June 24, 1912: First night baseball game in Duluth

On this night in Duluth in 1912, the Duluth White Sox faced off against the All-Nations traveling all-star baseball team for nine innings at Duluth’s Athletic Park. The All-Nations was a barnstorming exhibition team made up of players of many nationalities—included women—sponsored by Hopkins Brothers Sporting Goods of Kansas City and Des Moines, Iowa. The team was the creation of J. L. Wilkinson, later the owner of the Kansas City Monarchs, the longest running franchise in Negro National League history. Wilkinson billed the team as “Direct from their native countries, Hawaiians, Japanese, Cubans, Filipinos, Indians, and Chinese.” Nearly 1,000 fans showed up to watch Duluth beat the all-stars 10–4. The Duluth News Tribune reported that the “field was brilliantly illuminated by a system of lighting hung around the extreme edge of the baseline.” The All-Nations included Carrie Nation, who played first base or, as the News Tribune put it, “plays a good game on the initial sack.” “Carrie Nation” was actually May Arbaugh, not the famous hatchet-wielding prohibitionist. On the 25th All Nations crossed the bay to play the Superior Red Sox at Hislop Park; Superior won, 1–0, in a game that was described more as hijinks than baseball: “Lots of horse play was mixed in with the exhibition and the fans, prepared for a novelty game, gobbled it up with laughter and hand clapping.” The 26th brought the first professional night game to Duluth, with the White Sox taking on the Winnipeg Maroons.

J. L. Wilkinson, owner, promoter, and shortstop with the All Nations traveling all-star team. (Image: Public Domain)