Sunday, May 14, 2006

Baseball in St. Vincent & Pembina

One of the several teams Eli Gooselaw played on...From The Gooselaw Team:
The Gooselaw team which played in the 20's was made up of entirely Gooselaws - eight brothers and a cousin. The team played all over northwestern Minnesota, northeastern North Dakota, and even played some semi-pro clubs.

Eli Gooselaw, the pitcher, was especially outstanding, having tremendous speed and perfect control. Happy Chandler**, former Governor and Baseball Hall of Fame awardee, said of Eli, "I would say no man ever walked in shoe leather who could throw faster and with greater control than Eli Gooselaw."

Every night, right after supper, the guys got together at the ball park in St. Vincent, Minnesota.
From Eli Gooselaw: Red River's Baseball Hero:
St.Vincent boasted of many good athletes. Eli was one of the best. On the St.Vincent baseball team there were four Gooselaw boys. Eli played the position of a pitcher. Because of his superb skill, Eli was hired by many other teams. He played for Drayton, Hallock, Pembina, Grand Forks, Brandon, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. These teams hired him for two hundred and fifty dollars a month. They won nearly all of their games. Eli's baseball career continued through his military service*. Later he was offered a job with a Minneapolis professional baseball team. He refused the job because he felt he was getting too old.
* Eli enlisted in the Army at East Grand Forks, in 1917, because they were drafting men. This was the time of World War I, and most of his two years of service were spent in China. Eli is one of the few people who can say he's been to the big cities of China. Tientsen, Shanghai, and Chin-huang-taoo, along with Tokyo, Japan, the Philippine Islands and Hawaiian Islands.

His pitching arm was kept in good shape as he played for Company I. The biggest thrilling game of his military service was when Company I won the baseball championship of the Orient played in Shanghai. The score was 4-1. Eli was pleased when the war was over. It was a long trip home from China. It took twenty eight days and nights to sail from Chin-huang-taoo to San Francisco.

** To think that this man who became a Senator and Governor (of Kentucky, where he was born and died), and later a Commissioner of Baseball, played as a hired player in our area at one time...You gotta love baseball!