Baseball in 1922 Jamestown
The Jamestown Jimkotans played against the Valley City Hi-Liners on May 18, 1922.
Minor league professional baseball came to Jamestown a century ago.
The Jamestown Jimkotans, a part of the Class D Dakota League, played their first game against the Valley City Hi-Liners on Thursday, May 18, in Jamestown.
The series continued with a game in Jamestown on Friday, May 19, before moving to Valley City for Saturday and Sunday games. Jamestown and Valley City were always considered friendly rivals in sports and this allowed hometown fans from both towns to see games on opening weekend.
A month before opening day, officials in Jamestown were scrambling to be ready for the first pitch.
What had been the old ballpark in Jamestown was relocated “several hundred feet west,” to its existing location. Workers moved the existing grandstand and made additions increasing seating from 450 people to about 1,400.
Workers also constructed a new diamond.
Plans for the new ballpark included a parking area for automobiles “a safe distance from the sidelines,” newspaper reports said.
Between the improved and expanded grandstands and the new diamond, “Jamestown will have one of the best as well as the most picturesque ball grounds in the Dakota League,” according to Mike Cantillon, president of the Dakota League.
Centillion was from Minneapolis but had come to Jamestown to advise the local park board on creating a first-rate minor league ballpark.
There were other things to do before the start of the season.
Uniforms were ordered for the team.
The Jimkotans took the diamond with dark gray uniforms with narrow green stripes. Caps and socks were also green and “a large dark green “J” will designate the Jamestown players, according to a 1922 Jamestown Alert article.
While radio and the internet were decades in the future, baseball fans of 1922 had a way to keep up with the team even when it was on the road.
Dakota League ballparks, including the one in Jamestown, had special Western Union Telegraph Co. stations that carried game reports to all the cities in the league.
In Jamestown, various businesses posted scoreboards that would be updated with the details of the Jimkotans’ game whether the team played in Jamestown or on the road in places like Aberdeen, Fargo or Sioux Falls.
In the modern world, you can get game scores nearly immediately simply by glancing at your phone.
A century ago, the same information was available nearly as quickly if you happened to be hanging around the right store or pool hall in Jamestown.
Author Keith Norman can be reached at www.KeithNormanBooks.com