The book Sunday Afternoons on the Prairie: The Growth of Baseball in North Dakota, by Terry Bohn, has been added to the Institute for Regional Studies Archives book collection. The following book description is from the back cover:
“When you think of baseball, the state of North Dakota doesn’t often come to mind. Some casual fans might remember that Negro League star Satchel Paige pitched there many times, and that one-time major league home run champion Roger Maris called Fargo his home. Beyond that, few players or events in the long history of baseball have any connection to North Dakota.
However, as soon as the first settlers arrived in what was then the Dakota Territory, they began to play the game. Members of George Custer’s Seventh Cavalry played baseball near present day Bismarck before their fateful trip to the Little Big Horn in 1876. Although the population not could support professional teams except in a few of the state’s larger cities, amateur baseball has been played for nearly 150 years in small towns all over North Dakota with as much seriousness and enthusiasm as anywhere in the country.
This book traces the growth of baseball in North Dakota from its earliest known origins in the 1870s until around the time of World War I. Accounts from small town weekly newspapers from more than a century ago reveal how important baseball was as a social institution in the state. Cheating, gambling, drinking, and fights among players and with umpires were common, but overshadowed by how much enjoyment the people of North Dakota got from playing and watching baseball on Sunday afternoons.”