Jack Brown Stadium’s History Runs Deep

By Andy Reed

Tucked behind a Cash Wise in Jamestown, North Dakota, Jack Brown Stadium has the feeling of a small-town ballpark with big city history.

Originally known as McElroy Park, this ball field was originally built in 1917 when Jamestown Parks and Recreation gave it the name McElroy Park to commemorate Charles McElroy, a loyal worker for Jamestown Parks and Rec.

Jack Brown Stadium covered in a blanket of snow, no baseball here for another month. Photo: Andy Reed

During that time, Jack Brown Stadium was still named McElroy Park, the Negro League Semi-Pro teams called the park home. Some big names came with it too. I consulted Coach Tom Hager of the University of Jamestown Jimmies Baseball team on the rich history of the Stadium, “Satchel Page played there.”

Page played for Bismarck’s Semi-Pro team while Jamestown had their own noteworthy pitcher, Lefty Brown. Even Hall of Famer Lefty Grove graced that magical field during the off season after winning a World Series with the Athletics. Other noteworthy players include Jamestown High School alumni and World Series Champion (2002) Darin Erstad and Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland.

1937 closed the chapter of Semi-Pro ball at McElroy park. Amateur baseball took off right where Semi-Pro baseball left off and then American Legion Baseball came along in the Late 40’s and has stayed all the way to the present.

Jack Brown Scoreboard shut down for the winter months. Photo: Andy Reed

In 1991, McElroy Parks wooden stands were burnt to the ground, the crime was never solved. But it is always the darkest before the dawn, because by 1992, Jack Brown Stadium was born, and rebuilt to resemble the exact stands that had stood there for 80+ years.

The University of Jamestown Jimmies, Jamestown High School Blue Jays, and legion teams in the area call Jack Brown Stadium home nowadays. The cleats of young ball players touching the same dirt and grass that some of the greats touched as well. The rich history cast over this beautiful ball park gives one an eerie feeling of past, present, and future.

“I have played in some beautiful ballparks all over this country, but none of them gives me the feeling that I have here. -Darin Erstad” (Berg, 1996, p. 13).

Rebuilt Jack Brown Stadium stands built to the likeness of McElroy Park.

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