20th Century, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, sports

Streetcar Double Headers

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.

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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.

1907 Spalding Guide - Hart - MPLS team

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;

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

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?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**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 Thornley. http://www.mnhs.org/mnhspress/books/st-paul-saints

 

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20th Century, Faith, History, horses, Minnesota, sports

Dan Patch Sets Record

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Sep 8, 1906
The great Dan Patch is the king of American harness racing. The big bay stallion, stabled in Savage, sets a record time for the mile at the State Fair in 1906 and lends his name to products and promotions.*

“Dan Patch’s official record of 1:55¼ for the pacing mile was set in 1905 in Lexington, Kentucky. His 1:55 unofficial record for the pacing mile was set in 1906 at the Minnesota State Fair, but not officially recognized because of the use of a prompter with a windshield. This record was tied 32 years later in 1938 when Billy Direct became the official 1:55 world record holder. Marion Savage was so indignant about Dan Patch’s 1:55 mark not being recognized (the rules having recently been changed) that he renamed the International Stock Food Farm in Savage to the International 1:55 Stock Food Farm. The 1:55 mark was equaled in following years, but was not broken until 1960, 54 years after Dan Patch’s run, when Adios Butler paced the first sub-1:55 mile in 1:54:3. Dan Patch’s fastest race mile was 1:58.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Patch

What a joy people must have felt on that day in 1906 as they watched Dan Patch break the world’s record for the mile! What was it like to witness all the stars lining up? What a rush to see horse, driver, and sulky (cart) perform flawlessly, all executing their purpose as one? You surely gave them a glimpse of Your triune nature; three facets of a personality operating in unity towards a divine purpose! (Is this what Freud attempted to portray in his model of the ID, ego, and superego? Our beings’ a reflection of the Trinity: conscious, unconscious, and the ‘I AM’?)

It is amazing to think of the impact that Dan Patch had on the state of Minnesota. He became an icon in harness racing! He represented the faith,persistence, and excellence of his owners and handlers in this training-intensive sport. Thank You, Lord, for the inspiration that this single horse race gave to Minnesota!

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Marion Savage

photo- http://www.danpatch.com

Today I wish to remember the plight of owner Marion Savage.** What a crushing blow to achieve a perfect race, and then have that achievement unrecognized by a change in the rules after the fact! Too often our society lives by the Golden Rule; those who have the gold make the rules.

Will You forgive Mr. Savage his righteous indignation, as You forgive those who may be responsible for stealing his record through parliamentary procedure? Will You heal his pain, and uproot how any bitterness from this event transferred to racing participants past, present, and future? Will You stop any heritage of injustice that branches from this questionable rules change in harness racing?

We perpetually wrestle with this question: why must we forgive when we are the ones who have been wronged? Christ, why did You say, “…Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,…”? Matthew 5:44 NIV Perhaps one answer is suggested by the man who famously wrote, “Gott ist tot.” (God is dead.) “The life of the enemy. Whoever lives for the sake of combating an enemy has an interest in the enemy’s staying alive.” Nietzsche

It appears that Your interest in forgiving, even when we have been wronged, is that we do not become prisoners to an offense made against us. You do not want us to carry the weight that hampers our personality, and even destroys our bodies with ulcers, cancers, and mental illness. Will You be our horse in the race; both now and forevermore?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**Please enjoy the “Dan Patch Historical Society”! http://www.danpatch.com/marion-w-savage.html

 

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20th Century, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, sports

Charles (Chief) Bender Makes Major League Debut

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Chief Bender

sabr.org

Apr 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?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**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/03

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

 

 

 

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20th Century, History, Jesus, Minnesota, Prayer, sports, Uncategorized

Professional Baseball 1902

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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 1890s. 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 1890s.*

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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 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!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**Complete record of the Millers vs. the Saints 1902-1960. http://millers-saints.com

 

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19th Century, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, sports

Softball Invented in Minneapolis 1895

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Minneapolis fireman Lewis Rober invented outdoor softball in 1895. Called kitten ball by Rober, who hand-made the leather balls himself. Rober was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 1996.*

What is significant about the invention of this game? What makes challenging another to a team sport appealing? Is it simply about getting some exercise? Jesus, guide my thoughts and heart this day. Help me bless and confess what may stem from the invention of kittenball.

Thank you for Lewis Rober, and his desire to organize a fun activity for his firemen. Waiting is fatiguing enough, let alone waiting for events that may involve risking one’s life. By inventing a kitten ball, bigger and softer than a baseball, he made a wonderful sport that occupied his firefighters, gave them exercise, and perhaps most importantly, took their minds off the incessant waiting for danger! Will You bless the heritage of Lewis Rober, of all who have, are, or will play the game he loved so much?

Next, it seems important to meditate on the nature of competitive sport. A challenge can be a fun test or a fight without weapons, therefore testing the character and heart of the players. Frequently, children are told to “be a good sport” in their games by parents who are quite inconsistent in modeling that same.

So, our kids go through this mental wrestling match: wanting the glory of winning vs. contentment in a game well-played. We see the benefit of them facing “fight or flight” challenges as a means of conditioning them for life’s tests, and building endurance and tenacity in adversity. We teach them to choose their attitude with phrases like, “it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.”

Yet, we often fail to see these same benefits on a cosmic scale. So often we judge Your character, and wonder: “Why would a Father send his son to die? Why would a G-d of love allow this natural disaster? Why do the rich fleece the poor, generation after generation? Why does an all-powerful being allow hunger, genocide, terrorism, and war?” It seems consistent with the theme that good parents sometimes allow their kids to experience the effects of the “bad sports”, without intervention, even though they have the ability to spare them.

It may seem like a jump, to go from kitten ball to genocide, but You are are the King of Quantum Leaps. You are before time, in time, and beyond time. You observed the exact moment, the exact decision, that led a benevolent ruler’s heart from leading all the people to choosing the tyranny that exists beyond the law. Yet, many times You have chosen not to intervene.

Why? Why should we be faced over and over throughout the span of time with the decision to hate our enemy, or love our enemy? Do You want us to shake hands with evil and say “Good game”? You box us in and force us to choose: “What will it be today, forgiveness or bitterness? What world do you want to create? Do you want to be a microcosm of division, or unity?”

Have mercy Lord! If we still haven’t learned to play softball, what will we do in the face of hardball! There is so little love in us for those that offend, disgrace, and injure us in small ways. What will we do in the face of the atrocities of this age? Give us enough love for this day! Give us grace that overcomes our opponent with a game well-played! Will You make us firefighters in our field today?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

** Take a peek at the birthplace of kittenball; the Minneapolis Fire Department? http://www.extraalarm.org/ltrober.htm

***Fire Station No. 19 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_Station_No._19_(Minneapolis,_Minnesota)

 

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