2009 Legion World Series in Fargo

Around 50,000 teams are expected to start the 2009 American Legion baseball season.

Around 50,000 teams are expected to start the 2009 American Legion baseball season. Eight will finish it in Fargo.

The national American Legion Board of Directors awarded the 2009 World Series to Newman Outdoor Field, a move that signifies the return to the national Legion scene for the Fargo World Series Committee.

It was last held in Fargo at Jack Williams Stadium in 1995.

"We have the experience, the know-how, the enthusiasm and the facilities," said George Ellis, the chairman of the Fargo World Series Committee.

Ellis, committee member Jim McLaughlin and Bryan Schulz of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau made the Fargo presentation on Monday at Legion headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind. Fargo, which hasn't bid on the tournament since hosting it in 1995, was one of six cities to do so. The pool-play tournament format is scheduled for Aug. 21-25.


Bartlesville, Okla., was awarded the 2007 Series and Shelby, N.C., was given the 2008 event. St. Cloud, Minn., Spokane, Wash., and Williston, N.D., were the other bidders.

Part of Fargo's bid was to meet a $60,000 guarantee. Any profit will go to the Fargo baseball program, Ellis said.

He said Fargo's main selling points were Newman Outdoor Field and its immediate access to an airport.

"We had that advantage over a lot of people," Ellis said.

Plus, Fargo had an experience advantage. McLaughlin and committee member Joe Parmer were instrumental in Fargo's three previous World Series tournaments.

"People realized the reputation of what we've done before," Ellis said.

The 1983, 1992 and 1995 World Series were held at Jack Williams Stadium, the home of Fargo Legion.

McLaughlin said Jack Williams no longer had the necessary seating capacity.


The 1995 title game, which was won by Aiea, Hawaii, attracted 3,546 fans.

Plus, a lack of concession space and rest rooms "was always a headache for us," he said.

Jack Williams also needed volunteers to install portable stands down the left-field line and to handle traffic and parking outside the stadium. But the field and Fargo North High's field will be used for practice during the World Series.

The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks will assist the tournament committee with concessions, marketing and ticketing. An agreement between the committee and the RedHawks calls for the Northern League team to receive just enough money to cover its costs.

"We provided as much as we could," RedHawks general manager Lee Schwartz said.

The World Series does not include the host team. Fargo earned its way into the 1992 tournament by winning the Central Plains Regional.

"We'll have to put a little pressure on our team to see if we can get them there," Ellis said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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