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A DEADWOOD BASEBALL BOOK
By David Kemp and Michael Runge
Copyright City of Deadwood Planning and Historical Preservation
When I was approached by Mike Runge of the Historic Preservation Office of the City of Deadwood about putting together a history of baseball in Deadwood, I immediately thought of the wonderful photographs of Deadwood baseball in the Deadwood Public Library that Marjorie Pontius had shown back me in the early 1980s. Who were these baseball players? I also thought immediately of the historical research that I had done on the Joseph Flanner, the long-time editor of the Sporting News, who had spent considerable time in the northern Black Hills. He served as the first States Attorney of Lawrence County in the first years of the American presence in the Hills, during the “Gold Rush” days. He would move to St. Louis and become an integral player in the development of baseball as the national pastime. I thought of Jim “Death Valley” Scott, a mainstay of the pre-WWI Chicago White Sox pitching staff, who was born in Deadwood. Our efforts in the past thirty years to document these participants resulted in the Sporting News recognizing Joe Flanner. This effort also resulted in both Joe Flanner and “Death Valley” Jim Scott being inducted into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame. Scott is perhaps the best pitcher in major league history to come out of South Dakota.
This past experience made me realize that early baseball in Deadwood and its contribution to development of the sport in our state had not been fully investigated. Attempts over the past twenty years to get more recognition in South Dakota for Jim Scott’s and Joe Flanner’s sports contributions had not been fully realized. This exhibit and text will help us accomplish our goal. This text is a companion piece to the permanent exhibit, Baseball In the Mining Camps created by the City of Deadwood Planning and Historical Preservation office.
--- David Kemp, Mariah Press
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