Top: Mount Rushmore. Bottom: Floyd Fitzgerald Stadium (left) and Pete Lien Memorial Field (right),
homes to American Legion baseball in Rapid City, S.D.
Lewis & Clark Trip
Day Twenty Two July
Ahead on the road back east is the Jerry Malloy/SABR Negro Leagues Research Committee
Conference in Kansas City. Between Seattle and Kansas City, we put baseball on the back burner to visit two of America’s
best-known historic destinations, Yellowstone National Park and Mt. Rushmore. We even found a baseball on display in the Lincoln
Borglum Museum at Mt. Rushmore.
After looking at Gutzon Borglum’s amazing sculpture of George Washington, Thomas
Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln we drove another 20 miles east to Rapid City, S.D. Besides being the biggest
city near Mt. Rushmore, we think of Rapid City for its role as the final destination of the fictional George Kaplan in Alfred
Hitchcock’s masterpiece “North by Northwest.”
“North by Northwest” premiered in 1959 and though the Mt. Rushmore site
has been modernized, some of the shots in the film look no different than they do today. The same can be said for much of
downtown Rapid City.
The Hotel Alex Johnson where Hitchcock and Grant stayed is still there and now a national landmark
itself. Much wonderful architecture has been preserved and informational markers plus a self-guided walking tour (published
by the Rapid City Historic Preservation Commission and available from the local visitor’s bureau) offer anyone with the interest
a great visit to the Downtown Rapid City Historic District.
Driving into the downtown, we briefly spied a billboard saying
that the American Legion Post 22 team played at Fitzgerald Stadium. A visit to the local Visitor’s Bureau office helped us
pinpoint the Stadium location. Floyd Fitzgerald Stadium proudly proclaims itself home of Rapid City Post 22 American Legion
Baseball, state champions 33 times, National Regional champions seven times, and American Legion National Champions in 1993.
In the same complex with Fitzgerald Stadium are Pete Lien Memorial Field, home of American Legion Post 320 Stars, and
McKeague Field. There is great competition for the entertainment dollar in the Mt. Rushmore area. If you are planning, or
considering, a trip to Mt. Rushmore you have plenty of opportunity to work baseball into the trip.
Top and middle: Sioux Falls, S.D., baseball history exhibit "It's a Hit—Baseball in Minnehaha
County." Bottom: Canaries Wood Bat Invitational amateur tournament at Sioux Falls Stadium.
Day Twenty Three
We caught a break today. On Thursday’s
only, the Old Courthouse Museum in downtown Sioux Falls is open until 9 p.m. That gave us enough time to drive 350 some miles
from Rapid City to Sioux Falls in time to see the exhibit “It’s a Hit—Baseball in Minnehaha County.” It is a hit with thorough
coverage of the history of baseball in the area nicely presented. The exhibit is loaded with artifacts, photos and information
and is designed to appeal to baseball fans (and even non-baseball fans) of all ages. Also of interest to us, for obvious reasons,
is the exhibit “Vacationing in America.” Visit Siouxland Heritage Museums for more information about the Old Courthouse Museum and
The Old Courthouse Museum Presents Old Time Baseball for boys and girls ages 9-13 on Tuesday, July 18
in Nelson Park at 10th & Cliff. Games will be played throughout the day using the rules and equipment of baseball in the 19th
century. Call 605-367-4210 with questions or to register.
Sioux Falls is home to the Sioux Falls Canaries of the new American Association and play at Sioux Falls Stadium near the Sioux Falls Arena and Convention Center just to the northwest
of downtown. The Canaries’ regular season schedule runs until the end August with eight more home games scheduled for July
and 15 more in August.
The Canaries were on the road at Pensacola tonight, defeating the Pelicans 9-5, so finding
baseball going on at Sioux Falls Stadium was a surprise. It was amateur baseball as part of the Canaries Wood Bat Invitational.
Down the road in Minneapolis, Minnesota Sioux Falls Post 15 East and Post 15 West are competing in the Gopher Classic of American
Scenes from Kansas City. Top: Royals Hall of Fame inside Kauffman Stadium. Middle: outfield view
and George Brett statue at Kauffman. Bottom: Negro Leagues Museum.
Day Twenty Four
One of our toughest scheduling dilemmas
was the overlap of the Jerry Malloy/SABR Negro Leagues Committee conference in Kansas City with the Major League All-Star
Game activities in Pittsburgh. Both cities are great destinations and both are steeped in Negro League baseball tradition.
Big chunks of the Satchel Paige story are connected to the two cities and the Malloy Conference celebrated the 100th
anniversary of Paige’s birth in 1906. Ultimately, we decided to do some of both events.
We reached Kansas City
at 4 p.m.; just early enough to check into the Hyatt, register for the conference, and get on the bus out to Kauffman Stadium. The ride to the sports complex on I-70 was shorter than I remembered,
but the stadium retains all the features that makes it one of baseball’s best liked ballparks even though it is not retro
and is not in downtown Kansas City.
The Royals are a distant fifth and last in the American League Central Division
but they played well Friday and defeated Colorado. Fans were most pleased when Kansas City got its 12th hit. Whenever the
Royals get 12 hits at home, all fans attending the game can get a dozen free Krispy-Kreme doughnuts (restrictions apply).
Our visit to Kansas City was a total of about 28 hours and we were more rushed there than any place else. Saturday
morning’s Malloy conference schedule was packed with a bus tour of Kansas City landmarks (including Paige’s grave and the
site of the Royals’ first home at Municipal
Stadium), a visit to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum in the 18th & Vine neighborhood.
For lunch, Allen and I walked from the Hyatt to historic Union Station, but had just enough time to get back for a question
and answer session about the Hall of Fame vote that has added 17 Negro League players/executives to the Cooperstown shrine.
The session was informative and devoid of controversy. Larry Lester, Dick Clark and Leslie Heaphy, three of the 12 voters,
effectively explained aspects of the process and seemed to leave little doubt among those in attendance that the 17 new inductees
are well qualified to join the Hall.
A special treat was the panel of Paige family members on hand to talk about
the legendary pitcher. All of Satchel’s children, save one, were at the conference and provided wonderful reminiscences about
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