More North Dakota baseball players who set major league records – InForum

According to my research, there were two events that played a big role in facilitating the movement of baseball players from North Dakota to the major leagues and bringing former major leaguers to play baseball in North Dakota. The first event was the emergence of the Minneapolis Millers baseball team as the major link between major leaguers and Upper Midwest baseball players during the early years of the 20th century.

Last week, I focused on three major league record holders in the first decade of the 20th century who also played baseball in North Dakota. All three – Roy Patterson, Deacon Phillippe and Bob Unglaub – had also been star baseball players for the Millers.

The second event was the lifting of the ban in 1946 which prohibited African Americans from playing for MLB teams or any of their affiliated minor league teams. To my knowledge, there has never been a formal ban on blacks playing baseball in North Dakota, and since a ban was in place for organized professional teams, many of the best black players were recruited to play for teams in that state.

Shortly after the color barrier was lifted, a number of these players signed major league contracts. Two of the best were Satchel Paige and Quincy Trouppe, both of whom had played for several years on North Dakota teams.

More age-related records than any other MLB player

Satchel Paige seen in 1948. Acme Newspictures/Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons/Special to The Forum

At the age of 42, Leroy “Satchel” Paige became the oldest MLB player to debut, when he first appeared in a baseball game in 1948. Seventeen Years Older later, at the age of 59, he became the oldest player to appear in an official major league game. He was also the oldest pitcher to pitch in the World Series, pitch in an All-Star Game, lead his team in wins, pitch a shutout, pitch a complete game, and knock out another player from the major league in a regular season game. Additionally, Paige was the first African American to pitch in the American League.

In 1933, Neil Churchill, a Bismarck car dealer, bought and managed the Bismarck Greys, a semi-pro baseball team. At that time, the best team in North Dakota was the Jamestown Red Sox, who had a number of very good black players on their team. At the end of the season and desperate to win the state title, Churchill hired Paige, who many believed was the best pitcher in the black leagues.

Paige pitched nine games for Bismarck, of which he won seven undefeated, helping his team win the North Dakota title. It was Paige’s first experience playing for an integrated team in the United States.

Paige and Churchill had agreed that the pitcher would return to Bismarck in 1934, but instead Paige played for the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Colored House of David. Churchill convinced Paige to pitch for his team in 1935, and he responded with a 29-3 record, striking out 321 in 301 innings and walking just 16.

Because Bismarck was considered one of America’s top semi-pro teams, they were invited to attend the first National Baseball Congress in Wichita, Kan. Bismarck won all seven games they played, and Paige was the starting and winning pitcher in four of them. Games. During the tournament, he struck out 60, “a record that will probably never be broken.”

From 1936 to early 1948, Paige pitched for teams in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, as well as for black league teams and for independent barnstorming teams. On her 42nd birthday in 1948, Cleveland Indians owner Bill Veeck called Paige in for a tryout. Two days later, on July 9, he pitched his first game.

In the final three months of the season, Paige played 21 games and posted a 6-1 win-loss record. At the end of the season, the Indians and Red Sox tied for first place, and in the playoff game the Indians won, earning the American League pennant. I think it’s safe to say the Indians wouldn’t have won the pennant if Paige hadn’t made the team.


Satchel Paige’s 1949 Bowman Gum baseball card. Public domain / Wikimedia Commons / Special for the forum

Paige remained with the Indians in 1949, but at the end of the season Veeck was forced to sell the team in order to pay her divorce settlement, and Paige was released by the new owner. In 1950, Paige returned to her barnstorming days, earning $800 a game. One of the teams he played for was the Minot Mallards of the Mandak League. He pitched three scoreless innings in each of his three games with the Mallards. In mid-1951, Veeck bought an 80% stake in the St. Louis Browns, and he signed Paige to another major league contract in July.

In 1952, Paige became part of the starting rotation for the Browns, and he was so effective that he was named to the All-Star team, “making him the first black pitcher on an All-Star team. American League Star”. Paige was the Browns’ leading pitcher that season, going 12-10 with a 3.07 ERA on a team that went 64-80. He set two more records that season, becoming the oldest pitcher to pitch a shutout and the oldest pitcher to pitch a complete game.

In 1953, Paige was again named to the All-Star Team, becoming the oldest player to appear in the Summer Classic. At the end of the season, Veeck had to sell her team and Paige was released.

In 1954 and 1955, Paige returned to barnstorming until Veeck purchased the Miami Marlins from the International League. Veeck signed Paige who remained a starting pitcher for the Marlins for three seasons, believing he could still pitch at the major league level.

In 1965, he was contacted by Kansas City Athletics owner Charles O. Finley to start a game against the Boston Red Sox on September 25. He pitched three innings on one hit, retired one batter, before going on a suspension. raises his major league glove for the last time.

Oldest “position player” to debut in the majors

When Quincy Trouppe first crouched behind home plate on April 30, 1952, in a game for the Cleveland Indians, he became, at the age of 39, “the oldest man in serving in any position other than pitching on his major league debut.” Later that season, Trouppe entered the record books for the second time while behind the plate when Sam Jones entered in the game as a relief pitcher, forming “the first black battery (pitcher and catcher) in American League history”.

Trouppe was a star young catcher in the black leagues when he was recruited by Churchill to play for his Bismarck team in 1933. Trouppe could hit average and hard, but his most valuable assets were his catcher skills. He always called a good game, knew his pitchers’ strengths and hitters’ weaknesses, and had a “rocket arm”, allowing him to frequently throw out fast base stealers.

The Bismarck Tribune called him “the Babe Ruth of colored baseball”. In 1933, “it was Troupe who encouraged Paige” to join Churchill’s baseball team. Trouppe remained at Bismarck until 1937, when he decided to retire from baseball and concentrate on becoming a boxer.

During the summer of 1935, Trouppe returned to his home in St. Louis where he enjoyed some success as a heavyweight boxer, winning several local title fights and the Golden Gloves tournament. In 1937, he became good friends with Archie Moore, later world heavyweight boxing champion. Moore was impressed with Trouppe’s skills as a boxer, but he saw one thing that would limit his success. Moore told him, “Quincy, I don’t think you can ever be a fighter. You are just too nice. You’re not the mean type. You have the punch. You move faster than the average heavyweight and you have a real left shot. But you’re not mean.

In 1938 Trouppe returned to baseball playing in the Negro and Mexican leagues from 1938 to 1952. In 1952 he was signed by the Indians, and after playing in only six games, Trouppe was released, and soon after was became a baseball scout and owner. of a restaurant.

We will continue the story of the North Dakota baseball players who set MLB records next week.

“Did You Know That” is written by Curt Eriksmoen and edited by Fargo’s Jan Eriksmoen. Send your comments, corrections or column suggestions to Eriksmoens at [email protected]

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Curt Eriksmoen, columnist for “Did You Know? “. countryside

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