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Sat, 08.11.1900

Integrated baseball team wins amateur title

EACO Mill baseball

*On this date in 1900 the Waseca, Minnesota amateur baseball team won the Minnesota title with a 9-2 win over Saint Paul. Sponsored by Waseca’s EACO Mill, this was the first non-professional integrated baseball team in Minnesota and perhaps America.

EACO Mill included three starting African-American players. Bob Foote (catcher), W. J. Armstrong managed the team, R.P. Ward was president; and L.W. Sterling was treasurer. They won the state amateur championship that centennial year. They played 57 games that season and won 42 of them. The team played the championship game that Summer Sunday in Lake Benton Minnesota with over 3,000 people from the small mill town coming over to see their guys win.

In 1901 the team reached the peak of its fame, winning the amateur titles in Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota. Yet the rivalry between Waseca and Litchfield that year made the state championship series the greatest attraction for the southern Minnesota area at the time. The owner of the Lexington Park in St. Paul was offered a percentage to stage the game in the park. They refused saying they couldn't afford to pay the ushers out of what they figured the gate would bring. So Waseca and Litchfield rented the grounds for a flat $50.00 to the everlasting regret of the St. Paul Management. Special trains were run and the game drew over 10,000 people. Waseca (with three starting African American players) beat Litchfield by that 9-2 score!

Pictured 1900, left to right in back row is Bob Foote (catcher), Theodore Snyder (right field), Bill Joiner (short stop), C.R. Wattles (first base), S. Foster (left field) and Bob Mackey (third base). Middle row: William Foster (center field), W.J. Armstrong (manager), William Veron (second base). Front row: William Brisbane (pitcher) and Ed Woods (pitcher). They played the best clubs in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, and even traveled to Chicago to play the Flandreau Indians and the Chicago Marquettes.

Reference:
the Waseca Historical Society,
PO Box 3014, 56093,
Margaret Simms.

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