Sports Spotlight: Dave Hummel

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Everyone has their moments they'll never forget, and boy does Dave Hummel have one worth remembering. It ties into the fascinating history of Bismarck baseball.

More than a decade before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, there was integrated baseball in Bismarck.

"I think we were a little more accepting here, than in other parts of the country," said Bismarck Historical Society past president.

With Negro League legends like Satchel Paige and Hilton Smith, Bismarck won a national title in 1935.

Dennis Boyd, Former President, Bismarck Historical Society: "It was a big deal, in baseball. It was a big deal in Bismarck. And sadly that history is slipping away from us and there aren't an awful lot of people who know about it."

Dave Hummel grew up on stories of Paige from his father, Matt.

"My father said it was incredible to see that man pitch," said Hummel.

Matt Hummel passed away when Hummel was just 16. Three years later, Paige returned to Bismarck with the Havana Cuban Stars to face a group of local talent.

Hummel said: "I'm 19 years old and wow. With that big kick and follow through and the ball just -- phew."

Oh, and Hummel was batting third.

Hummel: "Now it's my turn, and I'm thinking 'ohh, this is something else.'"

The 52-year old Paige started the teen with some chin music.

"Ball comes, and it comes right under my chin. And I thought well there was a reason for that pitch. He's going to throw me a breaking ball. I know he is."

The catcher emphatically waved off the curve. Satchel threw his famous Hesitation Pitch.

"That thing was way up in the air, big arc on it, and it came down absolutely perfect," said Hummel.

Hummel lined one to the gap in right center. A stand-up triple, off the great Satchel Paige. The mythical figure from his late-father's stories

Hummel said: "They were kind of applauding the hit. And then they started laughing. And then they were pointing. They weren't point at me. Satchel is standing on the mound, he is staring at me, and he is not happy, and I'm thinking, boy I hope I don't have to hit against him again."

A crowd of 3,500 on their feet. Hummel still wishes one person could've seen it.

Hummel: "The fact that my dad didn't get to see it. That was important. But yeah, he would've been proud."

And a story the Hummel family will tell, for generations.

Hummel is a 1958 St.Mary's graduate. He also played baseball at BSC and Mayville State.