South Dakota League

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South Dakota League
SportMinor league baseball, Class D
CeasedJuly 17, 1923
No. of teams15
Country United States
Most titles3
Mitchell Kernels (1920–1922)

The South Dakota League was a Class D level minor league baseball league that played from 1920 to 1923. The South Dakota League changed their name to the Dakota League for the 1921–1922 seasons. The South Dakota League consisted of teams based in South Dakota. Minnesota and North Dakota franchises were added during the Dakota League seasons. For the 1923 season, the league was divided into two four–team Class D partner entities, the South Dakota League and the North Dakota League.


In 1920, the South Dakota League began play as an eight–team Class D league, with all franchises based in South Dakota. The league would play four seasons and was the first professional baseball in South Dakota since Sioux Falls played in the 1902–1903 Iowa-South Dakota League. The 1920 South Dakota League charter franchises were the Aberdeen Boosters, Huron Packers, Madison Greys, Miller Climbers, Mitchell Kernels, Redfield Reds, Sioux Falls Soos and Wessington Springs Saints.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

The league president for the duration of the South Dakota League/Dakota League was Michael E. Cantillon. Cantillon had been president of the minor league Minneapolis Millers from 1907 to 1918 and was the brainchild behind the formation of the South Dakota League.[7][8][9]

In the first season for the South Dakota League, the Mitchell Kernels won the 1920 South Dakota League Championship, their first of three consecutive championships. Mitchell had a 61–36 record under Manager Hank Scharnweber, finishing 3.5 games ahead of the Sioux Falls Soos in the regular season standings to claim the title, as the league had no playoffs for its duration. Baseball Hall of Fame member Jim Bottomley, at age 20, played for the 1920 Mitchell Kernels. Bottomley hit .312 with 7 home runs in 97 games.[10][7][11][7][4][12]

In 1921, the league changed names to the Dakota League, reforming after adding the Wahpeton-Breckenridge Twins, based in North Dakota and Minnesota. Baseball play on Sunday had been illegal in North Dakota until the law was repealed in 1920, a positive for early professional teams, who needed the revenue from large Sunday crowds to remain financially viable. Wahpeton, North Dakota newspaper publisher Robert J. Hughes formed the new Wahpeton-Breckenridge, Minnesota franchise, hiring Roy Patterson as manager. The Dakota league remained an eight–team Class D league, with 13-player rosters. The 1921 league members were the Aberdeen Grays, Huron Packers, Madison Greys, Mitchell Kernels, Redfield Red Sox, Sioux Falls Soos, Wahpeton-Breckenridge Twins and Watertown Cubs. The Mitchell Kernels won their second consecutive league championship, again finishing ahead of the 2nd place Sioux Fall Soos.[9][13][8][8][14][15][16]

Continuing play as an eight–team Class D league, the 1922 Dakota League season saw the Mitchell Kernels again claim the championship, their third consecutive title. The Fargo Athletics, Jamestown Jinkotas and Valley City Hi-Liners became new league franchises in 1922, joining the Aberdeen Grays, Mitchell Kernels, Sioux Falls Soos, Wahpeton-Breckenridge Twins and Watertown Cubs. H.E. Ross founded the Jamestown Jinkotas, with former St. Louis Browns player Wib Smith serving as the Jamestown manager. J.H. Sampson served as president the Valley City Hi-Liners, with Charlie Boardman beginning the season as manager. Fargo attorney William H. Barnett was the founder of the Fargo Athletics and hired former major league player Ed Whiting to manage Fargo. On August 25, 1922, Roy Birkenstock of Jamestown threw a no-hitter in a 2–0 win over the Sioux Falls Soos. This was the league's first no–hitter. Mitchell finished the 1922 season with a 60–37 record under Manager Hank Scharnweber, 4.5 games ahead of the tied 2nd place teams, the Aberdeen Greys and Fargo Athletics. Baseball Hall of Fame member Al Simmons played for the 1922 Aberdeen Greys. At age 20, Simmons led the Dakota League with 144 hits, while batting .365 with 10 home runs.[17][8][9][18][8][8][19][4]

In their final season of 1923, the South Dakota League split into two four-team partner entities to condense travel, with the leagues called the North Dakota League and South Dakota League.[9][20][7]

The 1923 South Dakota League began play as a four–team Class D league with the Aberdeen Grays, Mitchell Kernels, Sioux Falls Soos and Watertown Cubs franchises. The North Dakota League formed the counterpart four–team Class D league, comprising the returning Jamestown Jimkotas, and three new franchises, the Minot Magicians, Rockford-Carrington Twins/Valley City Hi-Liners and Bismarck Capitals. The 1923 North Dakota League president was Logan Powell. On May 26, 1923, George Dennison of the Minot Magicians threw a no–hitter against the Bismarck Capitals in a 2–1 victory. The South Dakota League folded on July 17, 1923, with the Sioux Falls Soos in 1st place with a 35–22 record, 0.5 games ahead of the Aberdeen Greys. The Minot Magicians led the North Dakota League standings with a 48–21 record at the conclusion of the North Dakota League season, 15.0 games ahead of the 2nd place Jamestown Jimkotas. Both leagues permanently folded after the 1923 season.[1][2][7][11][9][18][21][22][20]

Cities represented 1920-1923[edit]

Team name Town represented Stadium Year(s) active
Aberdeen Boosters (1920); Aberdeen Greys (1921–1922) Aberdeen, South Dakota Johnson Field[23] 1920 to 1922
Bismarck Capitals Bismarck, North Dakota Bismarck Municipal Ballpark 1923
Fargo Athletics Fargo, North Dakota Unknown[24] 1922
Huron Packers Huron, South Dakota Athletic Park[25] 1920 to 1921
Jamestown Jimkotans Jamestown, North Dakota Unknown[26] 1922
Madison Greys Madison, South Dakota Baughman Park[27] 1920 to 1921
Miller Climbers/Miller Jugglers Miller, South Dakota Crystal Park[28] 1920
Minot Magicians Minot, North Dakota Unknown[29] 1923
Mitchell Kernels Mitchell, South Dakota Hitchcock Park[30] 1920 to 1923
New Rockford-Carrington Twins New Rockford, North Dakota & Carrington, North Dakota Pioneer Park[31] 1923
Redfield Red Sox (1920); Redfield Reds (1920–1921) Redfield, South Dakota College Park, Armadale Park[32][33] 1920 to 1921
Sioux Falls Canaries(1920), Sioux Falls Soos (1921–1922) Sioux Falls, South Dakota Nelson Field[34] 1920 to 1922
Valley City Hi-Liners Valley City, North Dakota Pioneer Park[31] 1922 to 1923
Wahpeton-Breckenridge Twins Wahpeton, North Dakota & Breckenridge, Minnesota Unknown[35] 1921 to 1922
Watertown Cubs Watertown, South Dakota Riverside Park[36] 1921 to 1922
Wessington Springs Saints Wessington Springs, South Dakota Wessington Springs City Park[32] 1923


League standings 1920–1923[edit]

1920 North Dakota League[edit]

Team Standings W L PCT GB Managers
Mitchell Kernels 61 36 .629 - Hank Scharnweber
Sioux Falls Soos 58 40 .592 3.5 Fred Carisch
Huron Packers 56 40 .483 4.5 Bill Shipke
Wessington Springs Saints 49 48 .505 12.0 Mattie McGrath
Redfield Reds/Red Sox 46 49 .484 14.0 Ollie Pickering / Harry Halstead
Madison Greys 42 50 .457 16.5 Ralph Works / Dave Altizer
Aberdeen Boosters 42 54 .438 18.5 Dave Altizer / Ed Karger
Miller Climbers/Jugglers 28 65 .301 31.0 Showboat Fisher / Frank Gurney


1921 Dakota League[edit]

Team Standings W L PCT GB Managers
Mitchell Kernels 65 33 .590 - Hank Scharnweber
Sioux Falls Soos 61 35 .649 3.0 Fred Carisch
Wahpeton-Breckenridge Twins 55 43 .561 10.0 Roy Patterson
Redfield Red Sox 47 46 .505 15.5 Harry Halstead
Madison Greys 45 50 .474 18.5 Dave Altizer
Watertown Cubs 44 53 .454 20.5 Mattie McGrath
Aberdeen Grays 35 62 .361 29.5 Ed Karger
Huron Packers 34 64 .347 31.0 Jay Andrews


1922 Dakota League[edit]

Team Standings W L PCT GB Managers
Mitchell Kernels 60 37 .619 - Hank Scharnweber
Aberdeen Greys 56 42 .571 4.5 E.H. Harkin / Bill Shipke
Fargo Athletics 56 42 .571 4.5 Ed Whiting
Sioux City Soos 55 42 .567 5.0 Fred Carisch
Jamestown Jimkotans 46 51 .474 14.0 Wilbur Smith
Watertown Cubs 42 54 .443 17.0 John Mokate
Wahpeton-Breckenridge Twins 42 55 .439 18.0 Roy Patterson
Valley City Hi-Liters/Bismarck Capitals 30 64 .319 28.5 Boardman/Menne/Sampson/Bachant

Valley City (25-46) Moved to Bismarck August 3, 1923[8]

1923 South Dakota League/ North Dakota League[edit]

South Dakota Team Standings W L PCT GB Managers
Sioux Falls Soos 35 22 .614 - Jack Beaty
Aberdeen Grays 35 23 .603 0.5 Nig Nolte
Mitchell Kernels 28 27 .5096 6.0 Hank Scharnweber
Watertown Cubs 15 41 .268 19.5 Wilbur Smith


North Dakota Team Standings W L PCT GB Managers
Minot Magicians 48 21 .750 - Herb Hester
Jamestown Jimkotas 32 35 .478 15.0 Ed Whiting/Henry Wingfield
New Rockford-Carrington/Valley City 30 38 .441 17.5 Earl Pickering
Bismarck Capitals 26 42 .382 21.5 Tom Shanley/Mo McKnight


Notable alumni[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "South Dakota League (D) Encyclopedia and History".
  2. ^ a b c Reichard, Kevin (November 5, 2008). "South Dakota League / Dakota League".
  3. ^ "Minor League history: (South) Dakota League". January 30, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c, Lee Zion. "Dakota Life: America's pastime goes way back, way back in South Dakota". Capital Journal.
  5. ^ "Iowa-South Dakota League - BR Bullpen".
  6. ^ Lalire, Gregory (March 31, 2011). "Baseball in the West". HistoryNet.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "South Dakota League - BR Bullpen".
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "Dakota League - BR Bullpen".
  9. ^ a b c d e "Curt Eriksmoen: Baseball league had short run in '20s". Bismarck Tribune.
  10. ^ "1920 South Dakota League (SDL) Standings on".
  11. ^ a b "1923 North Dakota League".
  12. ^ "1920 Mitchell Kernels Statistics".
  13. ^ "1921 Dakota League (DL) Standings on".
  14. ^ "North Dakota Baseball History". North Dakota Baseball History.
  15. ^ "1921 Dakota League (DL) on".
  16. ^ "1922 Dakota League (DL) on".
  17. ^ "1922 Dakota League (DL) Standings on".
  18. ^ a b "Minor League No-Hitters 1920-1929 - BR Bullpen".
  19. ^ "1922 Aberdeen Grays Statistics".
  20. ^ a b c "North Dakota League - BR Bullpen".
  21. ^ "1923 Dakota League (DL) Standings on".
  22. ^ "1923 North Dakota League (NDL) on".
  23. ^ "Johnson Field in Aberdeen, SD history and teams on".
  24. ^ "Unknown in Fargo, ND history and teams on".
  25. ^ "Athletic Park in Huron, SD history and teams on".
  26. ^ "Unknown in Jamestown, ND history and teams on".
  27. ^ "Baughman Park in Madison, SD history and teams on".
  28. ^ "Crystal Park in Miller, SD history and teams on".
  29. ^ "Unknown in Minot, ND history and teams on".
  30. ^ "Hitchcock Park in Mitchell, SD history and teams on".
  31. ^ a b "Pioneer Park in Valley City, ND history and teams on".
  32. ^ a b "Wessington Springs City Park in Wessington Springs, SD history and teams on".
  33. ^ "Armadale Park in Redfield, SD history and teams on".
  34. ^ "Nelson Field in Sioux Falls, SD history and teams on".
  35. ^ "Unknown in Wahpeton, ND history and teams on".
  36. ^ {
  37. ^ "Jim Bottomley Minor Leagues Statistics & History".
  38. ^ "Al Simmons Minor Leagues Statistics & History".