I suppose it could have been considered the World Series of North Dakota when the squads from Bismarck and Jamestown matched up for one end-of-the-season series to crown the semi-pro baseball championship of North Dakota.
The series was such a big deal that Neil O. Churchill, manager of the Capital City baseball club, added extra seats to the ballpark in Bismarck expanding its capacity to 3,000 spectators.
Organizers even brought together a four-man umpiring crew with “Shipley and Poindexter of Bismarck and Posley and Danuser of Jamestown” officiating, according to the newspaper reports.
Best estimates from the media of the day indicate about 1,000 people from the Jamestown area took advantage of the special Northern Pacific Railroad train and its $1 round-trip ticket to attend.
Jamestown and Bismarck had split three games during the regular season. Jamestown had won the first game early in the year by a 1-0 score. Bismarck picked up a 3-2 win later in the season. In late August, the teams “battled 12 innings to a 1-1 draw,” according to the Bismarck Tribune.
The series began with a 6 p.m. Saturday game and was followed by late afternoon games on Sunday and Monday.
Both teams were considered semi-pro but not part of any major league team’s farm system. Both drew heavily on the Negro League players and the squads added players just for the big series.
The Bismarck Capital City pitching squad included Satchel Paige, Roosevelt Davis and Paul Schaefer. Paige went on to a career in the Major Leagues after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Jamestown pitching squad featured Willie Foster, recently acquired from the American Giants of Chicago of the Negro League, Barney “Lefty” Brown and Will Bill Freeman Foster is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Bismarck took an early lead in the Saturday game but Jamestown made a 3 run comeback in the final frame of the 7-inning game. The contest was left as a draw because of the evening start and the reality of an early September sunset in North Dakota.
Saturday was the big game with attendance placed at 4,000 people with many standing along the fence rather than in the bleachers. At the time, it was considered the largest crowd to attend an event in North Dakota history.
The two future Hall of Famers, Satchel Paige and Willie Foster, matched up. Paige struck out 5 while Foster fanned 10 although Paige walked four while Foster issued 10 free passes.
The game was tied at 2 at the end of 9 innings but Paige singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Bismarck won the final game of the series on Monday in big fashion. While the game was tied at 2 after three innings, Bismarck erupted for 9 runs over the next three frames and coasted to an 11-5 victory for the title as the best team in North Dakota baseball in 1933.
Foster left the Jamestown team shortly after the Bismarck series. On Sept. 10, 1933, he was the winning pitcher for the West Negro League Allstars in a game played at Comiskey Park in Chicago as part of the Chicago World’s Fair.
The attendance for that game was over 19,500 people.