A PORTRAIT OF A BASEBALL TEAM, 1910
"Strike three, you're out!" has been the callof baseball players for many years. Today the players that hear that cryare well-paid men with baseball as a career. Many years ago those that heardthat were ordinary men who thought of baseball as an exciting pastime.
The people at that time were a special kind of people.They didn't need expensive games to occupy their leisure time. Instead theypooled all of their available resources and completely enjoyed themselves.It was this vibrant, inventive spirit that produced baseball as the numberone entertainment.
Every player was an individual, and each came from a littledifferent atmosphere. They came close together to share their one commonlove, baseball. Working together in close teamwork, they got to know eachother's personalities; their goals in life.
There was no doubt in anyone's mind what they were goingto do Sunday afternoon. The team had tremendous support from their fans.In spite of all the work each family had to do when they got home, theyplayed baseball or maybe just watched, and never complained a minute. Itis hard to understand in this day and age how people could be so devotedto a game such as it was in the early 1900's. Earl Lang, a baseball playerhimself in days gone by, understands, "We played baseball for fun .. . because we liked it."
The Humboldt team was an ever-changing group of people.New families moved in, others moved on and interests changed, but whoeverwas on the team was completely involved for the season. This particularteam was together for one season.
Vic Clow, the manager, was a Prince Edward Islander. Itis a wonder that he ever had time to manage a ball team. The only feasiblereason is that his customers were just as taken up with baseball as he was.Vic managed the Farmer's Store, had a garage and worked part-time as a JohnDeere Implement dealer with his father. The love of baseball must have beenvery strong in this man because he gave up many hours of his free time toorganize and manage the community's chief entertainment.
Lefty Jenkins was one of the best left-handed pitchersthat ever worked in a bank. He was a farm boy who worked hard and playedball hard. Lefty first worked in the Humboldt bank and then, keeping upthe money game, moved to Hallock and worked in the bank there.
Even carpenters had sons who dreamed baseball. Red Cameron'sfather was a very successful man who had a large crew of men working forhim. He built many of the homes and farm buildings in this area in the early1900's.
Earl Turner was a Scotch-English farm boy and accordingto his brother, Ernest, 'one of the best catchers this side of the moon!'The ball club considered Earl an asset to their team because they didn'thave to spend money for a backstop! He could make the ball fly fast andstraight for a good share of the points earned. Earl worked at Libby, Montanain a saw mill.
Left-fielder, Muskie Bouvette, came from Pembina. He wasquick which more than likely accounted for many of the other team's outs.Muskie was of French descent.
A Prince Edward Islander who later became a very respectabledoctor in California, started out life as a Red River farm boy, and RedRiver farm boys made good ball players. Harvey Maxwell was a reliable personand the team depended on him. His father, besides farming, was a contractorwho helped build the Soo Railroad through the Valley.
Ed McVean loved sports of all kinds. He played hockey verywell and later in life owned a large service station and garage in Hallock.His father, who was just as Scotch as Ed, was a banker at Hallock.
George Easter had a short life that filled with experience.He played baseball, worked at many jobs and finally went into the serviceduring World War I. When in France, he caught the flu bug, which was fatal.George was buried in France.
Lawrence Diamond, also known as Joe, was the Standard Oilagent at Humboldt. To deliver fuel, he used a light wagon with a team ofhorses. Joe was also an Islander.
Eli and Fred Gooselaw were of French descent. Fred barberedat Humboldt and had a reputation for being just as nice as hi looked. Fredand Eli were tremendous ball players and with another cousin of their, madea team that was awfully hard to beat.
Perhaps the man that became the best known was Cal Farley.Cal was, like all the rest of the ball players, a great man for all kindsof sports. Foot racing, wrestling and baseball were his favorites. Cal hada very interesting life, in that he was all over the world and met all kindsof people. During the First World War he was in France with the AmericanExpeditionary Forces as an Instructor. While there he taught the men wrestlingand baseball. Back in the states he became well known as a welterweightwrestler. Cal moved to Texas from the Valley and joined a baseball leaguebut soon had to drop out because the gate receipts were short. After otherinteresting experiences, he bought and rejuvenated the now famous Boy'sRanch in Amarillo, Texas.
Cal was second baseman for the Humboldt team. When ErnestTurner was pitching and had two strikes on the batter, he would yell, 'givehim the old dark one, Ernie!'
After the season was over, each went his own ways. Someon to more ball, some to make their way of life, and still others to untoldadventures. Each would take their special memories of that wonderful ballteam with them, using their new-found friendships and ideas to help builda better life. Yes, it was a stepping stone in their lives. A stepping stonebecause it proved that money didn't mean everything and most of all becauseit developed a sense of cooperation and appreciation. There was a littlegive and take in each play. And they gave up precious time, time that couldhave been spent doing many other things. Baseball was truly their life,but it was a life they all loved.
Mr. and Mrs. Earl Lang. Interview, December 31, 1970
Mr. Ernest Turner, Interview, various
The original essay was reproduced for the Red River ValleyWebsite by
Dennis L. Matthews
original essay was reproduced for the Red River ValleyWebsite by
Dennis L. Matthews