July 5, 1891: First professional baseball game at Duluth’s Recreation Park

On this day in Duluth in 1891, professional baseball returned to the Zenith City for the first time in four years. According to Duluth baseball historian Anthony Bush, liquor wholesaler Jay W. Anderson purchased half-ownership of the financially strapped St. Paul franchise of the Western Association and moved it to Duluth in the middle of the 1891 season. That summer Duluthians would enjoy watching twenty former and future major league players. After Anderson announced the team was moving to Duluth on June 8, work began to improve the West End baseball grounds below Superior Street at 28th Avenue West. “Some 20,000 feet of lumber is needed to fence in the grounds alone,” the Duluth News Tribune reported. When improvements were complete the ball park, dubbed Recreation Park, had a seating capacity of 5,000 and enough room to park 500 carriages. Duluth’s first game at Recreation Park was played on July 5 against the Minneapolis Millers. A general admission ticket cost 25 cents, and a grand stand ticket was 25 cents extra. An overflowing crowd witnessed Minneapolis win, 4–1. The following day only 700 people attended the game played in “the raw wind” as Duluth defeated the Sioux City Corn Huskers, 6–5. Recreation Park was replaced by Athletic Park in 1903.

This advertisement appeared in the Duluth News Tribune in early July, 1891. (Image: Zenith City Press)