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Country pitcher had his day against major leaguer

Neighbors knows what you folks living in the Fargo-Moorhead area are doing today.

Lynn Nelson

Neighbors knows what you folks living in the Fargo-Moorhead area are doing today. You're looking out your window, seeing all that snow piled up, and happily looking forward to the start of baseball spring training about a month from now.

Baseball especially comes to mind for Neighbors because of a column last year about Lynn Nelson, a native of Sheldon, N.D., who pitched for the Chicago Cubs, the Philadelphia Athletics and the Detroit Tigers from 1930 to 1940.

That led Bob Toussaint of Fargo to send in a picture of Lynn in a Cubs uniform, signed, "To Melvin, a real pal, good luck & best wishes. Lynn Nelson."

Melvin is the late Mel Toussaint, Bob's father, who caught for an amateur baseball team from the Leonard-Kindred (N.D.) area and who caught Lynn several times.

Bob also has been in contact with one of his dad's best friends, 96-year-old Ray Whiting of Sun City, Ariz.


Ray told Bob he remembers Lynn well. Ray also played ball with Lynn's brother Leland, who was "a fair country player in his own right," Ray says.

Well, Lynn must have been a pretty fair player himself to make the majors. But once, at least, he was outpitched by a young guy from Davenport, N.D.

That story comes from Orville Trom of Davenport, N.D., a community which once had a team for which Orville's father Oscar pitched.

One Fourth of July in the 1930s, in the days when a baseball game was a part of most every town's July 4th celebration, Davenport played Casselton, N.D.

Pitching for Davenport: amateur Oscar Trom.

Pitching for Casselton on this special occasion: major league pitcher Lynn Nelson.

Who won? Davenport, led by Oscar.

Oscar not only beat Casselton, but he pitched a no-hit, no-run game. Major leaguer Lynn never had a chance.


Pitcher perfect

Oscar obviously was a good pitcher. Here's further proof of that from his son.

Orville recently ran into a guy, in his 90s, from the Aberdeen, S.D., area. When Orville told him he was from Davenport, the man asked him if he knew a guy named Oscar Trom.

Orville: "Sure. Why?"

Aberdeen man: "I hated that man!"

Orville: "Boy, I don't think he ever had an enemy in his life. Why would you feel that way?"

Aberdeen man: "Well, I played a lot of ball (Orville thinks he said for Lisbon, N.D., but he's not sure), and he never let me get a hit."

Orville then 'fessed up that Oscar was his dad. They had a good laugh and that was it.


"But to think he remembered my dad's name after 70-some years, well ..."

Well, Oscar must have had some good years as a pitcher.

Neighbors hopes you have a good year in 2006, whatever your pitch.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, N.D. 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com

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