This website is about the Minot Mallards of the ManDak League that played from 1950 through 1957.

After the ManDak League folded the Mallards joined the Northern League for the 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1962 seasons.

Also, the Prairie League Mallards played in 1995, 1996 and 1997.

Bill Guenthner

Bill Guenthner  email

Minot Mallards of the ManDak League

From 1950 – 1957 Minot, North Dakota, fielded an independent baseball team that played in the Manitoba-Dakota Baseball League known as the ManDak League. This was a league without affiliation with the Major League farm system. The teams were integrated and included many former star Negro League players along with players with professional experience, college players and athletes from the region.

After Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Major League teams began signing young, promising players from the Negro Leagues. African American fans abandoned the Negro Leagues and turned out in record numbers to watch  black players who had joined the major and minor leagues. The Brooklyn Dodgers drew a 21% increase in attendance on the road and black attendance at Ebbets Field increased by 400%. The Newark Eagles saw their fan base drop from 120,000 to 57,000 in 1947 and 35,000 in 1948. Before the 1948 season started, the Negro National League agreed to $6000 monthly salary cap much to the dismay of players that had been earning $900 per month or more. The black press focused on the black players in the formerly white leagues rather than coverage of the Negro league teams.

In 1948, the six National Negro League teams lost an estimated $100,000 and were in danger of “folding”. Effa Manley, owner of the New York Eagles, urged black fans to rescue the Negro leagues by attending games “otherwise 400 young men and their families will be dumped among the unemployed.” By the end of the 1948 season the Homestead Greys, New York Black Yankees and New York Eagles had pulled out of the National Negro League or disbanded.

Older Negro players, past their prime, looked for other playing opportunities. The ManDak League offered top salaries to these former stars and many prominent Negro League players joined the teams. Willie Wells, Ray Dandridge, Willard Brown and Leon Day were ManDak League players from the Negro Leagues that were later inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Satchel Paige also appeared in several games. Other prominent Negro League stars that played in the league included Lester Lockett, Gentry Jessup, Lou Louden, Ted Strong, John Washington, Bill Cash, Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe, Frazer Robinson, Lyman Bostock, Sr. and Spoon Carter. John Kennedy and Solly Drake were two young black players that played in the league and later played in the Major Leagues.

Also, at that time the standard professional player’s contract included the “reserve clause” that bound players to one team for life unless they were traded, released or their contract was sold to another team. There was no “free agency”. Because of this, players’ advancement up the baseball ladder was sometimes stalled and they were “stuck” with one team. They too could make better salaries by quitting organized baseball and playing for independent teams in leagues like the ManDak League. So many left organized baseball for the independent leagues. A “farm team” player in the lower classification leagues was paid about $150 per month. ManDak League salaries started at about $275 per month with some players paid as much as $900 per month.

The ManDak League teams were filled with highly talented players that played exciting, high caliber baseball. Seventeen of the 147 Minot Mallard players had Major League experience. Over a fourth of the players were from the Negro Leagues.