Algona plays big role in Negro Baseball League history

ALGONA—The Algona Brownies were a baseball team from 1898-1904 and organized again in the 1930s. They won at least one state semipro tournament. Between 1898 and 1901 the only reference to their team name was the Algona Base Ball Association.

At a time when only white men were allowed to play baseball, towns across America formed their own multi-cultural teams. Algona’s 1898 team consisted of black, white and native Americans all playing together. It wasn’t until 1903 that it would become an all African-American team. 

E.J. Murtagh, prominent Algona banker, his business partner Gardner Cowles, owner of the Algona newspaper and later the Des Moines Register, H. J. Tremain and several progressive Algona businessmen raised $1,050 to recruit baseball players for an all-negro team. Representatives from Algona traveled to Chicago and came back with one of the most impressive teams in the Negro Baseball League. 

 

Read the full feature in the print edition of the Feb. 11 Advance.

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