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Baseball in the Klondike




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I enjoy the history of baseball and that is why in the past I have written about Tom Custer and Wild Bill Hickok playing baseball.  Another story that is among the lesser known baseball games was played in Skagway during the height of the Gold Rush.  

The game was played on Independence day in 1901 and unlike the rest of the baseball world it was a team of black Buffalo Soldiers and White Railroad workers. 

The soldiers were assigned to this remote Alaskan wilderness to bring law and order where there was no law and certainly no order.  A man known as Corporal Green was the captain of the Company L Soldier nine and a man by the name of Phelps led the railroad workers. It was about bragging rights and a prize of $50 for first place and $25 for second.

Played near the Moore's sawmill there was beer from the Skagway Brewing Company and vendor of ice cream, lemonade, and milk.

In the stands were miners, railroad workers, prostitutes, gamblers, and soldiers.  It was a lively crowd and the game was a three hour affair (so much for short games) with umps from the townspeople who may or may not have known the rules.

The White Pass RR men wore blue trousers, black shirts and caps while the soldiers had numbered shirts, knickers, and striped socks.

In the end the RR men (umpires decisions or not) won the game 14 - 10 and the crowd was ecstatic.  That was baseball in the Klondike.

See the source imageBlack and white photo of nine men in three rows with baseball bats arranged in the foreground.Newspaper article reading, "Railroaders and Soldiers. The White Pass Baseball Club will play the first match game of the season for the Kirmse trophy, Sunday."



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Great story!  There is so much richness in the history of baseball to be mined.  More than any other sport, baseball's history is interwoven with the history of our country, I really enjoyed this posting.  Thank you.

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