|Elk River Base Ball Club, circa 1900|
April is fast approaching, that mean spring training ends and Major League Baseball begins. Although Sherburne County has never fielded a professional or semi-professional ball club, baseball was taken very seriously in the county. Just a sampling of news reports in 1895 reveals several of the baseball clubs in Sherburne County and the serious nature of the sport.
In June of 1895, with the start of the local season, the Sherburne County Star News presented a brief history of the rivalries in the area. Elk River and Monticello ball clubs long remained top of the list of serious rivals. “In olden times there used to be some battles royal between the base ballists of these two towns,” the newspaper reported. “”Monday reminded us a little of those old times, the chief difference being that Elk River was defeated this time which didn’t used to be the case.” In this particular “battle royal” Elk River fell to Monticello by a score of 20 to 15.
Reports throughout the summer covered ball clubs from Elk River, Monticello, Princeton, Becker, and Orrock. The newspaper also covered match games between the “regulars of Elk River” and a scrub nine. The paper reported in late July a tense rivalry between the two teams. “The game was for blood from the start, though the scrubs hardly got their hands in the first two innings, during which the other fellows go a start of ten scores.”
The news reports continued through September, before the season came to an end. Just like the major leagues, with the cooling weather and the falling leaves, baseball came to an end. The cry from the teams echoed a long held sentiment, “just wait ‘til next year” when the games continue.