Friday, August 12, 2011

New Historical Society Display at the Library

The Oliver Hotel Ball Park was built in 1895 and that same year Hibbing’s first baseball team was formed.  Some players at that time were Thomas Brady, Archie McFaden, Frank Shinner, Dick Griffin, Lee Quillan, Doc Lackey and Lester Sicard. 

By 1904 Thomas Brady, the village’s municipal judge, took over management of the team and they became known as Brady’s Colts. That year they won the Northern Minnesota Independent Team Championship and in 1906 they were the State Independent team champions.

Baseball and its intense popularity survived on the Iron Range until about 1925.  The decline in Hibbing was attributed to the increase in the number of automobiles.  Fans that formerly flocked to the ball park on Sunday, now were motoring to the area lakes.  Another factor was the decline in money available for governmental sources to help finance teams by giving the players well-paying jobs.

The Hibbing Historical Society currently has a display at the library with pictures of these early teams.  Also included in the display is a baseball autographed by Roger Maris.  Maris was born in Hibbing and lived here until he was ten years old.  He played for 12 seasons in Major League baseball, including seven World Series and three world championship teams.  In 1961 he broke Babe Ruth’s single season home run record by hitting 61 home runs.

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