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The Bismarck Churchills were an integrated team from North Dakota. The team was named after Neil Churchill. Churchill was a car dealer and, by all accounts, a natural salesman. Churchill played Semi-Pro in the early part of the century and played against some great black touring teams.
Churchill's first black recruits were Quincy Trouppe, Red Haley and Roosevelt Davis. In October 1933 Churchill added Satchel Paige, one of the best pitchers of all-time. Satchel Paige, who the Standing Rock Sioux called “Long Rifle", would go on to lead the Bismarck Churchills to a National Baseball Congress title. Bismarck was the first integrated team to win a national championship in 1935.
In 1948 Paige became the first player who had played in the Negro leagues to pitch in a World Series. Paige, originally from Alabama, grew up in Mobile. He would later play for the Birmingham Black Barons, which is the hometown of Vintage Sports.
Churchill continued to help fund the team until he retired in 1952. In many ways the Bismarcks were social innovators. Churchill had purchased the team in 1933. In 1934 he invested $5000 (roughly $90,000 in today's money) in the Bismarck ball field.
Refusing to be pigeon-holed as a white or a black team, Bismarck played independently of any league and thus avoided the issues of segregation in the 1930s. It would be nearly two decades before Jackie Robinson would break the color barrier in 1947. Neil Churchill became mayor of Bismarck in 1939. He held that position until 1949.