Iowa-South Dakota League



The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (now known as "Minor League Baseball"), was organized when presidents of seven minor leagues met in Chicago on Sept. 5, 1901, and established rules of operation that generally have remained through history. One of the original 14 leagues, that began play in 1902, was the class "D" Iowa-South Dakota League. Two cities from South Dakota were included - Sioux Falls and Flandreau. Thus, for the first time, "organized" professional baseball was played in the state.

According to the Jan. 21, 1902, edition of the "LeMars Semi-Weekly Post", the league's first vote was not to join the association. Although their membership would have allowed the teams to retain ownership of players for the season, a majority of the club owners felt that since the American Association was not an association member, that league's clubs would raid the Iowa-S.D. League weather or not they were members of the National Association. Also, during the January meeting, National League rules (to insure snapper games) and the "Victor" baseball were adopted for use during the season.

In addition, it was reported that Sioux Falls and Rock Rapids "were having problems" (apparently securing the rights) regarding two players - Fred Crisch and Harry Swalm. In April, Rock Rapids dropped their claim to Carash who went to play in Sioux Falls [he broke a finger in early August] and the major leagues.

Also, before the season, the clubs debated how gate receipts should be divided. Sioux Falls and Sioux City wanted to retain 60% of their Sunday home game receipts and the three smaller cities - Sheldon, LeMars and Rock Rapids - wanted an even share. Regarding the choosing of a league president, Sioux Falls and Sioux City wanted W.E. Lockhart of Sioux City and the other three wanted Frank Koob of LeMars because they did not want the big cities to dominate the league. Flandeau cast it's vote with the smaller cities to avoid a tie. After the vote, Sioux City left the meeting and threatened to leave the league, Sioux Falls followed and Flandreau (who was dependant on Sioux Falls' support) also walked out. At that point, the remaining Iowa cities were left with trying to organize just an Iowa League.

However, by April, the six cities were again in harmony and Lockhart was the president with Joe Morton selected as secretary and treasurer. . The National Association sent Lockhart an invitation to join them and he was reportedly "honored". The association limited class "D" teams to a total salary limit of $900 per month (the league had originally set $1,000 as the limit). The schedule was announced to run from May 27 to Sept. 15. Flandreau stated that they could not start play until June 20 and the other club representatives agreed to give them a .500 record when they did began. Each team agreed to a $300 guarantee and to place $30 into a "sinking fund".

As of the 1900 census, Sioux Falls had a population of 10,266 and there were 23,926 in Minnehaha County (Sioux Falls was it's county seat). Flandreau was not actually incorporated until 1902, but the surrounding Moody County claimed 8,326 residents. Sioux Falls is located in the southeast corner of South Dakota and Flandreau is about 50 miles north of the city.

The Iowa cities involved were: LeMars (4,146 population/22,209 in Plymouth County); Sheldon (2,282/16,985 in O'Brien County); Sioux City (33,111/54,610 in Woodbury County); Rock Rapids (1,766/13,165 in Lyon County). It is known that Sheldon and Rock Rapids were rail centers, so it is assumed that trains were the most common mode of transportation between the league cities.

1902 Season

In July, the aforementioned LeMars newspaper reported that league secretary Joe Morton resigned and that he had not been computing the league's individual player statistics. It was left to the new secretary to do so although, since none survived, perhaps no individual stats were ever kept in '02. Sioux Falls banker W.L. Baker replaced Morton as treasurer.

In an another example of the league's less-then-sterling statistical retention abilities, it was reported in July that two league games had been played with no apparent records kept. All that was reported was that Sheldon and Rock Rapids played the contests in Brookings, SD, and another location whose name could not be determined from the poor newspaper copy. [The league apparently played a number of games in "neutral" cities such as Watertown, SD.]


Standings on July 3:

Sioux Falls 23-5

Sioux City 16-13

Rock Rapids 14-14

Flandreau 14-16

Le Mars 13-15

Sheldon 4-21


Standings on July 18:

Sioux Falls 30-10

Sioux City 25-17

Flandreau 24-17

Rock Rapids 19-20

Le Mars 16-25

Sheldon 7-32


The August 1 edition of the Le Mars newspaper indicated that players of a Winnipeg team were being divided between teams in the Iowa-So. Dak League. The only known pro team from Winnipeg in 1902 was in the Northern League which may have ended play by the end of July. In any case, the club was to be evenly divided between the two teams at the bottom of the Iowa-South Dakota League standings - Sheldon and Rock Rapids. There is no evidence that any distribution of Northern League players ever occurred.

The animosity between the league's small and large cities was epitomized by a Aug. 12, 1902, LeMars newspaper article (regarding an attempt by Sioux City to obtain a franchise in the Western League) stating: "This mention has swollen the Sioux City people to such an extent that they hardly know each other and, D.E. Kerby, of the Sioux City club, is quoted as saying 'We want to get in a big league next year and we expect to succeed.' Sioux City has been sorely disappointed because it has not been able to outclass the other teams in the Iowa-South Dakota League. Sioux City evidently thought that it would be easy enough to take the first place in the bush [a common reference used in local newspapers - apparently not meant to be negative] league and hold it. The [Sioux City] Journal this morning says 'It has been known for some time that Sioux City baseball magnates have been dissatisfied with the workings of the Iowa-South Dakota league.' Of course they have been dissatisfied because they could not win the games. They certainly had nothing else to be dissatisfied over as they have acted the swine in every instance where they had a chance. They have been willing to hurt any of the other clubs in the league for a few dollars in the treasury of their club. The other teams in this league will be perfectly willing to get rid of Sioux City."

During a game in mid-August, the umpires of record were "Bantz" and "Tredway" (apparently pitchers from both teams). In the first inning, Bantz called a play which "raised a storm of dissatisfaction" and the LeMars captain Jack Messerly asked Bobby Black, who was watching the game in the grandstand, to replace Bantz. He did so "in a satisfactory manner".

Black had retired earlier in the month as a player for Sioux City to "attend to his business affairs" (a bowling alley in LeMars). He originally attempted to quit during the first month of the season but was persuaded to remain until mid-August. According to the LeMars newspaper, he was one of the oldest players in the area having played on Sioux City teams of the Western League in the early 1890s. He then moved to LeMars and was the captain and first baseman of amateur teams in the city. At the beginning of the Iowa-South Dakota's 1902 season, Black was "captain" (title apparently similar to "manager") for the Le Mars club. Early in the season, LeMars traded him to Sioux City for Arthur Bruyette and "Frazer".


Standings on Aug 12 (start of the second half of the season had begun):

Sioux Falls 8-2

Sioux City 7-2

Flandreau 6-3

Rock Rapids 3-7

Le Mars 3-7

Sheldon 1-7


In the September 12 edition of "The LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel" it was reported that during a game at Sheldon v. LeMars the home fans became irate with a decision by umpire Harry Burrell [a former major leaguer] and went on the field to challenge him and the other ump "Moser". Players protected both umpires and the Sheldon manager pacified the crowd.

Other umpires mentioned in newspaper accounts were (no first names given): Needham, Koob (Frank?), Buchanan (probably a Le Mars pitcher), Hurst (a Sioux Falls pitcher), C.L. Nixon (who resigned in early August), Hutter, Nicholson and Flynn.


Standings on Sept 12:

Flandreau 26-7

Sioux Falls 25-10

Sioux City 21-19

Le Mars 19-19

Sheldon 8-22

Rock Rapids 7-26


By the end of the season, LeMars was charging 25 cents for grandstand seats and announced that they had not broken even financially ("somewhat in the hole"). Attendance throughout the season was "small" particularly early in the year. The local newspaper also reported that there was dissatisfaction on the team during the first half of the year, but attitudes had gotten better in the second half. "The players have always behaved like gentlemen on the ball field and up town. It is regrettable to state that was not borne by all the bush league players."

In the Sept. 23 edition of the LeMars newspaper an article indicated that all of the league teams except Sioux City lost money during the season. Sioux City claimed to have made $2,500, Sioux Falls and Fandreau apparently lost a little, Sheldon lost $3,000, Rock Rapids lost more then $3,000 and LeMars was in red ink a few hundred. According to the writer: "The bush league paid better salaries on the average then the Three-I League and put up better ball."

The league cities played between 70 and 96 games. The low number was by Flandreau who started late and was rewarded a 9-9 record for their missing games.

The batting champion was John Dorman of Flandreau who hit .314 and the most runs were scored by Moose Baxter of Sioux City (63). The pitching leaders were Harry Swalm (Sioux Falls) who finished with 23 wins and Jack Corbett (also Sioux Falls) who had a 15-2 to lead in winning percentage. No other batting records survived as only some fielding marks were kept for posterity. The only pitching records recorded with win-loss records.

The final complete season standings:

W L Pct. GB Manager

Sioux Falls Canaries 65 24 .730 - Ed Craig

Flandreau Indians 51 19 .729 4.5

Sioux City Cornhuskers 56 40 .583 12.5 Ed Kirby

LeMars Black(or Jay)birds 43 48 .473 23 Bob Black, Jack Messerly

Rock Rapid Browns 32 59 .352 34

Sheldon 14 71 .165 49

The league had a split season with Sioux Falls winning the first half and Flandreau the second. There was no playoff between the two clubs because Flandreau could not hold their team together long enough for games to be played as two of their players had to enroll in college and another had football coaching duties at Princeton to attend to.

In order to attempt to analyze just how good the players were in the league, the following is Sioux Falls' lineup including each player's past and future pro experience:

C Fred Carisch; played for 16 years; MLB was his highest level; .262 career minor league average

C Elmer Pierce; 9 yrs; "A"; .231

1b Bill Zink; 13 yrs; "A"; .274

2b Robert Warner; 7 yrs; "B"; .252

3b Clyde Williams; 9 yrs; "A"; ..238

SS William Annis ; 10 years; "B"; .236

OF Ben Davis; 10 yrs; "B"; .240

OF Billy Disch; 7 yrs; "C"; .256

OF James Hoy; 5 yrs; "B"; .260

P John Hurst; 2 yrs; "D"; 20-14

P Harry Swalm; 8 yrs;"B"; 81-48

P Ted Chapleskie; 1 yr; "D"; 15-2

There was good player longevity by the position players and, remembering that class "A" was the highest minor league level during the first decade of the 20th Century, four of 12 regulars reached that level or the majors.

Let's look at the worst team in the league - Sheldon:

C W. Casibone; 1 yr; "D" ?

1b Dan Cameron; 2 yrs; "D"; ?

2b H. Casibone; 1 yr; "D"; ?

3b Frank Quigley; 11 yrs; "A"; .233

SS: Anthony Fremer; 14 yrs; "A"; .287

OF-P Oscar Bandelin; 7 yrs; "A"; .313/37-40

OF J. McCoy; 2 yrs; "D"; .301

OF John Pollock; 3 yrs; "B"; .222

OF Fred Pilcher; 1 yr; "D"; ?

P Frerdinand Jarrott; 7 yrs; "A"; 54-64

P John Morrison; 2 yrs; "C"; 22-29

P H. Moser; 2 yrs; "D"; 2-2

P - Leatherby; 1 yr; "D"; 2-12

Only three of thirteen players reached class "A" and only four played five years or more.

Throughout the league in 1902, ten performers reached the major leagues. Mini-bios on those players are as follows:

Moose Baxter

John Morris Baxter was born on July 27, 1876, in Chippewa Falls, WI. He played 91 games for Sioux City in 1902 as a second baseman.

Baxter played for class "A" teams in Oakland, Milwaukee and Portland in 1903-04 and after a short stay in the majors in 1907, played through the 1910 season in lower minor league classifications. He accumulated at least 2,491 at bats and a .245 average in 757 minor league games playing at second, third and first bases.

His one chance in the majors came in early 1907 when he was in 6 games with the Cardinals going 4-for-21 (.190) as a first baseman. He fielded .921.

After baseball, Baxter entered the hotel business in Aberdeen, WA. He died on August 7, 1926, at a hospital in Portland and was buried at the Greenwood Memorial Terrace in Spokane.

George Bristow

George T. Bristow was born in Paw Paw, IL, on May 18, 1870. He played a few games for Le Mars in 1902 and in the minors in 1894-96, 1900 and 1902-06. George batted .260 in at least 480 games with at least 1,780 at bats. He also pitched in 53 games compiling a 21-25 record.

In 1895, Bristow was a pitcher and captain for the Texas-Southern League's Galveston Sandcrabs. He won 23 consecutive games that year, breaking Jack Luby's then-record of twenty.

Bristow played in the class "A" Atlantic League in 1896; Portland, Salt Lake and Helena in the PNAL in 1903, Spokane (PNAL) during the '04 season and also, that year, for the PCL Seattle club. During his minor league days, he played at shortstop, second, third, outfield and as a pitcher with a .901 fielding mark.

His major league opportunities came in three games for Cleveland (NL) in 1899 when he was 1-for-8 with a 1.000 fielding percentage as an outfielder. He made his major league debut on April 15 against Cy Young and went hitless. On April 21, he sprained his ankle and had to leave the game. Bristow's third appearance was on May 8, when he replaced an ejected player and doubled for his first and only major league hit. Later that month, he was sent to the Western League.

Bristow died on October 17, 1939, in Bellingham, WA, and was buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery there.

Jim Buchanan

James Forrest Buchanan was born on July 1, 1876, in Chatham Hill, VA. He pitched for the 1902 LeMars club and in the minors from 1902-1909 and 1911 for at least 242 games and a 115-125 record. Jim was at class "A" in 1904 for Oakland (PCL); 1906 for Nashville (SoAtl) and St. Paul (AA); at Little Rock (SoAtl) in 1907-09 and with Topeka (WL) in 1911.

His only major league season was in 1905 for the Browns where he was in 22 games (15 starts) for 141 innings allowing 149 hits and 27 walks while striking out 54. Jim's record was 5-9 with a 3.50 ERA, .272 OAV and .309 OOB. He led the league with two saves.

Buchanan became a farmer near Randolph, NE, and died at age 72, on June 15, 1949, at a hospital in Norfolk, NE, after becoming ill the night before. Burial was at the Randolph Cemetery.

Fred Carisch

Frederick Behlmer Carisch was born in Fountain City, WI on November 14, 1881. He caught for the Sioux Falls club in 1902 and in the minors in 1901-04, 1906, 1908-12, 1915 and 1921 appearing in at least 828 games with 2,462 at bats batting .262. Fred played in class "A" in 1901 (Western), 1904, 1906 and 1908 (EL), 1909-12 (AA) and 1915 (PCL).

He managed the Sioux Falls Soos, of the Dakota Leagues, from 1920-1922 and played for them in 1920 (.274), 1921 (.297) and 1922 (.309).

From 1903-1906, Carisch made appearances in the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a catcher. He played in 5, 37, 32, and 4 games during those years with 18, 125, 107 and 12 at bats. His batting averages were .333, .248, .206 and .083.

He did not return to the majors until 1912-1914 when he was a back-up catcher for the Cleveland Indians playing in 24, 82 and 40 games with .275, .216 and .216 averages with .286, .287 and .298 OAVs. His last appearances as a major leaguer came in 1923 for the Detroit Tigers when he appeared in 2 games without an at bat.

In his eight partial major league seasons, Carisch hit .227 in 226 games with 655 at bats. The right handed batter hit one home run, had a .280 career OAV and slugging % of ..285. He caught in 202 games and played first base in 14 more compiling a fielding % (including both positions) of .968.

Carisch was a major league coach with the Tigers in 1923-1924. For 20 years, after baseball, he sold large trucks for the White Truck Company. He died from heart disease on April 19, 1977, at the Alderwood Manor Covenant Hospital in San Gabriel, CA and was cremated.

Bill Carney was born on March 25, 1874, in St. Paul, MN. He played for Flandreau in 1902 and in the minors in 1895, 1897-98, 1900, 1902-04 and 1907-11 for at least 716 games with 2,511 at bats hitting .285. He was in "A" ball in 1895, 1897-98 (Western) and 1903 (PNAL).

Carney's stay in the big leagues was only two games in 1904 for the Cubs when he was 0-for-7 with one walk as an outfielder. Those two games were a double header on August 22.

According to his obit, Bill stayed in baseball as a National League umpire, however, his name is not included in the umpire lists shown in "Total Baseball" - sixth edition. Later he was a deputy sheriff in Hennepin County (MN) and a game warden. He died from heart disease in Hopkins, MN, on July 31, 1938, and was buried at Grand View Park Cemetery there.

Homer Hillebrand

Homer Hiller Henry Hillebrand was born on Oct. 10, 1879, in Freeport, IL. He played for Flandreau as a catcher in 1902 and also played minor league ball in 1903. In total, he played in at least 123 ML games and had 224 at bats batting .321. He played at class "A" in 1903 for Oakland (PCL) as an outfielder and L.A. (PNAL) as a catcher. He also attended college and played at Princeton. There is no minor league pitching record shown for him.

A teammate in the minors in 1902-03 was his brother, Arthur, who also went to Princeton. Arthur apparently refused to play in the major leagues. A 1905 article in "Sporting Life" indicated that Arthur was the oldest Hillebrand son and Homer the youngest, but did not specify any others. Arthur is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame under the name Art "Doc" Hillebrand and he was considered a very good college pitcher.

[An article in a 1903 "Sporting Life" referred to Homer as "Holmes".]

In 1905, Homer played 39 games for the Pirates hitting .236 with a .282 OBP and .300 slugging in 110 at bats. That year he performed at first base in 18 games, as a pitcher in 10, outfielder in 7 and a catcher in 3. His pitching record was 5-2 in 10 games (6 starts) as he completed 61 innings allowing 43 hits and 19 walks while striking out 37. Hillebrand's ERA was 2.82 with a .198 OAV.

In 1906 and 1908 he was in 7 and one game(s) batting 5-for-21 and 0-for-1 as a pitcher. His '06 hurling record was 3-2 with 5 starts and 53 innings as he allowed 42 hits and 21 walks with 32 strikeouts. He had a 2.21 ERA and .220 OAV. In his only appearance in '08, he lasted only one inning giving up a hit and no runs.

In total, he batted .237 with his 131 MLB at bats and fielded perfectly. As a pitcher, he was in 18 games completing 115 innings allowing 86 hits and 40 walks with 70 strikeouts. His ERA was 2.51 and his OAV was .209.

It is assumed he did not continue with he baseball career because he felt that he had better things to do as his performance certainly didn't merit retirement.

After baseball, he became a farmer for the next 65 years. He died from a heart attack at Lakeview Hospital in Lake Elsinore, CA, on Jan. 20, 1974. Burial was at Elsinore Valley Cemetery in Lake Elsinore.

Pete Lister

Morris Elmer Lister was born in Savanna, IL, on July 21, 1881. He played for LeMars in 1902 and in minors from 1902-1916 for 1,723 games with at least 5,828 at bats hitting .263 as a first baseman. Lister was at class "A" in 1906-08 (PCL and SoAtl) and in 1910-11 (SoAtl).

His only big league chances came in September 1907 for Cleveland (AL) when he played firstbase for 22 games and had 65 at bats with a .277 average, .319 OBP and .308 slugging. He fielded .974.

From 1914-16, he managed at class "B" in the triple-I League. His death was on Feb. 27, 1947, in St. Petersburg, FL. He was buried at Chippiannock Cemetery in Rock Island, IL.

Bill Moriarty

William Joseph Moriarty was born in August 1883 in Chicago. He played for Sioux City as a third baseman in 1902 and in the minors from 1902 and 1905-12 with at least 698 games and 2,287 at bats hitting .262 playing third and shortstop. He also managed at class "D" in 1905-06.

Bill played at class "A" in 1907 (PCL), 1909 (AA) and 1910 (WL and AA).

Moriarty got into six major league games early in the 1909 season for the Cubs. He played shortstop going 4-for-20 at the plate with one double. As a fielder, his FA was .944. His brother, George, played in the majors from 1903-04, 1906-16 in 1,076 games as generally an infielder.

He died on Dec. 25, 1916, at the Elgin State Hospital in Elgin, IL from "general paralysis of the insane due to syphilis". Burial was at the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Chicago.

Peaches O'Neill

Phillip Bernard O'Neill was born in Anderson, IN, on Aug. 30, 1879. He played for LeMars as a catcher in 1902 and in the minors from 1902-03 in class "D" and "B" in 165 games with at least 359 at bats batting .209. Peaches also managed in his home town of Anderson (class "C") in 1906.

Even though he had a very short career, he did appear in eight games for the Reds in 1904. He went 4-for-15 and fielded at a .900 pace with five games at catcher and one at first base.

O'Neill became the baseball coach at Indiana U. for one year and then was a lawyer in Anderson for 40 years (graduated from Notre Dame). He also served two terms as the city attorney. Peaches died after a illness of several weeks on Aug. 2, 1955, at St. John's Hospital in Anderson. He was buried there at the East Maplewood Cemetery.

Babe Towne

Jay King Towne was born on March 12, 1880, in Coon Rapids, IA. He was a first baseman with Rock Rapids in 1902 and played minor league ball in 1902-07, 1909-12. 1914 and 1916 for at least 864 games and 2,463 at bats with a .303 average as a catcher/first baseman. Towne played at class "A" from 1903-05 (WL); 1905 (AA); 1906 (WL); 1909-12 (WL). He also managed in class "A" in 1910-11 and class "D" in 1914-16. He probably did not play in 1908 due to injuries (as per "Sporting Life", July 4, 1908).

His major league experience came in August-September 1906 for Chicago (AL). He was in 14 games and had 36 at bats for a .278 average with a .395 OBP and .278 slugging. As a catcher in 13 contests, his fielding mark was .923. Babe also had a pinch hitting attempt in the 1906 World Series. He got his chance in the bigs due to injuries to the White Sox two front-line catchers.

Reportly, in 1909, he sold his pool and billiard parlors in Coon Rapids because he could not properly run them and play baseball too. That year he bought a half-interest in the Sioux City minor league team.

Towne died on Oct. 29, 1938, from a heart attack while setting in his car in the business district of Des Moines, IA. Burial was at the Riverside Cemetery in Spencer, IA.

The following is a list of known players during the 1902 season:

Player and Club Games Position
Alberts, Robert, Le Mars [home: Chicago] 75 2b
Annis, William, Sioux Falls 79 SS
Bandelin, Oscar, Sheldon OF-P
Bantz, Ernie, Le Mars P
Baxter, Moose, Sioux City 91 2b
Bennett, None, Sheldon- Sioux Falls 35 OF
Black, Bobby, Le Mars-Sioux City [home: Le Mars] 75 OF
Bristow, George, Le Mars Inf
Bruggeman, Frank, Sioux City 79 OF
Bruyette, Arthur, Le Mars-Sioux City [home: Minneapolis] 76 SS
Bublits, Fred, Sioux City 32 P
Buchanan, Jim, Le Mars 32 P
Burns, J, Sheldon 34 OF
Cameron, Dan, Sheldon 32 1b
Carisch, Fred, Sioux Falls 78 C
Carney, Bill, Flandreau 26 OF
Casibone, H, Sheldon 21 2b
Casibone, W, Sheldon 23 C
Chapleskie, Theodore, Sioux Falls 29 P
Davis, Ben, Sioux Falls 43 OF
Davis, Clinton, Rock Rapids 24 P
Davis, W, Sioux Falls 29 P
Deller, Phil, Rock Rapids 16 P
Disch, Billy, Sioux Falls [born: Benton County, MO] 74 OF
Dorman, John, Flandreau SS
Duncan, None, Flandreau-Rock Rapids 33 C
Durkee, Earl, Sioux City 71 SS
Eastman, Chris, Le Mars 55 P
Egan, Edward, Rock Rapids 18 3b
Freeman, "Bricktop", Sioux City P
Fremer, Anthony, Sheldon 31 SS
Greene, None, Rock Rapids 86 2b
Greene, None, Flandreau 39 C
Heder, None, Le Mars 18 -
Hillebrand, Arthur, Flandreau 61 OF
Hillebrand, Homer, Flandreau 64 C
Hopkins, None, Rock Rapids P
Householder, William, Rock Rapids 74 OF
Hoy, James, Sioux Falls 77 OF
Hurst, John, Sioux Falls 36 P
Hutchinson, Ralph, Flandreau 66 3b
Hutter, Amos, Le Mars [home: Canton, OH] 81 OF
Jamison, F, Sioux City 77 C
Jarrott, Ferdinand, Sheldon 34 P
Johnson, H, Sioux City 41 P
Jones, None, Flandreau 42 1b
Keas, George, Rock Rapids 39 3b
Kennedy, None, Rock Rapids-Sioux City 29 OF
Klock, George, Rock Rapids 31 3b
Lange, Fred, Le Mars [home: Carroll, IA] 71 1b, OF, P
Leatherby, None, Sheldon 15 P
Lidders, None, Le Mars 17 P
Lister, Pete, Le Mars [home: Savannah, IL] 84 3b
Lohr, Frank, Sioux City

Matthews, None, Rock Rapids





McCoy, J, Sheldon 18 OF
McGrau, None, Rock Rapids 17 SS
McKenzie, John, Flandreau 54 OF
Messerly, Jack, Sioux City 86 1b
Metcalf, James, Rock Rapids 1b
Moriarty, Bill, Sioux City 65 3b
Morrison, John, Sheldon 25 P
Moser, H, Sheldon 16 P
Murphy, John, Rock Rapids 28 P
Nist, Ed, Le Mars 27 C
Notman, None, Flandreau 64 -
O'Neill, Peaches, Le Mars [home: Anderson, IN] 62 C
Page, John, Sioux City 29 OF
Pierce, Elmer, Sioux Falls C
Pilcher, Fred, Sheldon 79 OF
Pollock, John, Sheldon 59 OF
Quigley, Frank, Sheldon 26 3b
Reese, None, Rock Rapids

Shannon, None, Le Mars





Shelafo, None, Rock Rapids-Sheldon-Sioux Falls 48 3b
Snooks, James, Rock Rapids 16 C
Snyder, Scott, Rock Rapids 78 OF
Snyder, Van, Rock Rapids-Sheldon 81 OF
Spencer, Frank, Le Mars-Sioux City-Sioux Falls [home: Seattle] 56 OF
Stearns, Daniel, Flandreau 48 2b
Swaim, Arthur, Flandreau 34 P
Swalm, Harry, Sioux Falls 34 P
Towne, Babe, Rock Rapids 86 1b
Treadway, Win, Sioux City 35 P
Tree, Burt, Le Mars [home: Brookings, SD] 77 OF
Trobough, Del, Rock Rapids 67 SS
Warner, Robert, Sioux Falls 81 2b
White, Charles, Rock Rapids-Sheldon 47 C
White, Gordon, Le Mars-Sheldon 29 C
Williams, Clyde, Sioux Falls [born: Shelby County, IA] 79 3b
Wilson, None, Flandreau

Young, None, Le Mars





Zink, Bill, Sioux Falls 85 1b

Only pitcher's win-loss records survived:

Player and Club W L
Bantz, Ernie, Le Mars [home: Otterville, IA]

Brittson, None, Flandreau


record unknown

Bublits, Fred, Sioux City 15 8
Buchanan, Jim, Le Mars [home: Orchard, NE] 11 8
Chapleskie, Theodore, Sioux Falls

Corbett, None, Sioux Falls


record unknown

Davis, Clinton, Rock Rapids 6 16
Davis, W, Sioux Falls 14 6
Deller, Phil, Rock Rapids [born: St. Paul, MN] 3 9
Eastman, Chris, Le Mars 15 14
Freeman, None, Sioux City [home: Flandreau] 5 7
Hillebrand, Arthur, Flandreau 20 5
Hopkins, None, Rock Rapids 7 5
Hurst, John, Sioux Falls

Hutter, None, Le Mars


record unknown

Jarrott, Ferdinand, Sheldon 4 19
Johnson, H, Sioux City 20 8
Leatherby, None, Sheldon 2 12
Lidders, None, Le Mars

McKenzie, None, Flandreau


record unknown

Morrison, John, Sheldon 5 20
Murphy, John, Rock Rapids 11 11
Swaim, Arthur, Flandreau [born: West Chester, OH] 14 3
Swalm, Harry, Sioux Falls 23 5
Treadway, Win, Sioux City 14 14

1903 Season

In a May organizational meeting, Sioux Falls was represented by C.H. Craig, LeMars by Bobby Black, Sioux City by Dr. George B. Wood, Charles Hughson and Frank E. Lohr. Sheldon did not send a representative and Flandreau and Rock Rapids had left the league after the '02 season. Council Bluffs was a replacement city represented by Buck Keith and Frank Wilson. Keith also represented Onama, IA, who requested a franchise, but without a sixth franchise on the horizon, the request was not honored. A schedule was adopted which would last from May 21 to Sept. 7.

The Council Bluffs franchise, with a 25,802 population, only survived until June 20. The franchise was transferred to a co-op club of Sheldon-Pringhar which had a most interesting nickname - "Hyphens". Bringhar had only a population of 814, but was located in a county of 16,985 (same county as Sheldon).

The new league president was J.U. Sammins of LeMars and W.L. Baker remained as secretary-treasurer.


During the 1903 season, a hall-of-famer entered the league which was the most important event in the short history of the league. Branch Rickey was a catcher on the baseball team at Ohio Wesleyan and, in 1903, signed a professional contract with Terre Haute, Indiana of the Class "B" Central League, making his professional debut on June 20. However, he was not ready for that tough league and his contract was purchased by the LeMars club because of the recommendation of Billy Doyle, a teammate on an earlier town team.


The standings on July 14:

Sioux Falls 28-12

Le Mars 25-18

Sheldon 23-10

Sioux City 21-24


The only umpire mentioned in the limited newspaper reports found for of the 1903 season was "Lally" who ejected Le Mars manager Bobby Black from a game in mid-July and fined him $5.00.

Sheldon played at least one regular season game in Dell Rapids, SD.


Standings reported on July 22:

Sioux Falls .677 percent

Le Mars .600

Sheldon .551

Sioux City .445


The final standings:

W L Pct. GB Manager

Le Mars Blackbirds 48 34 .585 - Bob Black

Council Bluffs Bluffers/

Sheldon-Prmnghar Hyphens 44 35 .557 2.5 Buck Keith

Sioux City Sioux 44 41 .518 5.5 Frank Lohr

Sioux Falls Canaries 40 42 .488 8 Ed Craig

[When Council Bluffs withdrew on June 20, they had a record of 1-22. For whatever reason, Sheldon-Pringhar was given a record of 14-11 when they began play on July 25.]

Tony Fremmer (Sheldon-Primghar) won the batting crown with an average of .325. Frank Lohr (SC) scored the most runs with 62 and Jim Metcalf (LM) had the most hits of 100. The most pitching wins were from Fred Helmsdorfer (S-P) with 19 and the best win-loss percentage was by Ralph Hutchinson (10-1, .909 - LeMars).

Surviving batting stats are as follows:
Player and Club G Pos AB H AVG
Alberts, Robert, Le Mars

Allis, None, Sioux City






277 65 0.235
Black, Bobby, Le Mars

[Two "Bobby Blacks" appeared in games for LeMars - "Sr." and "Jr."]

63 OF 270 86 0.319
Browne, None, Le Mars 34 C 124 27 0.218
Bruggeman, Frank, Sioux City 76 C 278 68 0.245
Cadwalader, Ralph, Sioux City 12 P 40 7 0.175
Depew, O.P., Sioux Falls 53 C 206 36 0.175
Fehl, None, Sioux City 37 SS 148 38 0.257
Freese, Harry, Council Bluffs/Sheldon-Primghar 56 C 239 77 0.322
Fremer, Anthony, Council Bluffs/Sheldon-Primghar-Sioux Falls 60 SS 255 83 0.325
Gale, None, Sioux City 14 P 41 11 0.268
Grogan, John, Sioux City

Groninger, None, Le Mars


record unknown



126 26 0.206
Helmsdorfer, Fred, Council Bluffs/Sheldon-Primghar 35 P 128 30 0.234
Hutchinson, Ralph, Le Mars 73 3b 303 72 0.238
Jones, None, Council Bluffs/Sheldon-Primghar 42 1b 168 49 0.292
Keas, George, Sioux City 78 3b 317 72 0.227
Lohr, Frank, Sioux City 81 OF 307 86 0.280
McKenzie, John, Sioux City

Meade, None, unknown


record unknown



307 87 0.283
Metcalf, James, Le Mars

Printz, None, Le Mars


record unknown



334 100 0.299
Rickey, Branch, Le Mars 41 C 155 41 0.265
Shaughnessy, Shag, Sioux City 34 OF 137 29 0.212
Swaim, Arthur, Sioux Falls 27 P 92 18 0.196
Treadway, Win, Sioux City 32 P 102 22 0.216
Warner, Robert, Sioux Falls

Whitney, None, Sioux City


record unknown



219 56 0.256
Williams, Clyde, Sioux Falls 54 3b 208 49 0.236
Zink, Bill, Sioux Falls 54 1b 213 57 0.268

The only pitching records which have survived:

Player and Club GP W L
Brittsom, None, Sheldon

Cadwalader, Ralph, Sioux City

record unknown


5 6
Gale, None, Sioux City

Haney, James, Sioux Falls


record unknown

8 6
Helmsdorfer, Fred, Council Bluffs/Sheldon-Primghar

Hurst, John, Sioux Falls


records unknown

19 5
Hutchinson, Ralph, Le Mars

Kirk, None, Sioux City

Klaus, None, Le Mars


record unknown

record unknown

10 1
Swaim, Arthur, Sioux Falls 21 9 12
Treadway, Win, Sioux City 21 13 8

Two players made the major leagues from the 1903 season:

Wesley Branch Rickey was born in Flat, OH, on Dec. 20, 1881. He played minor league ball in 1903-05 for 120 games and 429 at bats hitting .256 as a catcher.

Rickey came up to the Browns in 1905 for one game going 0-for-3. In 1906, also for the Browns, he played in 65 games hitting .284 and he batted .182 for New York (AL) in 1907 seeing action in 52 contests. In 1914, he got into two games getting no hits in two at bats. All told, Branch was in 120 MLB games and had 343 at bats with a .239 average, .304 OBP and .324 slugging. His fielding average was .940 in 67 games behind the plate, 23 as an outfielder and 9 as a first baseman.

He also managed the Browns in 1913-15 and the Cardinals in 1919-25. His win-loss totals were 713-805 (.470).


From the book "The Ballplayers":

"The honorific The Mahatma combined respect for Rickey's baseball sagacity with amusement at his pontifical manner and florid speech, which gave him the air of a con man playing a parson. He could have been either, but essentially he was the traditional American type, the sharp trader. The basis of his success was a nearly infallible eye for baseball talent. Over and over again, he was the potential in raw youth, brought hidden qualities to light and calculated precisely the productive time left in a veteran.

"...he created the spring-training complex at Vero Beach, where players by the hundreds could be instructed, evaluated and assigned. And he encouraged such innovations as batting cages, pitching machines, batting helmets and a string outline of the strike zone rigged over home plate for pitchers working on control.

"Rickey's all-seeing eye enhanced his knack for trades, for the always knew precisely the players he wanted and exactly the players he was prepared to give up. Add to this his psychological ploys and circumlocutory argument and his trading partners often departed shirtless, but persuaded he had done them a favor. Perhaps the eye also prompted the most significant action of his career: destruction of baseball's persistent discrimination against blacks. For however noble his motives, he was undeniably the first beneficiary of the change. It certainly was a brave move to sign Jackie Robinson, breaking the silently-upheld color barrier that had existed since the 1880s. But by exploiting the Negro Leagues as a new source of talent, Rickey built a dynasty that won the NL pennant seven times from 1947 through 1956.

"Rickey was not much of a ballplayer himself, although he came to the Reds in 1904 well-recommended as a catcher...but [he was] cut before he ever caught a game. The Browns and the Highlanders tried him as a backup catcher until an injured throwing arm ended his playing career. At New York, he was behind the plate on a day Washington stole 13 bases.

"By 1913 he had coached at the U. of Michigan, earned a law degree and taken a front-office job with the Browns. Toward the season's end he replaced George Stovall as field manager. His record was well under .500 and he never got along with Phil Ball, who took over the Browns in the maneuvering that divided the Federal League spoils. In 1919, after a brief military service, Rickey became president and field manager of the Cardinals. Soon he began his long and profitable partnership with hardheaded Sam Breadon, the automobile-dealer-turned-baseball-magnate.

"The Cardinals...cashbox was empty. ...Rickey, now vice president, made his first investment in a minor a minor league farm team. Branch also managed for seven seasons, again slightly under .500. After finishes between third place and seventh place, Breadon ousted him...[but] Rogers Hornsby...promptly took the squad Rickey had assemble to the first of many Cardinals pennants and World Championships. Rickey was now a man of prominence. Yet with success came other qualities...[He] was a slick article, an ambiguous personality...

"He was equally successful in Brooklyn in the 1940s, crowning his achievement with the skillfully manipulated introduction of Jackie Robinson. He was eventually squeezed out of the picture by Walter O'Malley, but even after moving to Los Angeles, the Dodgers continued to be successfully run according to his principles. In 1950, he undertook to put new life into the Pirates, but the Mahatma's magic was gone. After five doormat finishes, Joe L. Brown stepped in to take his place. However, Rickey did succeed in making the batting helmet standard gear during his time in Pittsburgh.

"In 1959 Rickey launched an effort to form a third major league, the Continental League. The majors reacted with alarm. They could not confront the new venture directly without raising antitrust concerns, so they preempted the new league's prime franchises in the expansion of 1961-62, an expansion Rickey had long advocated. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1967 by the Veterans Committee." - A. D. Suehsdorf

Rickey died at age 83 on Dec. 9, 1965, in Columbia, MO, from a heart attack suffered while addressing the Missouri State Hall of Fame. [He had just been inducted into their hall of fame.] Burial was at the Rushtown Cemetery in Rushtown, OH

Shag Shaughnessy

Francis "Frank" Joseph Shaughnessy was born on Apr. 8, 1883, in Amboy, IL. He played for the Sioux City club in 1903 and in the minors from 1903, 1905-16 and 1919-24 hitting .289 in at least 1,330 games and 4,867 at bats as an outfielder. Shag was at the class "A" level in 1905 (SoAtl) and 1907 (PCL) and at "AA" (IL) in 1921-22. He managed at classes "C", "B" and "D" from 1909-16, at "B" from 1919-20 and "AA" (IL) in 1921-26 and 1934-36. His record was 1,148-1,012.

Shag was in one game with the 1905 Senators (April 17) when he was hitless in three plate appearances and played in the outfield (2-for-3 in fielding opportunities). In 1908, he appeared in 8 games hitting .310 (9-for-29) as an outfielder (1,000 FA).

Shaughnessy played football and baseball at Notre Dame and moved to Canada in 1910s . He was president of the International League from 1936-60 and was the creator of the four-team "Shaughnessy" league playoffs. He also was a coach on the Tigers in 1928 and the general manager of the Montreal club from 1932-34.

Frank was also involved in other sports as the football coach at Yale, Cornell, Clemson, Washington and Lee and McGill College (introduced option play in America) and the pro Ottawa Rough Riders in 1915. While living in Ottawa, Shaughnessy served from 1914 until 1916 as the manager of the pro hockey Ottawa Senators and also coached the McGill College hockey team from 1919-27..

He is a member of the Canadian football and baseball hall-of-fames and died from aortic aneurysm on May 15, 1969 in Montreal. Burial was at the Cimetière Notre-Dame-des-Neiges in Montreal.

League Managers

Managerial records, which have survived, only include five names:

Edward A. Craig managed Sioux Falls in 1902-03. He was a pitcher who played minor league ball from 1902-06 and 1908. His known record was 47-21 in 157 games and he had class "A" experience in 1905 (AA).

Ed Kirby managed Sioux City in 1902. No minor league record can be found for him.

Robert (Bob or Bobby) Black was at the helm of the 1902-03 LeMars clubs. He was an outfielder from 1902-04 in at least 211 games and 555 at bats. Black hit .277.

Buck Keith managed Council Bluffs/Sheldon-Primghar in 1903. No professional record exists for Keith.

Frank Lohr managed Sioux City in 1903 and was the most successful player of any of the five. He played in the minors from 1901-08 and 1910 with play at class "A" in 1904 (WL). Kohr was in at least 820 games with 2,555 at bats hitting .234. He also managed in class "D" in 1905 and 1909-10. At was at the helm of a class "C" club in 1913.

League Epilogue

After only two years the league was history. Sioux Falls did not play in organized ball until 1920-23 in the South Dakota and Dakota Leagues and then spent time in the Tri-State (1924), Nebraska State (1933-38), Western (1939-1941) and Northern (1942, 1946-53 and 1966-71). Since 1993 they have had teams in independent leagues.

Flandreau, Rock Rapids, Sheldon and LeMars never again had a professional baseball franchise. Sioux City also was in the Tri-State League in 1924 and then the Nebraska State (1938), Western (1939-41), Three-I (1959-60) and in independent leagues since 1993. Council Bluffs non-supported only one more pro team - in the 1935 Western League - for two months.

Sources: (Baseball Necrology)

"The Le Mars Semi-Weekly Sentinel"

"The Le Mars Semi-Weekly Post"

"The Le Mars Globe Post"

Total Baseball - 6th edition, edited by Thorn, Palmer, Gershman and Pietrusza, pub:Total Sports (1999)

The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball - 2nd edition, edited by Johnson and Wolff, pub:Baseball America (1997)

various other information web sites found through Google search engine