Luther College Moment in History #55

"Baseball, which began very early, was first played by the boys among themselves, later with town teams. A good pitcher in those early days was the one who could throw the ball so that the batter could hit it- not, as now, so that he would miss. In 1874, there were six baseball teams, says James C. M. Hanson [class of 1882], 'the members of which had their own special grounds and met once a day, weather permitting. Each team or club had enough players to make up two nines and it was seldom that one club challenged another.' Class games and class rivalry were unheard of during 1874-1882. The 'first nine' (seniors) had the honor of representing the college. Their only opponent was the Decorah team- and once, in 1880, a Dubuque professional team. No intercollegiate contests were even thought of. Ingvard G. Monson [1869-1875], Atle J. Lee [1878}, James C. M. Hanson [1882], and the ambidextrous Theodor G. Opsahl [1884] all made names for themselves as baseball players."

[Luther College 1861-1961, David T. Nelson, p 119-120]

Photo: 1897 baseball team with a 3-3 record, in front of the old band stand. Seated: Winger (first base), Hegland (shortstop), Andersen (sub), Lewison (catcher), Norman (pitcher), Lyngaas (third base); Back: Hagestad (center field), Jensen (pitcher) Sihler (second base), Strom (manager), Markus (right field), Petersen (right field).