Bush: 1891 Duluth Whalebacks, packed with major league talent

From SABR member Anthony Bush at ZenithCity.com on January 17, 2013:

When Jay W. Anderson purchased half-ownership of the financially strapped St. Paul franchise of the Western Association and moved it to Duluth in the middle of the 1891 season, the Duluth Daily Tribune happily announced the return of professional baseball to the Zenith City after a three-year absence. Duluth that summer would enjoy watching 20 former and future major league players in the West End’s Recreation Park.

The announcement was made on June 8, and plans went into effect immediately to improve the grounds at the western end of the street railway line on Superior Street and 28th Avenue West for an anticipated first home game to be played in early July. “Some 20,000 feet of lumber is needed to fence in the grounds alone,” the newspaper reported. The ball park, dubbed Recreation Park, had a seating capacity of 5,000 and enough room to park 500 carriages.

But long before the field was prepared Anderson had primed the Twin Ports for the return of professional baseball by arranging Western Association teams to play at the head of the lakes. On May 10, over 7,000 people saw Minneapolis defeat Denver, 6–4, at Driving Park in West Superior, Wisconsin. A 10-car special train and two five-car regulars were “crowded full,” and ferries ran passengers and carriages across St. Louis Bay to accommodate the baseball-hungry Duluthians.

Read the full article here: http://zenithcity.com/the-1891-duluth-whalebacks-packed-with-major-league-talent/

Originally published: February 14, 2013. Last Updated: February 14, 2013.