Baseball has long been America’s national game, and it was a proud year for North Dakota in 1913 when Alexander “Rube” Schauer became the state’s first major-league ballplayer. Schauer was born in Russia in 1891 and came to America with his family in 1900, settling in the town of Garrison.
In 1912, Schauer pitched eight games for his hometown Garrison semi-professional team. The following spring he joined a Northern League club in Superior, Wisconsin.
He gained the nickname of “Rube,” meaning a “country bumpkin,” because he came from the Dakotas, but Schauer was not gawky. He was a tall and strapping fellow, standing six-foot-one, weighing 187 pounds, and he was sensational on the mound – pitching three one-hit games in his first two months with the new club.
He became the “talk of the baseball world,” and a New York Giants scout bought Schauer’s contract from Superior – elevating Schauer from the lowly-minors to the big-leagues.
The Giants brought Schauer to big-city New York and took a cautious approach in teaching him how to pitch in the National League. In his August 27th debut, Schauer pitched one inning, giving up no walks or hits. He pitched just 12 innings that year, with an 0-1 record.
It was on this date, in 1913, that the Bismarck Tribune reported on Schauer’s homecoming to Garrison after his first season. The town had hosted a reception and dance to praise their 22-year-old baseball star. Two local orators, Mike Minehan and Mike Tellefsen, gave the welcoming speech, proclaiming that Schauer had “put Garrison on the map,” and that the town was proud of him and his baseball prowess.
They danced the night away to the music of George and Oscar Monson from Max, North Dakota. Everyone said the homecoming was like a “big family party” – “one of the happiest affairs that ever took place in Garrison.”
As for Rube Schauer – he went on to have a modest baseball career, pitching for five major-league seasons with a 10-29 record, with a 3.35 E.R.A. Still, Schauer should always be remembered as North Dakota’s first major-leaguer.
Dakota Datebook written by Dr. Steve Hoffbeck, History Department, MSU Moorhead.
Sources: “Famous Baseball Star Entertained,” Bismarck Tribune, November 23, 1913, p. 2.
“Rube Schauer Here On His Way Home To Garrison From N.Y.,” Grand Forks Daily Herald, November 4, 1913, p. 2.
“Rube Schauer Twirls One-Hit Contest,” Grand Forks Daily Herald, June 7, 1913, p. 2.
“Rube Schauer,” BaseballReference.Com, accessed on September 4, 2015.
“Rube Schauer, Green Kid From Bushes, Is $10,000 Beauty to Muggsy McGraw,” Winnipeg Tribune, August 2, 1913, p. 22.
“McGraw’s New $10,000 Beauty,” Arizona Republic, July 6, 1913, p. 10.
“Schauer, $10,000 Pitcher,” Allentown [PA] Democrat, August 28, 1913, p. 8.
“Reds Make Away With Last Game Of Series,” New York Tribune, August 28, 1913, p. 8.
Curt Eriksmoen, “Garrison Player Made Big Leagues Quickly,” Bismarck Tribune, November 22, 2008.