This week marks the start of the Major League Baseball season. A little more snow will need to melt before the boys of summer will take to the field at Jack Brown Stadium.
We have to look back to the 1930s Â to find the great days of baseball in North Dakota.
In 1934 Bismarck and Jamestown had been the great rivalry as they and other teams in the state recruited stars from the Negro Leagues and played some of the best baseball in the country. An all-star team of players from North Dakota defeated the Major League all-stars in three straight games played in Valley City, Jamestown and Bismarck that fall.
Pitching great Satchel Paige from the Bismarck squad combined with Double Duty Radcliffe and Steel Arm Davis from the Jamestown squad played a big part in local teams from North Dakota blowing away the big stars of the big leagues.
The rivalry continued in 1935 but with a bit of a twist. The Jamestown squad became an all white team that year while the Bismarck squad continued with many of the Negro League players.
The first game of the season was between the two squads with Jamestown picking up the win. Ed Brady, a touring pitcher with the House of David squads in previous years, got the win over Satchel Paige.
The Jamestown squad had a few other pros.
Ray Starr, known as Iron Man because he had pitched both games of about 40 doubleheaders in his career, had spent parts of a couple seasons with the New York Giants and Boston Braves before he came to Jamestown in 1935. He got back in the big leagues in 1941 when the 35 year old made the roster of the Cincinnati Reds. Itâ€™s possible he was one of the older players who made the bigs during the WWII years when more of the younger players ended up playing for Uncle Sam.
The next year he made the National League All-Star squad although it appears he didnâ€™t participate in the game.
The rivalry came to a head in a late July came that got more than a little ugly. A Jamestown pitcher by the name of Schmidt, his first name appears lost to history as he never made the Major Leagues, bounced a fastball of the head of Double Duty Radcliffe.
Radcliffe had been the player manager for Jamestown in 1934. Now he was diving for dirt from a Jamestown fastball.
This led a bench clearing brawl that took about 15 minutes to clear on the field. No word on how long it took break up the fights in the Bismarck stands.
The game got under way when Hilton Smith hit a long fly for Bismarck. The Jamestown outfielders argued the ball bounced over the fence. The ump ruled with Bismarck and called it a homerun and another brawl broke out.
Leading the charge for Bismarck was catcher Quincy Trouppe. Trouppe spent the off season as an amateur boxer and had a reputation of hitting hard.
The Jamestown squad walked away from the game and lived to play another day.