutchinson and Oklahoma City. After his playing career, Zink settled down with his family in Hutchinson, so he was invited back to Carey Municipal Park in Hutchinson exactly 30 years later to be honored for his part in the memorable game (box score is below). The game was seven innings longer than the longest game of the 1897 season, when Zink was a member of the Fargo Divorcees. On August 2, 1897 Zink played shortstop for the Fargo club in a 16 inning loss to Moorhead. In the 4 to 2 loss, Zink had two hits in six at-bats with a run scored.

"Special Events With Baseball," The Hutchinson News, May 27, 1937, p. 2.
Box score: "A Remarkable Baseball Game," The Leavenworth Post, May 30, 1907, p. 4.