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Sports & Rec

Cultural Heritage Center To Host Northern League Baseball Program

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The Northern League
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Northern League Logo

The Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre is hosting a program to honor baseball in South Dakota.

The South Dakota State Historical Society is currently hosting a baseball exhibit on the Northern League. It showcases four teams from the Mt. Rushmore state, Sioux Falls, Watertown, Huron, and Aberdeen.

One individual collects memorabilia to help showcase “America’s Pastime” in South Dakota.

After World War II, a group of communities in South Dakota decided to establish minor league baseball teams.  The Northern League, as it became known, fostered several ball players who went on to the majors.

In 1971, the league folded, but it was brought back from 1993 to 2010.

South Dakota native Paul Gertsen is a longtime researcher and collector of Northern League memorabilia. In 2014, he donated a large collection of league items to the South Dakota State Historical Society. These items are now on display.

Gertsen says he began collecting baseball memorabilia in 1971, the same year he saw his first Aberdeen Pheasants game. He says Northern League items aren’t hard to find – if you know where to look.

"Personal contacts, or ads in papers in various towns. I was just working, kind of beating the bushes for 30 years by any means; putting together, the way to assemble the collection," explains Gertsen. "I also ended up dealing with other people who had Northern League items and bought items out of their collections."

Gertsen says he is always on the lookout for more Northern League memorabilia, even at auctions and garage sales. On Saturday, Gertsen presents a program entitled “Baseball That Mattered: 25 Years of the Northern League in South Dakota.” He says it’s important for citizens of the state to understand the rich baseball history of South Dakota.

Gertsen will speak at 2 pm CT at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.

If you want to hear more from Paul Gertsen and the Northern League, click here.