20th Century, baseball, Culture, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, omnipresent history, sports

Saints vs. Millers: Streetcar Double Headers 1907

 

s-l225

1907 Spalding Guide - Hart - MPLS team

April 1907

“A heated sibling rivalry develops between the Twin Cities’ two pro baseball teams, the Saints and Millers. Streetcar doubleheaders are scheduled on Decoration Day, July 4, and Labor Day, with a game in each city.” * 

A bit of background is in order to help those who may not know much about the Twin Cities. There is definitely much in common between these two places, but it’s the distinctions that give each it’s flavor. They may not be thought of as ‘strong’ flavors by those who consider Minnesota ‘flyover country’, but that is a matter of taste.

St. Paul is the older brother of Minneapolis. According to local legend, first two structures in St. Paul were a log trading post that doubled as a pub, and a log Catholic church. There are very strong communities derived from nations with a Roman Catholic heritage: Irish, French, Polish, Italian, and Mexican. This city leans blue-collar, tends to move slower, and with more respect for tradition.

Minneapolis is the kid brother that just kept growing. It historically has been more Protestant, with residents mostly from Western and Northern European descent. It leans more white collar and entrepreneurial, with more nightlife to spend new money.

Holy Umpire, thanks for the heritage of baseball in Minnesota! What an awesome combination of sport with times for team play, and individual achievement! Baseball truly is a mirror of the best attributes of our culture.

Unfortunately, Saints and Millers reflect the darker sides of our nature too. Sometimes we, as fans attempted to “help” our home team. Check out this example of ‘sportsmanship from 100 years ago;

“The newspapers joined the struggle, firing their artillery at enemy camps across the Mississippi River. In the 1890s, when both cities were represented in the Western League, the Minneapolis Tribune leveled a charge of “dirty ball” against its neighbors to the east, the Saints, who were owned and managed at that time by Charles Comiskey. “Manager Comiskey,” reported the Tribune, “will be served with a formal notice that the Minneapolis club will not play today’s game unless guaranteed that there will be no spiking of Minneapolis players, no interference on the part of the crowd, no throwing of rocks, no throwing of dust and dirt in the eyes of the Minneapolis players, and a few other tricks which the game yesterday was featurized by.” ** 

God, thanks that You gave a home team to enjoy and be proud of. Will You forgive us for when we have gone overboard and over identify ourselves with a baseball team? Will You forgive harsh words that were sowed then between Minneapolis and St. Paul that still smart today? 

Today I want to acknowledge specific sports offenses to You. We have loved winning more than losing, but doesn’t losing build character? We have loved showboat personalities more than the team at times, but innately we know that a single player can’t win the game. We  can behave like spoiled brats at games, then lecture our kids about the importance of sportsmanship. God help our ERA and our era!  Have mercy on our inconsistent batting average with beloved rivals of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Thanks that these hostilities birthed a solution; the Minnesota Twins! Will You help us find creative ways to find common ground with our rivals today?

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

** Thornley, Stew. On to Nicollet: The Glory and Fame of the Minneapolis Millers.

*** Peruse this wonderful link to the complete article by Stew Thornley. http://www.stewthornley.net/millers_paydays.html

**** Dig into a book on the Saint Paul Saints, again, by Stew Thronley. http://www.mnhs.org/mnhspress/books/st-paul-saints

Standard
20th Century, baseball, History, Indian, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, Native Americans, Ojibwe, omnipresent history, sports

Charles (Chief) Bender Makes Major League Debut 1903

Unknown

Chief Bender

sabr.org

April 20, 1903

“Charles Albert Bender, an Ojibway Indian, plays his first major league baseball game for the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team. Known as “Chief” Bender, the Brainerd pitcher helps the A’s win five pennants, sets a World Series strike-out record, and in 1953 becomes the first Minnesotan inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His career record is 212 wins and 127 losses.” * 

Thank You for the life of Charles Albert Bender, his contributions to the Athletics, and the inspiration he gave to Minnesotans. Thank You for ensuring his well-being in childhood. As scholar Melissa Meyer writes, “during the early years of Charley’s childhood White Earth was destitute. At White Earth, the family lived in a log house on a small farm. The Benders had to be self-sufficient and they were not the only ones. Things were so meager that as a young boy Charley supposedly went to work, taking a job as a farmhand for a dollar a week.”**

Thank You for his perseverance in the face of ethnic prejudice. He did not allow slights, contempt, and assumptions made by his detractors to drag him down!

“Though proud of his American Indian heritage, Bender resented the bigotry and the moniker he and nearly every other Indian ballplayer of the time received. ‘I do not want my name to be presented to the public as an Indian, but as a pitcher,’ he told Sporting Life in 1905.”***

Lord, forgive our assessments of another based on an kind of external measure. We have failed to see past our prejudices. We have failed to see Your gifts within those of a group deemed “unacceptable”. We write our brothers and sisters off before we even know them a little!?

There could be many causes for prejudice, and I do not pretend to know what the root causes were for discrimination for Ojibway people. I do not know what fears, in particular, there may be towards Ojibway men. I will only try to acknowledge to You things that are common roots of judgement. 

Lord, forgive us our stereotypes, past, present, and future of Native American men. Forgive our misbeliefs that may place us higher or lower, inferior or superior! We love and embrace our heritage, our cultural DNA, but we, like Bender, do not want to be limited by it. Will You free Minnesotans of our judgments of the Ojibway nation, and all first nations of our state? Conversely, will You free the Ojibway from their counter-judgments of all non-native nations and peoples that have, are, or will reside here? 

Lord, will You forgive us our vanity that comes through expertise? Often, we seem to be the most blind in the areas we excel. Perhaps it is because we invest so much in our areas of strength that we become less aware of our need of relationship with others, or Your Eternal Mind. Bender probably was the most hurt by the prejudice of those on his own team. Lord, we have betrayed those on our own team. Will You show us a new way? Will You give us your unshakable security, so that we do not need the accolades of our peers? Will You give us humility if they do not worship us or our achievements properly? 

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**The White Earth Tragedy: Ethnicity and Dispossession at a Minnesota Anishinaabe Reservation, 1889-1920 by Melissa L. Meyer (University of Nebraska Press, 1994)

***Swift, Tom.”Chief Bender.”Society for American Baseball Research.2013.Web.14Aug.2013. http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/03e80f4d

****Need to see the Chief’s statistics? http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bendech01.shtml

 

 

Standard
20th Century, baseball, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, omnipresent history, sports

Professional Baseball 1902: Minneapolis Millers and the St. Paul Saints

Unknown-1

images

1902

“The Minneapolis Millers and the St. Paul Saints join teams from six other Midwest cities to form the American Association. Baseball became the first professional sport in Minnesota back in the 1890’s.” * 

Thank You for this joining of teams to form the American Association! Specifically, thank You for the Millers and the Saints who saw the future benefit of this league. Thank You that we have enjoyed the freedom of association in this place for so long!

Thank You for the blessings of the sport of baseball: teamwork, diligent practice, exercise, and the fun and challenge of competition! Thank you for the comraderie grown here by the simple act of belonging to a team. Wow! That’s a big one! Every kid needs somewhere they belong, and to feel that they have something to contribute to the group!

Thank You that for the low entry cost of participation in baseball: a bat, a ball, and a glove. Thank You that success in this game is not dependent on physical attributes to the degree it is in other sports. Baseball players represent just about every body type: thick guys can hit the ball a mile, tall guys can stretch farther when they pitch, thin guys guy use their agility for fielding and stealing bases, etc. Thank You for the lack of contact in baseball, and the focus on sportsmanship and skill!

It is amazing to live in a place where a passion can become a career! These few teams believed in their sport enough to enable the dedicated to carve new occupations out of thin air. The notion of being paid to play a sport to the average Minnesotan three generations ago who lived and worked on a farm must have seemed new and strange.

May it always feel like a privilege to play professional baseball!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**Complete record of the Millers vs. the Saints 1902-1960. http://millers-saints.com

 

 

Standard