Michael Rustad's Memories
Kittson County's Player of the Millenium
My earliest memories were going to baseball games on hotsummer evenings. My home town of Humboldt Minnesota had first rate baseballteams in the 1920s and 1930s. The entire town would follow the town baseballteam. The early teams featured the Diamondbrothers: Levi, Herb, and Ikey. LomasMatthews was another legendary track star and baseball player who hailedfrom Humboldt. Happy Chandler,later to become the baseball commissioner and Senator from Kentucky playedone summer for Humboldt. Another early legendary player from the Humboldtteam was Cal Farley who, like most of the other ball players on the 1910 team, was also interested intrack and wrestling and went on to form CalFarley's Boys Ranch in Texas. The U.S. Government honored him by printinga U.S. stamp named for him. The
During the late 1940s and early1950s, Humboldt had an excellenttraveling team.
My Dad played first base and my Uncle Burton Turner was a pitcher. Burton'sfather, Ernest Turner, was a legendary pitcher. Many of the stories of earlyHumboldt baseball are well documented on this web site. Who was the greatestplayer in Kittson County History? Some might say Ernie Turner, Happy Chandler,the Diamond boys, or Clarence Beck. We don't have videos and it is impossibleto compare players across the generations. My candidate for player of theMillenium for the County is Humboldt's own native son, Scott Matthew.
Scott Matthew was one of the fiercest competitors to playKittson County Basaeball. He was a legendary player at several positions.My Dad thought that one of the best players to ever play for Humboldt wasthe legendary pitcher, Scotty Matthew. Scott Matthew grew up in Humboldtand later lived in Kennedy. Scott Matthew played on a County Team into hislate 50s. The Crookston Paper notes that Scott and his son Daryl (were thepitcher and catcher) for the Lake Bronson Lakers' team of the mid 1970s.Daryl Matthew, a fraternity brother of mine from the University of NorthDakota, was an outstanding pitcher. Daryl was the pitcher and Scotty thecatcher. Ron Matthew, also a Delta Tau Delta brother, was shortstop forthe Lakers. The Crookston team beat the Lakers in the playoff 7-3. At age56, Scott legged an infield hit. The Reporter notes that: "Scott Matthew,who was involved in the Lakers' 6th inning flurry which had Campbell (Crookston'spticher) in trouble. Ron Matthew led Lake Bronson to a 1 to 0 shutout againstGreenbush. Double plays were carried out by Ron's brothers Daryl and Jon.Ron's oldest brother Jon stole home for the only run of the game. The Matthewsbaseball abilities run in the genetic code.
If Scott was a force in his mid to late 50s, he was evenmore dominant in earlier years. In 1956, Hallock won the Northwest BorderLeague playoff by beating Tolstoi Manitoba behind Scott's 4 hit game. JohnnyYounggren won the semi-final game against Lancaster, 11-8. Scott had a numberof no-hitters, one-hitters and shutouts in the Summer of 1956. Scott pitchedseveral no-hit games in the 1950's. No-hitters were pitched against Plummer,Red Lake Falls, and Fostton!
Scott Matthews played on numerous teams and there was alarge group of fans who followed every game. This was in the decade beforetelevision took hold. Minnesota did not have a major league franchise until1961 when the Washington Senators moved to the Twin Cities. Prior to theTwins and television, Kittson County baseball was a major source of entertainment.
Baseball games were held at the St. Vincent and HallockFairs as well as the traditional double-header at the Polish Picnic. TheKittson County All Stars frquently played teams from larger towns. The KittsonCounty All Stars shut out Grand Forks in a game held in Lancaster. On July28, 1951, for example, Kittson County beat the Manitoba All stars beforea Press Day Crowd of 1,500.
In the early 1950s, touring black baseball all-star teamsplayed Scott Matthews and his fellow All Stars. In an undated clipping,the headline is "Scott Matthew Shuts Out Warroad Team. "ScottMatthew, well known hurler from around these parts, has been throwing someof the best ball of his life. Not too long ago during the Kittson CountyFair, Scotty threw a beautiful game for the Kittson All Stars as they defeatedthe Colored House of David's baseball team.
Scott's Hallock Indian team split a double header withthe strong team from St. James of Winnipeg. The Minneapolis Tribune hada story on Kittson County baseball in the early 1950s. The article was entitled:"Hallock? Why, It's a 'Hot' State Basaeball Town." The story toldabout how my Dad's team composed of Humboldt-Emerson and Pembina playersfinally beat Scott's team. Scott Matthew played baseball long after he wasmarried and began his family. In the early 1950s, he was a depot agent whoplayed baseball professionally for a number of teams.
The Minneapolis Tribune story also mentions Dennis Matthews'cousin, Jerry Diamond, who played third base. The grandstand seated severalthousand and the baseball games drew big crowds seldom less than 750. In1952, Hallock beat Red Lake Falls for the Championship. Charlie Matthew,Earl Clow and Bill Carlson were stars on that team along with Pitcher EarlColeman.
Hallock baseball was promoted by Jerry Diamond who soldadvertising. In an appreciation game against Humboldt, Jerry arranged fora huge advertisement in the Enterprise. The large letters read: Falls Mandovs. Humboldt (Top Semi-Pro Team in N.W. Minnesota). My Dad was a memberof the Humboldt town team that played that day. The advertisement stated:Sunday, Sept. 7, 3 p.m. MANDOS VS. HUMBOLDT: The game was broadcast by radiostation CKFI of Crookston. The Dutch Room Grill offered awards of $100 fora triple play, $25 for a player with perfect batting, $20 for any pitcherwith 15 strikeouts and another $20 if any player hit 2 homers.
Scott continued his winning ways into the late 1950s. ScottMatthew and Darrell Bowman were the pitcher and catcher in a loss to Warroadat the end of the season. Kennedy's team that year was hampered becauseseveral of their regular players had pressing farm work and the harvestto attend to. Baseball was important, but not as important as getting thecrop harvested.
Beginning in the late 1950s, baseball began to fade inimportance. Scott Matthew, however, continued to excel. The 1957 team wasanother solid team for Hallock. Hallock again represented the district inthe regional meet at Warroad. Ronnie Curtis, Scott Matthew, Harley Younggren,Harris Johnson, Charlie Cederhold, Johnny Younggren, Neil Bengston, RichardNelson, Jerry Diamond, and Robert Holmggren
Scott played on the Kittson County all star team whichbeat Grafton in a no-hitter in 1957. Scott pitched 8 innings of no hit baseballand was relieved by Earl Coleman from Hallock who kept it a perfect game.The Kittson County-All Stars played the Crookston-All Stars at Lancaster.The undated newspaper report notes that "Scott Matthew of Humboldt,who has pitched professionally this year over a wide area in Manitoba, Dakotaand Minnesota, will be available as an All Star Pitcher." The KittsonCounty lineup against Crookston consisted of: catcher Elliot Hunter (Orleans),pitcher Scott Matthew (Humboldt); 1st base Clarence Beck (Lancaster) 2dbaseman Norby Solnes (Dominion City, Manitoba); 3rd base, Archie Sele (Bronson)left field, Willard Sele (Bronson) center field Boyd Nyflot (Bronson) andCharles Matthew, Humboldt, and Bob Bouvette (shared duties at right field).
As we approach the millenium, I would like to acknowledgethe boys of summer from Kittson County. In particular, I salute Scotty Matthew,my candidate for Kittson County Player of the Millenium. I would also beremiss in not honoring the memory of my father, Rustee Rustad, and UncleBurton Turner who played for one of the top semi-professional teams in N.W.Minnesota.
This summer I ran across an item in Scott Matthew's scrapbookwhich is now in the possession of the Kittson County Museum. The yellowedclipping was the obituary of Dennis Matthews' late father Lomas Matthews.Scott was a teammate of Lomas Matthews. The clipping notes that: "Lomaswas catching for the Donaldson team when the batter threw the bat strikingMr. Lomas on the side of his head." The Newspaper clipping noted thatMr. Matthews played another inning and then had to leave the game.. He wastaken to the hospital and died from a fractured skull. The clipping in Scott'sscrapbook notes that "Lomas Matthews was the only son of Mr. and Mrs.George D. (Ben) Matthews of Humboldt and 42 years old. The article goeson to say that he left two sons Deane, 18 years of age and Dennis 15. Iam certain that his father would be proud of how his son, Dennis Matthews,the webmaster of the Red River Valley site, honors his family with thisweb site. The obituary for Dennis' father read: Matthews was looked uponby railway men as a most capable and ambitious agent and had he lived nodoubt would have established considerable recognition.
was looked uponby railway men as a most capable and ambitious agent and had he lived nodoubt would have established considerable recognition.