Baseball is just getting under way for the season. The big leagues are in spring training in places like Florida and Arizona and the colleges and high schools are anxiously awaiting green grass and practicing indoors.
Baseball has always been popular in the Jamestown area. The community has been fielding a team or teams pretty much ever since the town could find a bat, ball and four bases.
The highest level of baseball was probably played in the 1920s and 1930s when Jamestown had a professional team.
In the spring of 1922 the Jamestown Jimkotans published its financial records in the Stutsman County Citizen. That took a little nerve; it listed an overdraft hanging at the bank of $283.73.
The teamâ€™s expenses the previous year total just a bit over $22,000. Of that the team had salaries to players of $10,313.61. Doesnâ€™t sound like much but adjusted for inflation thatâ€™s equivalent to $130,863.91 today.
While that is probably less than players like Joe Mauer or Derek Jeter make while standing around during the seventh inning stretch itâ€™s still a pretty big chunk of change.
The Northern League, where the Fargo Redhawks compete, has a salary cap of $105,000 per season.
According to the website Baseball Reference the Jamestown Jimkotans were classified as a Class D minor league team competing in the Dakota League. While most players on the team were journeymen minor leaguers one of the 1922 Jimkotans went on to a career in the big leagues.
Mark Koenig was born in California in 1904 but by the time he was 16 was playing minor league baseball in the Midwest and Canada. The 17-year-old played 97 games at third base for the Jimkotans. He had a .254 batting average with two homeruns. The stats arenâ€™t terribly wonderful but he kept moving up in the minors. The next year he was at Class A Des Moines and in 1924 was in Class AA St. Paul.
And in 1925 he made the New York Yankees where it appears he fit in quite well. In 1927 he started as shortstop and batted second in the lineup known as â€œmurderers row.â€
His batting average hadnâ€™t improved much. In 1927 he batted .285 with three homeruns. But when he did get on base there was a pretty good chance heâ€™d come around to score.
Batting third was a player by the name of Babe Ruth who was followed by Lou Gehrig.
Within five years Koenig moved from the Jamestown Jimkotans to Murderers Row. And it appears he never did bat above .300.